One of the biggest mistakes I see new sales reps make is thinking that if they win the argument, they will win the sale. So, when a prospect pipes up with an objection, their response is to jump right in with both fists swinging in an attempt to show how their logic can’t be beat. In other words, they are right and the prospect is wrong.
How do you feel when you lose an argument? Maybe like kicking the other person under the table? Passive aggressive fantasies aside, winning the argument isn’t a winning strategy.
People buy for emotional reasons and then justify their purchase with logic. If you make them feel stupid, their emotions won’t make them inclined to buy from you. Plus, your response may not have gotten to the heart of their concern. So, not only have you risked alienating them, but you also didn’t provide the information that would have helped them make a different (possibly better) decision.
A better strategy is to pretend you are Google.
Here’s how it works. When a prospect pipes up with their objection:
1) Simply wait like the cursor blinking in the Google search box. Look at the prospect expectantly and wait to see if they are planning to elaborate on what they said. Take a deep breath and count to three to make sure you’ve given them time to think and enough of an opening to speak. Unless they have had advanced negotiation training, most prospects will elaborate.
2) Invite them to elaborate like Google’s auto-suggestions. You can do this by asking: “Can you tell me what you mean by that?” or “Why do you say that?” or “Can you help me understand your perspective a little bit better?” or you could even inquisitively echo their objection back to them as in, “Too expensive?”
Listen intently. You can even take notes. Once they are done, make sure to paraphrase what they said to make sure that you understand the intention behind their objection correctly.
Making the prospect feel “heard” is a huge gift. How often do we really feel listened to? How often do we really feel like our concerns are being taken seriously? Listening helps lower the prospect’s defenses. This is the complete opposite of what happens when you jump in itching to show how you’re right and they’re wrong. The door for a positive emotional buy in your favor is now at least cracked open.
3) Share information that gets to the heart of their concern like Google’s search results. The idea here is to add to what the prospect knows to help them optimize their decision, not to prove them wrong.
4) Continue to help the prospect refine their “search” by checking in to get their feedback on the information you shared. This will let you know what they thought about what you said as well as if they still have questions. Then, you can share additional information (revised search results) as needed.
Once you’ve worked your way through one objection, repeat this process by asking what other concerns they have until you feel reasonably certain that you’ve surfaced and addressed them all.