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The Objection Hunters

October 31, 2013

If your prospect has not raised an objection, then you are dreaming if you think you are getting the order. This is not to say that some buyers do not walk- in ready to buy, however if they have not raised an objection and you have not closed the sale, it is unlikely you will. Either they are information gatherers for someone else who is making the decision or the decision has already been made and they are using you as a yardstick.

Recently, I was speaking with my son David, a sales manager at CDW.  He was lamenting the fact that many of his sales representatives just send in a proposal, and sit back and wait for the order.

David said this happens all too frequently, that sales people wait and hope to get the order rather than become ‘Objection Hunters’.

Objection Hunters will close the deal more often than not.  As a sales manager make sure your sales reps are hunting down the objections that exist behind the customer’s silence.

First, have your sales rep put themselves in the buyer’s shoes.  As a buyer, you may not like the possibility of a confrontation.  Perhaps you are going through the motions of buying, not yet truly ready to buy so you just don’t raise the objections. Perhaps you have biases where you just don’t like the sales person, or the company for some reason.  Just to get the sales person off your back you will say “THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH”, send me a sample, or send me more information, when you never were really intended to buy their product or service anyway.  It’s easy.  It’s classic.

The reasons are endless on why not to buy.

On the other hand, many salespeople are afraid of the confrontation involving objections.  The ability to listen for them and really dig deep into them sounds somewhat dangerous.  So, the tendency is to speak over them and talk too much.

So much has been written and spoken about handling objections in sales that it can make your head spin.  I read one article “The Secret to Handling Objections”, where Brian Jeffrey says to avoid objections.  If you have properly gone through the Sales Process, you would have probed for all the objections.

Personally, I would be very surprised if most salespeople are able to get to that point.  Be an “Objection Hunter” and never ever avoid objections.  Figure, if you have not heard one, then your prospect probably will not buy.

Another article to read is “A Sales Training Guide to Objection Handling”.   Steve Noone O’Connor has some very good tips, and talks about the basic process of – Listen, Acknowledge, Clarify, and Solve.  Additionally, he makes some good suggestions on how to train your representatives.

I recommend you make it as painless as possible for the buyer to bring up the objections.  I must emphasize that a sales person’s job is NOT to confront but really to come to some mutually agreed upon resolution to the concerns of a buyer.

Some of my standard questions to “Hunt for Objections” are:

 1.  Other than price, what criteria are most important to your company?  For me, this is one of the most critical questions one can ask.  Some buyers actually believe that they are only buying on price, yet never are.  If they cannot answer, then you are at least you are making them think.

2.  I have talked about what I think the benefits are to you, what do you feel the benefits are in buying my product or service?  I get a kick out of all the sales training there is about feature and benefits.  It is only a benefit if a customer perceives it as such.  This again gets to the real issue of what is important to the prospect or buyer, not what you think is important.  Once known, don’t ever let them forget it.

3.  On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the best, where are you in buying my product / service?  What is easier for a prospect than to give than a number?  This will be a great opener to see where there are objections.  Especially if you feel if there has been no feedback.  If it is a 2 forget about it.  If it is a 7 or better, just ask how to make it a 10.

I am sure there are many other ways to uncover the hidden objections.  I would love to hear your comments about the biggest objections and how you covert them into selling opportunities. And remember.  Sales is Not a Dirty Word just a Higher level of communication.  

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