10 Secrets to overcoming sales objections while maintaining integrity
Honest, caring entrepreneurs don’t try to overcome sales objections. It’s not just that they don’t know how, it’s that they never learn because they fear that overcoming sales objections is somehow sleazy or out of integrity.
“NO” still means “NO”.
If someone says ‘no thanks, I’m not interested’, that’s not an objection to be overcome. That’s just a no.
However, a sales objection is different than a no. An objection is delivered in the form of ‘I’d love to, but…’ or ‘I would except for…’ Since often the client won’t say ‘I’d love to…’ you may have to ask ‘So I’m hearing that if ____ weren’t an issue, you would want to pursue this?’
Once you establish that the person you are speaking with wants what you have to offer, it now becomes an act of service to try to honour that desire.
Your prospective client sees only obstacles to her goal of hiring you, or purchasing from you. You, because you have experience with this, see possibilities and alternatives that could empower them.
It’s in integrity to support them. In fact, if you let fear stop you from attempting to overcome that objection – fearing that someone may find you ‘pushy’ – then you are letting your fear stop you from helping someone get something they want. There is another way.
Minimise objections with thorough groundwork
Much of the work of overcoming objections should be done before the objections are voiced. If you can overcome them before they even come up, the decision is easier for your prospective client, and the conversation is easier for both of you. People make objections when they aren’t clear.
They aren’t clear about what their situation is costing them. They aren’t clear that the solution you provide will solve their problem. They aren’t clear that the cost of solving the problem is less than the cost of keeping the problem. They aren’t clear what saying ‘yes’ to the solution will mean.
The first four secrets lay the groundwork in your sales conversations for you to minimize objections before people even have them, or voice them. The great thing for your client is that this means that she or he can evaluate your offer much more clearly, without as many fears or secondary concerns.
SECRET 1 – Don’t give the price too soon
Don’t give the price until they are clear on what you are offering. It’s not uncommon for people to inquire about your services or products, whether it’s informally at a social event, or at a more formal networking event, and the first question someone asks is ‘what do you charge?’
If you give an answer then, you will almost certainly lose that person as a client. Instead, invite them to a conversation.
Q: “What do you charge?”
A: “In order to answer that question for you, I’d need to know more about your needs. I have a number of different offerings, and I’d like to discuss with you what you’re looking for, so we see what can serve you. Let’s set up a time for me to ask you a few questions first, and then we can talk about the details and what might be the best fit for you. Does that work for you?”
This is the only way that you can serve that person in integrity. Just because your price may work for the prospective client, doesn’t mean that you’ve established that they need your services, or that the two of you are a match. Giving out your price at this point is needlessly confusing.
In the next conversation, you’ll get clear on what your prospective client needs, so you can see if you can authentically offer your services. You’ll also help her get clear on what the situation is costing her, so that she can make a more appropriate evaluation of the value of investing in your offering.
SECRET 2 – Help the client understand the cost of not hiring you
Get her in touch with the costs, including financial costs, time and energy costs, and emotional costs of having this problem. You can have the best offering in the world, and if a prospective client doesn’t see that they have a great need for the offering, then you’ll have an objection (usually price).
Here are some questions to ask: “What exactly isn’t working?” “What is that costing you in your life/business/health/relationships?” “How do you feel when you consider this problem?” “What have you tried before? Do you know why it didn’t work?”
Yes, in some industries, some of these questions may be uncomfortable for the client to answer. Remember, creating the space for your prospective client to be uncomfortable is actually having the courage to be of service. You can’t create a problem that isn’t there, you can only raise the awareness of it in the context of a conversation in which you can provide a solution. That’s being of service!
SECRET 3 – Get the client excited about the solution
Get the prospective client excited that the solution you provide will help solve their problem.
Far too many small business owners focus on the process that they provide, or on the features of their offering, without focusing on the benefits that the client will experience. For example, if you’re a web designer, being able to code in WordPress, PHP, Java, and HTML may not mean much to a prospective client. However, giving her a site that serves her needs and is delivered in a timely manner may be worth a great deal.
You can get your prospective clients excited in the following ways:
Prior to the sales conversation, or within the sales conversation, share the experiences that previous clients of yours have had. You can do this by sending them a ‘case study’ or ‘testimonial’ page along with any other prep material you offer for the conversation.
Find out what is most important to the prospective client by asking questions.
Questions can include: “What would you like to see in this situation?” “If you were to wave a magic wand, what would you like to have happen?” “What outcomes are you looking for?”
As you describe your offering, be very clear about how what you offer will provide what they want to achieve.
SECRET 4 – Ask for a commitment level
Find out how committed the prospective client is to changing the situation before making the offer.
A favourite question is “On a scale of 0 to 10, how committed are you to making this change?”
Usually the answer will be 8, 9, or 10. If it is less than that, you may not have a buyer. At this point, you can make your offer. If you’ve taken these four steps, you now have a client who is clear on what the situation is costing them, is clear on what they want, knows that you provide value and have done so for others, and has stated that they are committed to making this change.
Not only will this decrease the number of objections, but it will give you information with which to overcome any objections that do show up.
Creating this much clarity for the client is incredibly helpful, and truly elevates sales to a service.
SECRET 5 – Overcoming ‘I Don’t Have The Money’
You’ve established that your prospective client wants your offering, by asking how committed she is to changing the situation. Therefore, you can see the service in helping them to see possibilities so they can get the money they need.
They say: “I don’t have the money.”
You say: “Help me out, I don’t understand. You said that this situation was costing you these things (listing them), and that you were committed at a level 10 to changing this. I’m guessing you don’t have many level 10 commitments in your life. We usually find a way to pay for what’s important to us, so could I brainstorm with you on how to find the money so you can get what you want?”
