You may have the best products, or offer the highest quality services, and still not land that new account. In sales and marketing, it’s common for prospective customers to raise objections before you close the sale.
Managing objections requires quick thinking and solutions that work for the prospect. You may not convert all prospects, but you can increase your chances of turning a “No, thanks” into a “Where do I sign?”
1. Try to determine why the prospect is resisting your pitch. There are lots of reasons prospects may be reluctant to buy. They may lack complete information, for example, or fail to see the benefits you deliver. Maybe it’s a question of timing for their company.
When approaching new prospects, do some detective work using the Internet. Many business owners have profiles on LinkedIn®, and many small businesses have Facebook® pages. Finding out as much as you can about the prospect’s business can help you develop a clear understanding of the company’s needs and motives before engaging company management.
2. Clearly (and simply) explain the value of your product or service. Don’t use generalities. Get specific. “Our software will simplify order placement” is a general statement without anything to back it up. “Our clients typically see a 25% decline in the time it takes to place an order” is specific, while defining the value of the product.
Again, do your homework. Your product or service may be used by different businesses or consumers for different reasons. Specifically target the needs of your prospects, and clearly explain how your product or service may solve the problems they have.
3. Thank prospects for their objections. It may seem contradictory, but pushback from a prospect is actually a great opportunity to address the prospect’s objection right then and there, after which you can continue your pitch.
An objection from a prospect is an opportunity to provide information, clarify perceptions, identify a prospect’s concerns, and address them. “I’m glad you brought that up” is a non-threatening way to clarify why the prospect wants or needs your company.
4. Ask a lot of questions and listen carefully to the answers you receive. You may not get the real reason behind the objection without some probing and answers to questions. Common reasons prospects give include:
- A lack of understanding of what your company delivers
- A hidden agenda about which you know nothing, e.g., the company decided last week to go with another vendor
- Incorrect assumptions, e.g., “Nobody will look on the Internet for my company.”
- No clear interest in your product or service
- No authority to purchase your product or service, i.e., you aren’t talking to the decision maker
- The prospect is already using a similar product, so they don’t need you. Clients aren’t likely to change providers unless there’s a good reason. In this case, compare features and benefits to give them reasons to switch.
The more questions you ask, and the more relevant the questions, the more likely you are to convert a “No” into a “Yes”.
5. Take immediate action. Don’t ignore prospects’ objections. Take actions to address those objections ASAP. For example, the prospect may say, “We just can’t afford it this quarter,” at which point you can talk about your attractive financing options. You could even make the options more attractive to induce the prospect to say “yes”.
6. Follow up. When you finish the meeting, even if you haven’t closed the prospect, you should leave behind all contact information and identify a rough agenda for engagement. Make an appointment for a follow-up telephone call or face-to-face meeting, as well. The prospect may not be convinced the first time you meet, but if you can arrange a second meeting, you’ll be more prepared to address the prospect’s objections with the right answers. Regularly send sales materials to company owners with whom you’ve spoken. It may take five or six contacts before you close, but some prospects are simply more cautious than others.
7. Constantly refine your sales presentation. Each meeting with a potential client presents an opportunity to refine your presentation and improve your technique. After each presentation, make adjustments to better explain the value your company delivers. Add visual elements like charts and graphs to present a lot of information quickly. Make sure you have leave-behinds like a four-color brochure or your company’s latest catalog.
There are a lot of reasons for businesses not to buy products or services from you. Though it may take some time, and several meetings, if you can demonstrate the benefits of your products over those currently being used by the prospect-company, you’ll be more likely to get the sale you’ve been seeking.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.