Defusing vs Overcoming Objections

Defusing vs Overcoming Objections

Defuse the Objection

Defuse the Objection

“Closing” sometimes has a negative connotation, primarily because no one likes to be “Sold” except for sales people. The rest of us don’t want to be “Sold” something, we just want to “Buy” a product or service worth having. Sales professionals who consistently find themselves having to use Hard Sell techniques and aggressive closing tactics often have to do so because they have missed the subtle art of building a relationship and actually finding out what would be the best option for this customer. Customers only say “No” when we haven’t given them enough reasons to say “Yes.”  Luckily, it’s actually fairly easy to avoid objections when it comes time to ask for the business. I’ve heard this general practice called Objection Mining, Objection Avoidance, I like Objection Defusing, but mostly it’s just called Good Service and actually getting to know someone. It’s called Being Helpful and here is how you do it-

 

#1 Accept Responsibility

  • Why do good sales people always appear to have the lay down deals? – Hint, It’s probably because they are good and make it look easy!!
  • Great sales people defuse the situation, everyone else loses control and places blame. – In 20 years of sales I’ve heard all the excuses. The product is bad, the price is off, the leads are horrible, the time shift or region is terrible, my assistant ate my homework, by dog booked the appointments after lunch, you name it. What I’ve never heard is a Salesperson who said, “You know what, that customer wants to wait and it’s 100% my fault.”  I get it, it’s a defense mechanism, as people we want to deflect failure and pretend that it’s outside of our control. It’s easier that way. No one said Sales was an easy profession though, it’s like living off the land, we only eat what we kill. Accept that you and your family need and rely on you to make a good living and that you alone are in control of your success.
  • I read a book about 5 years ago that really nailed this reality and opened my eyes – Larry Winget’s “Success is Your Own Damn Fault” , check it out.

#2 Setup for Success

  • Ask Questions to uncover the objections before they happen. – Ask about the decision making process, ask about how they have made decisions in the past, ask what criteria is important, ask why, ask, ask ask and uncover the “Why”. There is an Art to asking questions, the first answer to a “Sales” type question is always the social nicety or what they think they should say, something like “I’m fine, just looking. I don’t need any help.” The second question is typically answered with what they think they should be shopping for, something about a budget, rate, cost, or some feature. The problem is that now we’ve asked a couple of questions and have absolutely no idea what this customer wants or needs, the third question typically needs to find out why these features would help. The best way to understand the “Why” is to check out the Golden Circle Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. Just search for it, it’s a great way to spend 20 minutes.
  • Listen More – Ask your questions and then shut up. The problem with sales people is that we love the sound of our voice. Who wouldn’t? We have great things to say and we are very persuasive right? The problem is that we aren’t comfortable with silence and we tend to dominate the conversations instead of letting our customers get comfortable in the conversation. Listen twice as much as talking and you customers will  like you twice as much as long as you are asking the right questions.
  • Non-Business Relationships – NBR – CLICK with your Customers, use personality types to bond, read about How to Win Friends and Influence People, study social graces. I don’t know a successful sales person that isn’t likable, but I do know a couple of arrogant sales people who are diligent $30,000aires. You know the type, the sales guy or gal that has no business driving that car or wearing that watch. I’m all for looking the part and those things represent success for many in our business, but if you aren’t humble and likable, it will always be a show. Those guys lease the car, you want to own it free and clear.
  • Uncover Need – Throughout your conversation keep notes of what the “Need” is. This person doesn’t need to save money, this person needs you to change their life in some way. How can you help?
  • Gather up Benefits – As you are gathering up the information you’ll have an idea of what the objections will be to making a purchase now. Make note and stack up reasons why they should move forward anyway. Those reasons are called Benefits.

#3 Defuse the objection

  • Don’t be caught off guard. – If you get surprised with an objection you failed in the first part of the call.
  • Anticipate the Objection and Frame your Benefit statements to address it. – If you anticipate a Cost Objection heavily outline the recoup cost and the cost of doing nothing if that’s applicable. Talk about the savings. Talk about the long term savings, talk about the value of time.
  • Use “The Agreement” – Confirm that your solution addressed the concern in question. “That solves the problem of paying for the program right?”
  • Do this properly and you wont have to overcome objections, the customer will overcome the objections themselves and choose to move forward.

 

2 BONUS TIPS –

 

                BONUS TIP #1  – Defusing and Uncovering Objections is NOT the same thing as CREATING Objections. If you suspect that you are going to get a Spousal Objection, don’t say “Hey, so earlier in our conversation you mentioned your spouse wasn’t here to help with the decision, maybe you should go home and talk to them and come back next week. I wouldn’t want to make a decision  like this without my spouse”. Defusing the Objection is about addressing this concern so that the customer CAN move forward today. Remind the customer that there is a guarantee or that they would be accomplishing exactly what their spouse asked them to.

BONUS TIP #2 – We still overcome objections.  Don’t kid yourself, even if we do a good job of addressing the issues and framing the benefits, sometimes we still need to ask for the business multiple times. Don’t use this technique as a way to opt out of asking for the business a couple of times if that’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we have to make it so uncomfortable for a customer to say NO, that they say YES. Often those customers are the ones that call me back and thank me for forcing them to make a decision, they were just too scared for their own good.

