Answering Objections 103

Last Updated Mar 23, 2007 9:08 AM EDT

I want to finish the segment on objections before moving on.  I realize that this is pretty basic stuff, but if you don't master the simple stuff, the more advanced stuff won't work anyway.

There are three objection-handling techniques that should be in the mental tool kit of every sales pro. Here they are:

TECHNIQUE #3: THE PRESTO-CHANGO. When the... objection surfaces, magically transform it into a benefit. You do this by agreeing with the objection and then relating it directly to a specific benefit, like so:

Prospect: “The service fee is too high for this equipment.”
Sales Pro: “Yes, our fees are higher than the competition, which is probably why we consistently win the Acme award for best service.”

TECHNQUE #4: THE INSTANT REFRAME. This time-honored technique works well for the ubiquitous “it costs too much” objection. In your response, change the cost metric so that the amount seems trivial.

Prospect: “I want a $500 discount on this car.”
Sales pro: “I hear you. Let’s see… you’ll have this car for, let’s say, five years. That $500 comes out to about a twenty-five cents a day. So, if I understand correctly, you can afford this car if you pass on buying a cup of coffee every week, right?”

This works best in cases where you sense that the prospect really does want to buy but needs some sort of price concession in order to feel better about the deal.  Warning: never try this technique on an accountant.  

TECHNIQUE #5: THE DELAYED GRATIFICATION. When all else fails, you can push an objection off the table by promising to answer it in the future:

Prospect: “I heard that you’ve got some dissatisfied customers.”
Sales Pro: “I have our specific customer satisfaction ratings back at the office. Would you like a copy?
Prospect: “Yes.”
Sales Pro: “Consider it done. Were you aware that our products are the only ones endorsed by Ultra-Gadget magazine?”

With any luck, the prospect will consider the objection “answered” and will buy without actually seeing the information. The trick here is to keep the sales conversation going rather than letting the objection block the sale.  (Needless to say, you must fulfill your commitment, even if the prospect has already purchased the product.)

By the way, the three techniques above are based partly on personal experience (I use #3 so frequently, it's almost automatic) and partly upon a conversation with sales guru Tom Hopkins.