Sales Objection Handling

Posted: 11/09/2012

Everyone involved in sales is faced with handling customer objections. Indeed many sales people would say that objections are good news. They are evidence that the customer is listening and simply highlighting areas of concern before deciding to buy.

There are many ideas and models for handling sales objections, but the first question any sales person should ask is ‘Why do I get objections?’

To answer this question the sales person should think about the needs analysis stage of the sale. If the sales person has truly understood the needs, decision factors and buying motives of the person or people making the buying decision, then in theory it should be possible to create a sales proposition so compelling that the customer will not raise objections.

The reality is that there will always be objections, but there is an argument that we could all reduce the number of objections we deal with by making sure our sales propositions really meet customer needs. However, once faced with objections there are key behaviours that every sales person should be aware of:

  • First: isolating the objection.

Too often sales people will try and provide an answer without first understanding exactly what the objection is! The test is to ask a question on the lines of:

So, is the real issue….?

So, the problem is…..?

Even better, this should be followed up with a question such as:

Is this the only thing preventing us doing business?

A yes or a no will tell you how near you are to closing a deal.

  • Second: determine the type of objection:
  • Feasibility: the customer does not believe what you say. Think about dealing with this through third party references, data and market research
  • Value: the customer does not see value in your proposition. This means selling the value, often a focus on deliverables such as savings, increases in business and ROI is the right message here
  • Price: to manage a price objection is to understand it. The customer may like your proposition; they may think the price is fair; the problem is that they do not have the budget to pay for it. At this point it can be argued that the selling has stopped and negotiation has started. The customer likes the proposition, the challenge is terms and conditions.
  • Third: provide an answer:

You may be able to solve the customer’s problem, you may need to check something can be done, you may need to negotiate, but the objective is always to reach a positive end. As a final tip, if you do need to meet again then make sure both the customer and you have ‘actions’ before you reconvene.

This is a brief insight in sales objection handling. Discover more about TLSA's Sales Training Solutions.