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Overcoming Sales Objections the Easy Way

Overcoming objections is an essential part of the sales process, but it seems one that people I speak to either neglect or are fearful of. Really it can be very easy to counter objections, but before we get into that, I should describe what I mean by objections and what I mean by overcoming.

Objections are anything that stops a customer from buying from you. Note I said “from you”. Although we are interested in what stops a customer from buying at all, we are mainly interested in why someone doesn’t buy from you.

When I say overcome the objections, I am not describing a process where you battle, cajole or manipulate the customer into buying. Nobody appreciates that. In fact I would say once you are in a position where you have to go into a argument and counter-argument situation, you have already pretty much lost the sale.

So how do you overcome objections? When publishing content we have a brilliant solution built in to our practices; we inform the customer.

Overcome Sales Objections Before They Are Raised

Seems simple doesn’t it? Common sense? Well, it is simple and common sense, but as I say over and over, common sense is seldom common practice, and the tricky part is knowing what the objections will be.

Common Sales Objections

The obvious starting point is to think through what the objections will be by brainstorming. Common objections to any sale would be:

  • Price/Value/Cost – The price is too high against the perceived value or what happens if I spend all this money and don’t get value? I can buy something else with this, why spend it on your solution?
  • Time/Logistics – How is it delivered? Does it fit around our planning? Not ready yet, need it sooner or will take too long
  • Credibility/Trust – The solution seems right, just don’t trust you to deliver, or the solution is unproven
  • Politics – What will my boss think? Is this something I can approve? What happens if it goes wrong?
  • Knowledge – I don’t know enough about this stuff! Is this true or are you BS’ing me?

Price is the famous one, but is surprisingly one of the easiest to overcome. In fact most objections come down to risk. Do not underestimate the fear of looking foolish, that is a big risk also for the decision maker.

Discover Sales Objections

The next step is to ask. Ask past customers, current customers and potential customers.

  • “What concerns did you have?”
  • “Is there anything that troubled you that might have stopped you buying?”
  • “Was there anything we said that convinced you to go ahead?”
  • “Do you have any questions or issues that concern you?”
  • “Sorry to hear you are not going with us this time, was there anything in particular that prevented you from taking up our offer?”

Overcome the Objections

The whole point of this exercise is to get to the point where there are no objections because the customer is happy and secure in their decision to buy from you. That’s the dream scenario, but we can get there increasingly by incrementally improving our approach.

Take a look over those example objections (or risks) and you will see each has a way to overcome them built right in. Sometimes it takes some creativity and flexibility in your offer, sometimes just some more explanation, most of the time it is all about proof and credibility.

With price the best solution is to increase the perceived value rather than drop prices. This is where “bonuses” and “bundling” comes in. Price is also closely related to trust. Build your credibility to match your price.

A Word on Discounting

Discounting is a risky game.

Once you get into discounting and competing on price you are pretty well doomed. Don’t get me wrong, prices should be movable and something you control rather than fixed in stone, but not your main point of differentiation and never go down the road of communicating “cheaper” as your brand.

I do discount, but based on my business principals, not to make a sale. For example customers who work with me on long term commitments pay a lower rate than one-off, but they have to make the commitment (ie. not just a verbal promise) before they get the rate.

Remove Risk

As risk is a huge issue in objections, it is good to have “introductory” or “sample” products where you can demonstrate your value and reliability. That is why my services are all short term packages that are easy to agree to. My customers take me for a test drive on, say, an hour call, then that leads to longer term projects when they get value from my advice.

Remove financial risk with a guarantee. Guarantees can also remove some of the internal reputation risk for the customer, although again credibility has a big part to play here also, eg. “No-one ever got fired for choosing IBM”.

The sneaky way to create a solution to overcome an objection is to talk through with customers what might make them happier in their decision (other than dropping the price). You won’t implement all their suggestions but it might give you some unique ideas.

Finally, put a contact form right where the customer can find it so they can ask questions, and keep a log of the most common questions and objections so that you can go back and answer them in your content.

Summary

Overcoming objections means making a case where you answer questions before they are thought of. While many people do not like long sales pages, if you artificially cut down the information just to keep it short you are going to find you have more objections dangling than you would like. Provide all the information the customer needs and they will make an informed purchase.

Next time you are considering a purchase, list all the things you are thinking about and any concerns you have, some of them might well be applicable to your own product or service. Also, next time you are “just looking”, think about why you are not in the market and what would put you from looking into buying mode.

