Overcoming Sales Objections – 4 Strategies for Getting Past Issues

July 15th, 2018

Whether you call it a sales objection, conflict resolution or resolving concerns, all salespeople will encounter situations in which they have to deal with an objection or something with which the customer disagrees.  This is a critical part of sales leadership.  This article provides 4 strategies for overcoming sales objections.

What are you most common sales objections?

This is step one – analyzing your situation and sales history to determine the most frequent sales objections your customers express during the sales process for your particular product or service.  Work with your sales and customer service teams to brainstorm all the potential sales objections that people have expressed, then narrow the list to the top 5.  In most cases, the top 5 sales objections will likely represent most situations.

Make sure one of your top five objections is around money.  Every salesperson will experience some objection and/or question about the investment you are asking them to make.  When the customer says something like “this is more than your competitors” or “this is a lot more than I was expecting”, having a standard method for addressing this situation will have a huge impact on your sales.

Develop a feature and benefit around each of your top sales objections

For each of your top five sales objections, including the one about money, identify a feature about your product or service that addresses the objection.  Once you’ve identified the feature, assign a benefit statement to each feature.  For example, if a customer says something like “we really don’t need the CRM module as part of our marketing automation platform”, you might say something like “the CRM module connects directly to your sales leads data, and this will prevent your salespeople from wasting precious sales time doing data entry work”.  The CRM module connectivity issue is the feature, and the prevention of wasted sales time is the benefit.

Let’s talk money now.  You must be prepared to educate your customer why the investment you are asking your customer to make is higher than the competition or higher than what was expected.  You must be prepared to explain the extra value the customer gets from the higher investment.  When the customer says something like “your price is higher than the competition”, you might respond with something like “that’s often the case and let me explain to you the three things the justify the additional investment”.  If you effectively prepared and practiced your value statement, you’ll not only be able to handle the pricing objection, you’ll also seize the opportunity to tell the customer more about what he/she is getting by working with you.

Control your emotions and stay cool

Much has been written lately about emotional intelligence (EQ) and sales, and top salespeople have very high EQ.  The four elements of EQ are 1) being aware of your own emotions, 2) being able to effectively control your emotions, 3) being able to read the emotional state of others through their words and body language, and 4) empathy – the ability to understand why people feel and act the way they do.

Controlling your own emotions is critical to effectively handling sales objections.  We are all wired in different ways.  We have pet-peeves and unique things that set us off, and everyone is different.  Too often when a customer expresses a sales objection, the salesperson takes it personally and/or feels challenged and threatened.  Our amygdule (the fight or flight section of our brain) kicks in and the inexperienced salesperson runs.  Your ability to control your emotions, keep cool and stay in the moment is a huge advantage.

There are two things to think about that may help you control your emotions when a customer presents a sales objection.  First, realize the customer is not directing the objection at your personally.  It’s about some unique element of your product, service or proposal.  Also, the customer is right about his/her objection, at least in their own mind.  Second, suspend your judgement and don’t argue the merits of the objection.  Seek first to understand why the customer is expressing the sales objection and be empathetic.  Do this, and your response to a sales objection will build your credibility as a trusted advisor to your customer.

Use the Feel-Felt-Found (FFF) approach  

FFF is a proven method for responding to sales objections.  Here’s how it works.  The “Feel” part acknowledges the objection.  After all, the customer’s objection is correct in his/her own mind.  The “Felt” part affirms the legitimacy of the objection, making the customer feel justified.  The “Found” part communicates the feature/benefit you prepared earlier.

Here’s an example of using FFF…

Customer – “we really don’t need the CRM module that’s part of your marketing automation platform”

Salesperson – “I understand why you’re thinking it isn’t necessary (Feel).  A few other CEOs like you have expressed that same concern (Felt).  What they found though is when the CRM is included and connected to the Leads module, their salespeople were able to avoid spending time doing data entry, which increased the time they had to close more sales (Found).

When you predict and prepare for how you’ll handle typical sales objections, and you control your emotions when you experience conflict or disagreement, you’re setting up nicely for responding.  Then, add the FFF method and you’ll end up closing more deals at a higher average sale.

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