How to Handle Objections in Six Easy Steps

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Many salespeople think of objections as a bad thing, but in fact they're missing the big picture. If your prospect raises an objection, that's actually a good sign. The fact that he's bringing up his concern means that he's giving you a chance to find an answer for it. If someone is completely uninterested in buying your product, he won't bother to object – generally he'll just sit through your presentation in silence (with arms folded) and then send you away.

However, when you hear an objection it's important to address it in a thorough and professional way. If you don't resolve that objection, the prospect won't be able to move any farther along in the sales process. Here's a simple strategy to help resolve your prospect's objections.

Here's How:

  1. Listen to the Objection. Don't jump all over the prospect as soon as he says “But what about-.” Give him a chance to explain exactly what's bothering him. Don't just tune him out, either – listen. You can pick up some really valuable clues from the way a prospect phrases his objection.
  2. Say it Back to the Prospect. When you're absolutely sure the prospect is done talking, look thoughtful for a moment and then repeat back the gist of what he's said. Something like “I see, so you're concerned about maintenance costs” is fine. This both shows that you were listening and gives him a chance to clarify. “Well, it's not so much the cost I'm worried about as the downtime.”
  1. Explore the Reasoning. Sometimes the first objections aren't the prospect's real concern. For example, many prospect don't want to admit that they don't have enough money to buy your product, so they'll raise a host of other objections instead. Before you launch into answering an objection, ask a few exploratory questions, like “Has product downtime been a big issue for you? How has it affected you in the past?” Draw the prospect out a bit.
  1. Answer the Objection. Once you understand the objection completely, you can answer it. When a customer raises an objection, he's actually expressing fear. Your task at this point is to relieve his fears. If you have specific examples, such as a story from an existing customer or a few statistics, by all means present them – hard facts make your response stronger.
  2. Check Back with the Prospect. Take a moment to confirm that you've answered the prospect's objection fully. Usually this is as simple as saying, “Does that make sense?” or “Have I answered your concern?” If he answers in the positive, you can move on. If he seems to hesitate or acts uncertain, though, you may not have fully resolved his concerns. Back up to an earlier step and try again.
  3. Redirect the Conversation. Bring the prospect back into the flow of the sales process. If you're in the middle of your presentation when the prospect raises his objection, then once you've answered it quickly summarize what you'd been talking about before you move on. If you've finished your pitch, check if the prospect has any other objections, and then start closing the sale.

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