ROADMAPPING VICTORY - Handling Objections

Anyone who has been involved in selling can recite a litany of war stories where things didn’t go according to Hoyle. They were making all the right moves and for some reason their best laid plan was met with rejection.

Because perception is in the eye of the beholder anything you do could be misinterpreted. You thought you were being generous; the buyer thought it was a bribe. Your invitation to conduct training was perceived as arrogance. A Non-Accelerator would use the possibility of action being misperceived as an excuse to do nothing. A Motivational Accelerator sees objections as an opportunity to inject additional clarity into the situation.

Warning: Objections are often delivered in sheep’s clothing: “This isn’t exactly what we are looking for. I thought your price would be more competitive. Our customer isn’t sure your delivery meets their needs.” The underlying message is: “I don’t like your product. I don’t like your price. I don’t like your service.”

 

Those feelings may stem more from a perception of your product, price, or service than the reality of your offering. Recognize that buyers are so inundated with information that it’s difficult to keep it all straight. If the relationship is going to move forward, you need to identify the real issue and resolve it quickly. You have to become the clarifying agent. Having an objection-handling model to govern your actions will insure a more simplistic and effective approach in countering any obstacles.

A-I-R . . . IT OUT

One of the most difficult activities for an unskilled salesman is overcoming objections. Instead of seeing the objection as an opportunity to resolve doubt, clarify issues, and cement a commitment. Non-Accelerators see objections as a personal attack and threat to their success. They become defensive, initiate a counter attack, and in most instances fail to address the issue at hand. What they don’t recognize is that an objection, properly handled, will expedite the process of getting the buyer to say yes. In order for any objection to be overcome effectively, a simple mode, A-I-R, should be used.

It consists of three elements: Agreement, Investigation, and Reaction.

STEP 1: AGREEMENT

When someone objects to something it could be for a variety of reasons. In order to successfully resolve the issue, the salesman should initially agree with the person doing the objecting. The agreement is phrased in a way that lends support to the objector without confirming his claim. If the objector states that “your price is too high,” the salesman responds by saying, “I agree that price is an important issue.” By delivering a sympathetic response you can support the view of the objector without validating his or her belief.

 

Impact: By agreeing with the buyer you have just collapsed the confrontational gap and created some common ground (you both agree price is important). The buyer made a statement and you supported his right to make it. Had you disagreed with the statement, responding that, “nobody has ever had a problem with our price,” you would have widened the confrontational gap. It is much more difficult to resolve an issue with an enemy than with a friend. When you agree with someone, he will see you as a supporter and be more inclined to allow you to pursue the issue.

STEP 2: INVESTIGATION

In order to resolve any objection it is imperative that you accurately identify a buyer’s reality. When a buyer states that “your price is too high,” is he talking about affordability or value? Investigating the buyer’s input will help uncover what the real facts are. Facts, not speculation, will dictate your response. Formulating investigative questions is simple. They normally begin with who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Impact:By investigating what the buyer says you are showing interest and sensitivity. You can’t help but score. You are also accumulating facts that will help determine your course of action.

STEP 3: REACTION

You react because selling is about resolving issues. In any objection-handling situation the issue is not resolved until the buyer confirms that what you are giving him is acceptable.

Impact:You Accelerate the buyer by effectively resolving the problem. Too often salesmen perceive that an issue has been resolved when it hasn’t. If you get the buyer to agree that the issue no longer exists, there should be no hesitation on the buyer’s part to moving forward. Reluctance may indicate that there is another issue unresolved and your use of AIR will be needed again.