Sales is all about psychology, and your existing customers and yourself can often be your best test subjects.

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Comments

  1. Great post and great blog. I enjoyed reading it!

  2. Great post and great blog. I enjoyed reading it!

  3. Chris:

    This is the first “article” from you I have read – and I am totally impressed. Very common sense information that we all need to be reminded of, and that will help us improve our approach during that first, all important phone call or meeting. I went to your site on the recommendation of Tammy Lenski of MediatorTech.com – I am certainly glad I did. I downloaded your free book, “Killer Flagship Content” – Thank you! – I’ve already started skimming it. I’ll go back for a full “read” this weekend. I’m looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Mark R. Reif

  4. Chris:

    This is the first “article” from you I have read – and I am totally impressed. Very common sense information that we all need to be reminded of, and that will help us improve our approach during that first, all important phone call or meeting. I went to your site on the recommendation of Tammy Lenski of MediatorTech.com – I am certainly glad I did. I downloaded your free book, “Killer Flagship Content” – Thank you! – I’ve already started skimming it. I’ll go back for a full “read” this weekend. I’m looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Mark R. Reif

  5. Chris
    A very useful post that puts the objection issue into something that we can more effectively handle. Another piece of information about risk preference would be to find out the behavioural preferences of the buyer whenever possible. This would enable you to learn to identify the people who are more high risk from those who are risk adverse. The type of questions that the buyer asks gives clues to their risk preferences. There are some who want all the details, references, proof to show that what you are selling is idiot proof and has work for thousands before. Others are only interest in who is using it and can confirm it works as promised. Yet others are usually interested in how it will improve their status or make them important celebs. Finally the people who need you to be there friend and want to build a friendly relationship will engage you is a lot of social conversation as they get to know you – once they feel they belong they will quickly buy on that trust basis. Learning to actively listen will give real insights into each buyers risk preferences.
    Tom

  6. Chris
    A very useful post that puts the objection issue into something that we can more effectively handle. Another piece of information about risk preference would be to find out the behavioural preferences of the buyer whenever possible. This would enable you to learn to identify the people who are more high risk from those who are risk adverse. The type of questions that the buyer asks gives clues to their risk preferences. There are some who want all the details, references, proof to show that what you are selling is idiot proof and has work for thousands before. Others are only interest in who is using it and can confirm it works as promised. Yet others are usually interested in how it will improve their status or make them important celebs. Finally the people who need you to be there friend and want to build a friendly relationship will engage you is a lot of social conversation as they get to know you – once they feel they belong they will quickly buy on that trust basis. Learning to actively listen will give real insights into each buyers risk preferences.
    Tom

  7. I often say to people “common sense? sorry I left that in the car”, particularly when I have put my foot in my mouth.
    I really like your point “Was there anything we said that convinced you to go ahead?” and I have to say that I had never thought of asking that so duh it’s definitely something I need to do. Asking someone who doesn’t buy from you doesn’t necessarily elicit the true story as people are generally too polite to say that your offering was just pants. Expanding your point into a mini-survey might be valuable too. E.g. “Why did you choose us over the other bidder”, “What small things added together to influence your decision” and even “If you went through the same decision process tomorrow would you still choose us, and why/why not?”
    Richard

  8. I often say to people “common sense? sorry I left that in the car”, particularly when I have put my foot in my mouth.
    I really like your point “Was there anything we said that convinced you to go ahead?” and I have to say that I had never thought of asking that so duh it’s definitely something I need to do. Asking someone who doesn’t buy from you doesn’t necessarily elicit the true story as people are generally too polite to say that your offering was just pants. Expanding your point into a mini-survey might be valuable too. E.g. “Why did you choose us over the other bidder”, “What small things added together to influence your decision” and even “If you went through the same decision process tomorrow would you still choose us, and why/why not?”
    Richard

  9. Hi Chris,
    you make some useful comments. It is certainly appropriate to plan how to handle the common objections for your product or service.
    I particularly like your reference to dealing with objections before they come up. We often used to call that inoculating against objections. You can even inoculate without answering the objection, by using the “whiney voice technique”. In any case overcoming sales objections is one of the primary functions of a sales person.
    Greg

  10. Hi Chris,
    you make some useful comments. It is certainly appropriate to plan how to handle the common objections for your product or service.
    I particularly like your reference to dealing with objections before they come up. We often used to call that inoculating against objections. You can even inoculate without answering the objection, by using the “whiney voice technique”. In any case overcoming sales objections is one of the primary functions of a sales person.
    Greg