“Do you often let ‘I don’t have the money’ get in the way of getting what you need? What would it be like to have that be different?”
“You said that this situation was costing you _____. If by investing in this offering, you save/earn/make _____ more per month, you’ll actually be ahead.”
SECRET 6 – Overcoming ‘I Have To Check With My Partner’
While it might be possible that this objection, or any objection, is a way to avoid saying ‘no’ outright, to be in integrity in sales you take your prospective client at their word. If your prospective client is completely sold on purchasing from you, then they might be able to convince their partner that this is the right course of action to take. However, it’s more common for the partner to consider objections that the prospective client hasn’t considered, and can’t answer.
When this happens, the partner can talk the prospective client out of taking action to get what they want, and you won’t be able to support them unless you’re in the conversation. Having a conversation with both parties is the best way to handle this situation.
They say: “I have to check with my partner
” You say, “OK. I know how frustrating it can be to try to explain something to your partner and not have the answers in case they have a question. Would you like for me to hop on the phone with you and your partner? When could we set that up?”
That way, you can understand the concerns of the partner, and answer them directly. They may or may not be the same as the concerns of your prospective client, so don’t leave the partner wondering and unclear about what you offer.
If the partner is part of the decision-making process, you’re of service when you bring the conversation to both partners.
SECRET 7 – Overcoming ‘I Don’t Know If This Will Work’
Your prospective client may be unsure whether your methods or product will work, or whether they will work specifically for them. Either way, you need to be able to calm this objection as long as you do it in integrity.
It’s usually not about you, or your offering. This objection is almost always based in the fears that the prospective client has that THEY are somehow different, or a hard case, or won’t get the value that everyone else gets.
They say “I don’t know if this will work”
You say, “Given all the success that other people have had using these methods, what has you concerned that it won’t work? Are you asking if this works, or are you concerned that it won’t work for you?”
Usually the answer is ‘I’m afraid it won’t work for me’. One answer to that is “If you don’t believe that you can change this situation with this help, how would you ever be able to change it without help?”
It doesn’t serve your prospective client to believe that somehow they are not able to enjoy the benefits that others enjoy. Laying your prospective client’s fears to rest based on the history of your offering is of service.
SECRET 8 – Overcoming ‘I Don’t Have The Time’
Most people today are overwhelmed. Sometimes purchasing your product or service will seem just like another ‘to-do’, even if your offering is designed to make life or business easier or more productive.
While you can certainly set up your sales conversation to overcome this objection before it occurs, if it comes back after you make the offer, there are conversational approaches to take.
They say; “I don’t have the time”
You say “I understand that you have very little time, and that’s one of the main reasons that this is so important. You’re currently spending time _____, and your situation is costing you ______ (this money or quality of life). If we got this situation handled, you’d have lots more time because not only would you spend less time ______(on your situation) you’d also be freed up from worrying about it.”
Having an unresolved situation that would be helped by your product or service will reduce overwhelm, stress, and usually save your prospective client time. Depending on your offering, you may save your client a great deal of time. Help them to see the benefit in what you provide, so they make a clear decision, not one based in overwhelm.
SECRET 9 – Overcoming ‘I Have To Think About It’
You say, “OK, let’s discuss that. Because I usually find as people think about things, fears come up and they find reasons that they can’t. But you told me that you thought this would really serve you, and answer your needs. So what other considerations do you have that you need to think about, just so I can make sure that all your questions are answered?”
Sometimes someone who says ‘I have to think about it’ means “I’m not going to do it, but I don’t want to say no to you.” In that case, often you’ll know intuitively. You can try to set up another appointment in 48-72 hours so that they will have time to think. If they decline to set up the call, they are actually saying no. You can encourage them to be open with you, and say no if it’s a no. This will save you time in the long run, and it’s empowering to encourage them to choose with a yes or no.
Sometimes someone who says ‘I have to think about it’ means “I’d love to do it, and I’m going to go work out the details.” In that case, you usually have a sense from questions they ask, and you can say “I’m sensing that you actually want to say yes, but you have some details to work out. Am I reading that right?”
If they say yes, then you can offer the following:
“In that case, let’s go over any obstacles that might come up, so I can support you in not being stopped by them in getting what you want.”
The important idea is to create the ‘reframe’, or alternate interpretation, or alternate path of action WITH the client. Otherwise, they may hit a stumbling block and just come back and say ‘no’ to you, when you have a great way for them to overcome that obstacle. Once you talk through the potential obstacles with the client, set up the scenario for their return.
“OK, so we’re going to speak in two days, 4pm on Tuesday, and perhaps you’ll come back for more support in overcoming the obstacles if something comes up. For now, let’s just know that you can get all the obstacles worked out, and so here’s what we’ll do on Tuesday.”
SECRET 10 – Remove the fear of saying yes
Your prospective client knows what happens if they say ‘no’ but they don’t know what happens if they say ‘yes’. Taking this action calms any fears, and gets them excited about starting with you. Let’s assume you’ve agreed to talk to your prospective client next Tuesday, when they will let you know a final decision:
“So when we talk again on Tuesday, let’s just say that you’re ready to go. Here’s what will happen: I’ll send you an agreement, and get your initial deposit. Then I’ll immediately send you my Get Started packet, which contains _____, so you can get going right away. We’ll schedule our first appointment, and you’ll be off and running. That way you can start getting the benefits of _____ immediately. Sound good?”
Before ending the conversation, if you haven’t closed the sale, remember to tell the client how much you want to work with them, or help them take advantage of this opportunity.
“I’d love to support you in overcoming this challenge/getting what you want in this situation.”
Your purpose in offering the work that you do is to improve the life of your client. When you help your client get what they want, you’re providing a service. Learning to effectively overcome your clients’ objections shows that you are authentic in knowing the value that you offer and that you truly care about helping people receive that value.
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