 

What is SalesFu? – Capturing the Energy

vintage morse telegraph key with white background

Practice the MORSE Code of Success

What is SalesFu?

Sales Fu = The Art of Identifying & Capturing Customer Energy and using it to Persuade & Influence a purchase decision.

We’ve found that there are different personality types and we have an idea of how those personality types impact our communication. Now what? Now we talk about Capturing Customer Energy via Sales Momentum, Control and the MORSE Code to success.

 

SALES MOMENTUM

All too often I hear salespeople getting ready to do “Battle”, getting set to “Take another one down” or getting into a “Verbal Jousting Match”. All of these terms create the image of an adversarial approach to sales. We are one side of the war, and the customer is on the other. Is this how we really see our jobs and is this a healthy approach? I believe that at it’s highest level, Great Salesmanship is the same as Great Customer Service. We ask our customers to move forward because we strongly believe that it’s the right thing to do, we will meet and exceed their goals and have the right product at the right time for the right price. Instead of thinking of this transaction as a boxing match in which we beat our opponent into submission, let’s think of this as a chance to work together and move in the same direction. Some quick tips to make this a habit and make your sales calls continually move closer to the point of sale.

#1  DISARM – Never tell the customer that they are wrong or become confrontational. Instead, when a customer has a false assumption or becomes confrontational themselves, disarm them with moving phrases – “Great, I believe I can clarify this point so that we can move forward”, “Ah, I see the misunderstanding. I think that moving forward you will be happy to learn that…”, “Yes, we should be able to overcome this obstacle by,,,”. These phrases start with a positive sounding word, (Great, Yes, Ah) and then create a vision of motion actually moving forward.

#2  IDENTIFY THE DIRECTION – Based on the personality type already observed use language that will connect with the customer. If the customer has just given us an objection take the objection and turn it into a buying sign. If the customer objects to the Cost of your product/service then confirm their intent to buy once this issue is cleared. “Great, I’m glad you are giving this some thought before jumping ahead (or diving in) because that means you are serious about this transaction. So if I’m understanding this correctly, I think we just need to make sure we have enough value here before moving forward right?

#3  RE-CLOSE – We’ve successfully transitioned an objection back into a buying sign and the customer is still focused on moving forward somehow instead of how to get you out of the office or off the phone. We’ve kept the momentum of the call moving forward and can now ask for the business. Perhaps through this process we’ve realized that the goals we had outlined for the customer were wrong, or that product will need to be modified somehow. Instead of stalling the process we’ve shifted gears on the fly with feedback from the customer and kept the flow of the call moving towards a sale. Once we have redetermined the goals it’s time to Re-Close. Mention the customers buying sign and guide them to the point where they are comfortable saying Yes. “So I know that Cost is a major determining factor for you, so you’ll be pleased with this because…(insert benefits), which makes this all worthwhile. It’s safe to say we can get the process started now right?

 

CONTROL FROM THE TOP

Sales Momentum is key, but a measure of control must already be in place to work a conversation in this manner. Control is easier to maintain than you think. Visualize control in a conversation as a Baton that gets passed back and forth through the dialog. Every time a customer asks an unprompted question, gets sidetracked on a long story or tells you they have to go, you have lost control. Start with asking basic SLOT CLOSE questions, THIS or THAT type questions to narrow in on the product or service type needed. Then move on the POSITIVE AFFIRMATION questions, repeat goals back to the customer and ask for approval. “This is what you want, RIGHT?” , “It’s safe to say you need this ISN’T IT?”. “ISN’T IT safe to say we’ve met or exceeded all your goals?” , “Help me understand this, we need to offer you X,Y and Z, CORRECT?”. These phrases all maintain control of the conversation. Last but not least ask open ended questions, this will give the customer the sense of being in control, the more they talk the more they like you and at the same time you’ve still maintained control of the Baton. You gave them direction for this part of the conversation. I’ve even heard the phrase “Now this is the part of the conversation where we talk about…. ” this clarity gives a customer comfort. When a customer knows what their role is in the conversation and what comes next they will be at ease. It’s easier for them to let their guard down when you provide clear direction during the conversation. Give time limits, “This will only take another 10- 15 minutes. I have another appointment after this one.” This sets the customer at ease because they know they won’t have to beg you to get off the phone, you have defined the conversational limit. You have the control.

 

MORSE Code to Success

We have captured the energy, controlled it and funneled it into a positive experience for both parties. Energy like this becomes more powerful the more focused it is, so if we can direct that focus onto 1 or at most 3 objectives that we know we can satisfy we can earn the business and help that customer. Sometimes we need to help identify that focus though, we need to help define the problem so that we can create the solution. I call this the MORSE Code of success.

M.anufacture

O.pportunity.

R.ealize it.

S.hare it.

E.xecute

 

Very often our potential customer comes into contact with us without a firm goal in mind, or at least not with one they are sure about. We can use the tools of control to uncover a need, to Manufacture an Opportunity that the customer didn’t even know was there. Once we have identified the opportunity we need to help the customer Realize the need. You will know that your customer recognizes the need when they Share that need back to you, often prompted by us. Then, it’s just time to take action and Execute.

