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Why Sales Objections Can be Opportunities

As sales professionals, we are quite familiar with sales objections. We hear them on a daily basis, and sometimes, several times a day. We can hear them at any part of the sales process: when we open, when we discuss our solution or when we close the deal.

The ability to resolve these sales objections is crucial for a number of reasons:

  1. It enables you to maintain and strengthen your client relationships.
  2. It helps you move your sales cycle forward in a non-confrontational way.
  3. It helps ensure that conversations remain positive, focused and consultative.
  4. It gives you confidence to address tough conversations.
  5. When dealing with price objections, it ensures that you don’t discount too early or leave money on the table.

Sales objections are most often thought of as roadblocks in the sales process, carrying negative connotations. In reality, sales objections represent an opportunity — the client is willing to share objections, which gives you the chance to address them and move the sale forward.

It’s important that you don’t make assumptions about the objection and instead ask the client to elaborate. This demonstrates your interest in learning more, while giving you extra time to think. It also confirms that you’re dealing with the right objection, as most times, the objection you first hear can be a smokescreen. I call this the Matryoshka effect, like the Russian nesting dolls: inside one there is another and another hidden away.

Clients feel strongly about their objections, and there is an emotional component attached. So, you must acknowledge and show empathy to defuse any negativity and to avoid becoming defensive or aggressive yourself. If the client says, “I am happy with my current provider (X),” you might start with, “X is a good company.”

Your questions should be open and linked to the objection. You don’t want to fall into the “flight” trap (“How good is their service?”) or into the “fight” trap (“There are always things that a long-term provider can do better.”), trying to fish for areas of weakness. You might ask, “What specifically do you like about your relationship with X provider?”

These are important steps that shouldn’t be bypassed in favour of positioning your solution. As sales professionals, this is our comfort zone, our bread and butter. We love any chance to talk about our solutions. Going there too quickly risks creating other objections. Instead, take the time to relate, question and listen. This will be the most effective use of your time.

Finally, check to ensure that you get the client’s feedback. Silence doesn’t mean agreement. Don’t force a “yes” by asking a closed-ended question. You might ask: “How comfortable do you feel now that we have discussed X?” or, “What are your thoughts?”

If you don’t know how to resolve objections positively, you will likely lose some deals, weaken the relationship, make the sales cycle longer or leave money on the table.

So, remember to acknowledge and get on the client’s side. Ask open-ended questions to gain more insights. Position your solution, idea or recommendation persuasively. Finally, check to make sure you have resolved the objection. You might ask: “How does that sound?”

I pose this same question to you, the reader. How does this approach to resolving sales objections sound to you?

About the Author

Karen Klein is a Senior Training Consultant and Executive Coach with Richardson. She has worked with global clients in the US, South America, Europe and Asia, spanning different industries. Prior to working with Richardson, she was an Account Manager and then District Sales Manager for a telecommunications company, where she was in charge, among other things, of improving the employee job performance. As a consultant, Karen has worked in conjunction with the Puerto Rico State Department, researching and conceiving innovative market strategies and cost-effective measures for improving its economic activities with sister states. She collaborated with Microsoft Mexico to help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s call center; and she analyzed and assessed the effectiveness of General Motor's operations in Hungary, and developed a case study that was distributed to international executives attending business school at Georgetown University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and fluent in French and has lived in Europe and the US.

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