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Consultative Selling Process: Resolving Objections about the Economy

A Sales Professional who recently completed a Richardson Sales Performance Consultative Selling course wrote in an e-mail…

“Dear Richardson Sales Performance Team: I have been enjoying success in applying the Consultative Selling Process in my work with clients, and I definitely think my skills have improved since I completed the training! I especially learned a lot from the model for resolving objections. But, I am running into one big challenge that I can’t seem to address: my clients are STILL objecting that the economy is down, which is why they can’t move ahead on opportunities. With all the economic indicators pointing to an improving economy, I just don’t know how to resolve this objection. I can’t very well tell them they are wrong about the economy, but what else can I position in response? Please help.”

Applying the Consultative Selling Process to Overcome Objections About the Economy

With the volatility that the financial markets have shown over the past 15 years, it is no wonder that decision-makers across a broad spectrum of industries would continue to show concern about the economy and take a conservative approach to spending. Even as the economy continues to improve, companies still may remain cautious about choosing investments and expenses wisely for fear of another economic downturn. There is good news, however, because the key to addressing this situation is already right in your hands: the Consultative Selling Process.

The writer of this e-mail is already on the right track in wanting to apply the model for resolving objections:

  • Neutrally acknowledge the objection.
  • Ask a question to understand what is driving the objection.
  • Position a response based on the client’s answer to your question.
  • Check to be sure that your response satisfied the client’s concern.

However, as for most objections, this one typically has other, deeper issues at its foundation. By focusing on what to position, the e-mail writer misses the chance to uncover those deeper issues. Yet, there is great benefit to you to uncover these issues because, while you cannot control the economy, you often can work with the client to address the underlying reasons that drive the client to raise this objection. Such reasons might include:

  • The client has budget constraints.
  • The client has competing priorities.
  • The organization has a low-risk tolerance.
  • Revenues and/or profitability are down at the client organization.
  • The organization has instituted cost-saving measures.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution available to you through the Consultative Selling Process, which is the skill of Questioning. By acknowledging the objection and asking the question, May I ask how the economy is affecting your business? you will be able to surface what is really driving your client. That way, there will be no need for you to contradict your client. Instead, you can position a response that is specifically tailored to your client’s unique needs and situation and increase the likelihood that the client will be open to continuing the dialogue. Success is already in your hands!

About the Author

Paula Jayne White is a Senior Design Consultant with Richardson, where she is dedicated to the design, development, and execution of innovative organizational talent management strategies and the programs that realize these strategies. An expert in selling skills with over twenty years of talent development experience, Paula Jayne specializes in sales force and leadership development, and in programs that target, develop, and retain high potential talent in all roles. Paula Jayne has been instrumental to Richardson’s product and market expansion, spearheading, for example, the company’s efforts to introduce Richardson QuickSkills, one of the first eLearning sales curricula available in the market. In addition to her work with Richardson, Paula Jayne has held leadership roles as global Director of Professional Development for the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, the Performance Development Group (PDG), a learning consultancy specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, and Towers Watson. When not at work, Paula Jayne enjoys advising entrepreneurs to develop and execute sales, marketing, and communication strategies to grow their enterprises.

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