In many cases an objection can be viewed as a sign of interest. For example, why would someone say “your model-YYY is too big for our office” if they were not interested; they would more likely say “we don’t want/need one”. If they say it is too expensive, it suggests they would buy one at the right price which means they perceive value in what you are offering but not enough to justify the price you are asking. Understanding the potential objections during a first meeting will help to ensure the prospect engages in a follow up or it will help you to qualify them out before committing any more time.
Hopefully you can see how this is shaping up. Handling any objection can be used as a means of progressing the conversation by getting the prospect to commit at each stage to the next stage. It is very difficult to sell to someone who shows no resistance so in general objections are good. Some examples:
- We have no budget; could be interpreted as – if they did have budget they would consider you. If we could show you how this will save you money would you consider raising a budget?
- We have no money for capital expenditure. If we could show you how this will save you money would you consider using our finance plan?
- It is too big for the office. I understand so I suggest we take a look at the model ZZZ instead.
- We have well established suppliers for this sort of thing. I appreciate that and would expect you to be loyal to them. Could I ask, if we could show you how we could speed up delivery times while reducing overall cost would you consider giving us a trial?
You are probably getting the picture of how this works. Objections are good if handled correctly as they enable you to progress the journey of prospect engagement, gaining commitment to the next step or stage. Without the opportunity to overcome the points of resistance represented by objections you will not make progress and your position at the end of a meeting is likely to be the same or worse than it was at the beginning. Any objection they did not share with you, or you failed to expose, has the potential to create negative feelings about you and your offering.
A key part of objection strategy is anticipation and pre-emption. If you know that most people are concerned that about the size of the model YYY, tell the prospect before they ask stating “we know a lot of people love the YYY but find it bulky which is why we have introduced the compact model ZZZ” (consider recent Apple and Samsung launches). You have pre-empted the objection which means the prospect did not have a negative thought that you had to recover from and you have demonstrated the market awareness and responsiveness of your company.
Objections are your friends and without them the job of prospecting and negotiating are made so much harder. So why not summarise all the objections that are typically raised and prepare at least one strong rebuttal per objection, always looking for ways to pre-empt the objections in every communication. Review this regularly to see if new objections are appearing and look for objections based on preference for a competitor’s offering – these definitely need to be handled by pre-emption.
One final point; it is common to feel concern that raising a topic which is a potential objection creates a negative thought in the prospect’s mind. It is better that they have that thought while you are there, and thus by dealing with it effectively, you will make your competitor’s life that much harder – great!