Turn Objections Into Opportunities

Turn Objections Into Opportunities

Objection Strategy 4: Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt

Just about every company in existence has had some problem account that they really messed up and, as a result, have lost. Then along comes a new, unsuspecting salesperson in the territory-or maybe the past messed-up customer turns up on a hot-prospect list. Here's what it sounds like:

Prospect: "We used your line of [detergent], and it cost us a fortune in repair bills for our steam washers. I'll never use your company again."

Top Salesperson: "Sorry to hear that. Let me ask you, if your company's best salesperson just heard that objection from one of their past customers, how would you personally coach them in answering it."

If you hear anything other than a click and a dial tone, you're in business. Suppose you hear something like:

Prospect: "I'd tell your production department to get a new formula, and then I'd tell your quality assurance department to put proper warning labels on your packaging. And I'd tell your sales department to know everything about their product before they go out and try to sell it." Etc., etc.

As this prospect dumps on you, make sure you take notes. When the person is all done and feels heard, you can say something.

Top Salesperson: "Thank you very much. Here's what we've done." (Now articulate what, if anything, you've done to correct the situation-and more importantly, what you've done that this prospect suggested be done.)

The biggest insult you can give any prospect at this point is to become a "parrot" and say something totally lame:

Lousy Salesperson: "I can see that you've had a bad experience with our company in the past. Well, fortunately, that salesperson is no longer here. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to win your business back. Blah, blah, blah."

This will only succeed in getting the other person to tune out.

Be an ambassador for your organization, take the heat, do whatever it takes to make it right, and see to it that you and what you're selling are engaged in a constant improvement program.

Objection Strategy 5: Don't Agree to "Call Me in Two Months From Never"

You sent the e-presentation, you call to follow up, and everything's going great. Your prospect seems interested enough, but he's preoccupied. He makes a request that you've heard a thousand times before:

Prospect: "I am interested in your line of crop dusters, but I've got to do some year-end budget planning first. Call me in three months."

(What to do? Take a look.)

Top Salesperson: "Sure. Let me ask you, though: Let's say it's three months from now. What exactly would you want to see, hear, or experience during that time that would provide a complete understanding of our products, services, and solutions?"

Prospect: "Well, I'd first want to talk to someone who has a similar need to mine, and then I'd want to take a ride in the crop duster, and finally I'd want to have my aviation director take a look."

Top Salesperson: "I've got an idea. How about you and I grab a bite to eat with one of my customers sometime in the next month? What's your calendar look like?"

Or: "How about this? While you're crunching number, I can have a conversation with your director of aviation about..."

The key here is to offer several suggestions as to steps and actions that can easily take place during the idle time the prospect suggested.

It never ceases to amaze me how many salespeople will obediently take the blow-off and actually agree to give a callback in three months from never. Make no mistake, during that time your competition will be calling on this prospect and outpositioning you in the interim.

Have an arsenal of information, tactics, activities, correspondence, newsletters, touch points, lunches, lattes, and so forth that you can offer in response to the endless blow-off. It beats knee-jerk acceptance of a blow-off.

Objection Strategy 6: The Best Offense is a Good Defense

This extremely cool, highly effective, unorthodox strategy for dealing with objections comes to your courtesy of Joe Sugarman, the king of infomercials and an icon in marketing. You may not recognize the name, but you most likely have one or more of his products, such as his blue-blocker sunglasses. Here then is one of the best sales tactics that I've ever learned, compliments of Mr. Sugarman.

Every single product, service and solution in existence has its fair share of flaws. So the question is, what are you as a salesperson going to do when those flaws are pointed out? Oh, sure, you could be on the defense and "handle" the problem when it comes up, but how about turning the table? How about bringing up your worse objection before your prospect does? How about bringing it up when you want to take about it?

Let me give you an example. Let's say you're selling the highest-priced chemical cleaner on the market. And let's say that the price objection always rears its ugly head at a time when it typically isn't favorable to closing the sale that you've worked on so hard.

Top Salesperson (You): "Mr. Lowball, you'll find that we're the only provider of high-quality, extended-shelf-life, and EPA-compliant chemical cleaners on the market. And you'll also find that we're the highest-priced solution."

(There. You came right out and said it.)

Prospect: "Well, that's a problem. I've been asked to reduce expenses for the balance of this year."

Smart Salesperson: "Have you completed your annual EPA inspection?"

Prospect: "No, it's due to start in the third quarter."

Smart Salesperson: "Shall we provide you with enough cleaner to satisfy your needs until the end of the third quarter-and guarantee that you pass the inspection with flying colors?"

In every single case you'll gain the respect and confidence of your prospect with this approach.

Excerpted from Stop Cold Calling Forever!from Entrepreneur Press.

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Tony Parinello has become the nation's foremost expert on executive-level selling. He's also the author of the bestselling book bearing the name of his sales training program,Getting to VITO, the Very Important Top Officer, 10 Steps to VITO's Office,as well as the host of Club VITO, a weekly live internet broadcast.

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