Imagine this scenario- The customer calls in and thinks you can help save them money somehow, they already pay for this service or product but perhaps you can provide it for less money. It turns out that you can’t really save them that much money on a monthly basis, but you can save them a lot of money in the long run, your product pays for itself faster or has a shorter payment plan. The customer wanted to save money, but was probably thinking it would come in the form of monthly savings. Instead, you Manufacture the Opportunity to save money in the long run. You plant the seed with a  control question- “So what I’m hearing is that you can afford your currently monthly payments without any problems, but you think you can save a significant amount of money over the life of this product with an upgrade right?” Then a little later in the conversation ask for the customer to Share this opportunity back with you, “So can you imagine what you’ll do with your extra money once you’ve paid this off? What will you do with the extra money then?” The customer starts to Share their plan for the additional funds that will come in the long run, this creates ownership of the decision in their mind. This goal is now theirs and luckily you can provide the solution. All that’s left to do now is to Execute a little more control and get to the point where you can ask for the business.

 

Next post we will talk about SalesFu Persuasion!

 

The Analogy Close!

A few of you have seen this before, that’s OK revisit your analogy story and make it better! The rest of you are new to my blog and I welcome you! If you have a great close or sales tip that’s worked for you in the past please feel free to share in the comments.  I’ve saved all the sales tips I’ve used in the past and I’d love to add to the catalogue. If it’s worked for you, it will work for others. Let’s all make our SaleFu stronger together!

This is a bit of verbiage trickery. Think of it this way… You are in a UFC match and you start giving jazz hands with your left hand. That’s kind of distracting right? Then you start to Jab with your right and win the match. Boom.

An analogy in this case is usually a story that is personal to you and likely has nothing to do with your product or service. In the story you must describe 2 scenarios, one must clearly represent your product or service and the other would be the “Bad Guys”. At the end of the story you have to ask the customer what they would choose given that scenario. The Choice MUST be obvious for this to work. Once they choose in the Analogy they will choose in real life based on that decision. It’s simpler than it sounds. Below is my standard Analogy Close-

STEP #1  Suspend Belief. Let the customer know that you are about to deviate from the conversation. “OK, Mr. Customer, I can understand it’s a tough choice between us and option xyz. Before you make your decision, let me tell you a quick story that might help you.”

STEP #2 Tell your story.  Here is Mine- I used to go to Honolulu for Business all the time. (I know rough right? But SOMEONE had to do it!) I hate driving in metropolitan areas though, so the first couple of times I took a cab from the airport to the hotel in Waikiki. The cab company services always estimate that it will cost about $40 to get from the airport to the hotel, but I tell you what, I never once paid $40 for that trip. If I had a bag or trade show supplies with me it always cost extra, if traffic was bad or there was construction I always paid more. If we caught a red light or it is was raining, who knows, but I never once actually paid $40. It was almost always over $50 by the time I got to where I was going. After doing this for about the 6th time I finally noticed that there was another line for transportation at the airport, it was for the Black Car Service. I had never thought about a Black Car Service before, I assumed that those were for executives with much larger Expense Accounts than I had as a Sales Rep. This time there wasn’t a line and I figured I’d at least talk to the gentleman at the podium and see what this was about. Turns out the Black Car service there has standard fees based on the destination. From the Airport to Waikiki was $50 no matter how much luggage I had or what the traffic was like. It was clearly posted and the fee was agreed to ahead of time.  Seriously? I could have been paying the same $50 I had been paying for the Cab ride all this time? I rode in the Black Car that day. It was actually pretty sweet, there was a TV in the Back and an assortment of Magazines and some refreshments and snacks-  All included in the $50 and the interior was nice and roomy. (The driver was also great and I got his card and only use him when I go to Hawaii now!)I got where I needed to go and the ride was absolutely great! So my point is this… with that brokerage shop the advertised rate and costs can sometimes change and they’ll give you good reasons like the traffic is bad or there was a closed off street but the end result is likely to be the same as mine. The Difference is my product/service is like the Black Car services of our industry. We offer excellent service, you have personal relationships with myself and my team, we are like your tour guides and we disclose everything to you upfront. So do you really want to take your chances with the Cabbie? Or wouldn’t you rather ride the in the Black Car? IF it’s the same price what would car would you choose?”

STEP #3 Close.   The customer says that they’d take the Black Car and then I say “GREAT! I’ll make sure that we take good care of you and I seriously want you to think of me as your (Product/Service) Tour Guide!… I need to ask some questions and put a credit card on file and send some documents to you for review, signature and return.”

A couple of Tips and Tricks-

  • Don’t use my exact story. Make it your own , just make sure that the outcome is obvious.
  • Practice the story a few times. Telling a story isn’t natural for everyone.
  • Begin with the end in mind. A lot of folks lose their way half way through the story. It can’t go on longer than about 2.5 minutes before you stretch the attention of a client. You risk them tuning you out.

Happy Selling and if you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to me! For specialized Sales Training Options and more tips follow me @salesfumaster