I was interviewed on a podcast when the interviewer asked me a good question that he said would cause me to think a bit. He asked, “Mike, how many objections are there?”
That did cause me to think. After a moment, I told him that while there are a lot of variations of objections, in truth there are really only a few. And he agreed. The interviewer shared a story about how once when he was consulting onsite, he asked the manager that same question and the manager replied: “There are a hundred different objections!”
He then challenged his client with: “I’ll bet my entire fee there are no more than 15, and if there are less than ten, you double my fee.” After going through them with this manager, there turned out to be just 12.
And that’s been my experience as well. Whenever I’m onsite with a company, I brainstorm with the team to identify all the objections they get. They rarely can come up with more than five to seven for prospecting and about the same amount for the close.
So given this truth (and I’m sure once you think about your own situation you’ll agree), I can give you five things you need to do to anticipate, prevent, deal with, and overcome them.
Here they are:
1. There is a Finite Number of Objections
The key to dealing effectively with objections is to recognise that there is a finite number of them (about five to ten). And you’re going to get these same ones over and over again. So you need to anticipate them.
Be prepared for them with an effective, best practice approach or script. In fact, write out three or four responses to the most frequent objections you get, learn them, and use them over and over again.
Sounds easy, I know, but you would be amazed by how many sales people still won’t take the time to do this.
If you will, however, you’ll increase your success rate and your confidence exponentially.
2. Prevent Objections
At the end of your presentation, two of the biggest objections and stalls are: “The price is too high,” and: “I need to talk it over with…”
These two objections should have been uncovered and dealt with during your prospecting call. These should have been qualified for and you should know in advance what the decision process is like, and if this fits within their budget.
If you don’t, then weave these kinds of qualifying questions into your prospecting script and never encounter them again.
3. Know When to Deal with Objections
My mentor taught me there were three times to deal with objections: When they come up, later in the presentation, or never.
You need to decide which time is best for you. If you deal with them when they come up, you’re likely to lose momentum and give control over to your prospect. If you delay them until the end, (“I’ll cover that in just a few minutes”) then you can buy yourself some time and the objection might even go away. And if you don’t answer it at all, sometimes you’ll find that the prospect doesn’t bring it up again.
When you decide to handle an objection depends on many things, and you can probably tell when the right time is. Just know you have options.
4. Know How to Deal with an Objection
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they rush to answer an objection. That shouldn’t be your first approach. Instead, always get into the habit of questioning an objection and make your prospect work to answer and clarify it.
Doing so often allows you to get more information about what the real objection is, and often your prospect – in explaining it – will give you the seeds to answer it. Simple statements could be: “Really? Why is that?” or: “What do you mean by that?” or: “Why is that important to you?” or my favourite: “Oh?”
The key to dealing effectively with objections is to recognise that there is a finite number of them.
5. Be Ready to Go to Work When You Get an Objection
The final thing I want to share from my podcast with Jeffrey is when we both talked about how the sale starts when you get an objection. In fact, I shared that I was taught that the sale doesn’t start until you’ve received five objections!
Compare that to how you handle objections today. Do you tend to give up after one objection? How about after two?
Bottom line is that if you’re not prepared with a best practice approach (a script that you’re familiar with, that you can use naturally) of what to say when you get objections, then you’re probably not ready to stay the course and keep closing until you win the sale.