Objections: A Natural Part of the Sales Process

By: Thomas Young

(appeared in the February 17, 1999, issue of inBIZ magazine of central Colorado)

During the selling process, prospects may express concerns or hesitations about buying. These are called objections and are a natural part of selling and communicating. Following are a few tips regarding dealing with objections.

Validate the Objection
Always validate the objection and never argue or disagree with the customer. Repeat back to the customer what you’ve heard and do not become emotionally attached to what is being said. This is especially important if the customer is becoming angry or frustrated. It is important to support the customer’s statement and clarify the objection before responding. Never respond to the objection immediately.

Ask Questions 
The best way to deal with an objection is to ask a question. Understand that the customer does not share your thoughts and feelings about the product or service that is being sold. In order to bridge this gap, use the words and thoughts of the customer and ask questions. The sales process evolves out of what is in the customer’s mind.

Find the real concern and help solve the customer’s problem. The true meaning of most objections is not in the words. The goal is to find the real reason for the objection. Treat objections as questions and uncover solutions. Work to develop a win-win situation. Ask for clarification, maintain good eye contact, monitor nonverbal messages, and take responsibility for miscommunications.

Write Common Objections
Anticipate the most common objections you hear and be prepared to solve them with the prospect. Let the prospect know you have heard the objection before, but were still able to help other clients.

Adapt to Ups and Downs
Remain focused and consistent in your sales efforts, without responding or engaging, to the highs and lows of the sales process. Be calm and collected when facing the loss of a sale or signing the biggest sale of your career. This is effortless selling, because it does not drain emotions or waste energy. This is effortless because you listen to and learn from the customer the proper response and action.

Objections are Buying Signals
Everything the customer does — or does not do — is a buying signal, including objections. Most buying signals are nonverbal. Understand that most of what is heard in a communication is nonverbal, even on the telephone. Successful sales people can read and intuit these signals.

Understand what is going through the mind of the customer during the sales process. Engage customers in areas that bring these thoughts to the surface. In this way, the sales process becomes much more effective and focused on the core needs of the client.

Price Objections
Price issues are one of the most common objections in sales. Remember, price is a relative issue. The key is perceived value and return on investment. It is unwise to pay too much, but it is much worse to pay too little. When a buyer pays too much, he or she may lose a little money. When one pays too little, one risks losing all value because of an inferior product or service.

Forget the Quick Fix
Never use sales techniques to handle objections. Customers can see a technique for what it is and are therefore less likely to buy. Techniques bring up negative emotions and distrust. The root of any buying decision is based on an emotional response that is, in turn, based on perceived value or filling a need. People may rationalize a decision to buy, but buying is determined on an emotional level. This is especially important to understand given the numerous options buyers have. Many times, the only factor that differentiates a product or service is what appeals to the buyer’s emotions.

Press Hot Buttons
People buy based on benefits defined by them, not by the sales person. Those benefits are perceived differently by each customer based on what will make them feel good or meet emotional needs. The master sales person will find out those real benefits and emotional needs and push the hot buttons that result in a sale. People resist buying when their hot buttons are not identified.

Don’t give up too early on the sale because of objections. Objections are good. They mean you are being taken seriously and you need to work toward resolution. See sales objections as part of the sales process and a request for more information. Find out what information they need and give it to them. This will result in satisfied customers and increased sales.

Tom Young, MBA is a sales trainer and marketing consultant in Colorado Springs helping companies increase revenues.