Objections are a natural part of the selling process. All people tend to resist their point of view being changed. Even though they come into your dealership looking to make a purchase, some still need to be convinced that a new mower, snow thrower, string trimmer or generator is a good decision for them to make. It’s not that they don’t want to make the decision, they just need a little help in moving forward. And, that’s our job as sales people.
If it’s the right thing for them to do, we want to make sure they proceed with the purchase. And, if it’s the wrong thing, we want to help them avoid making a decision that they would come to regret.
As you do your presentation or demonstration, it is important to understand that there will be times that the customer has unanswered questions that might go through their mind or perhaps you mention something in passing that they disagree with but, in either case, they don’t say anything.
If you are observant, you can watch the face of the person you are working with for signs of disagreement. The most obvious is their eyebrow movement. While it may sound strange, when people disagree with something you have said or have done, they tend to lower their eyebrows. On the same token, when they are in agreement, you will notice that they lift their eyebrows. If the eyebrows go down, it’s a good idea to stop what you are doing or saying and ask them what they think about what you have covered up to that point. In most cases, they will let you know what they disagreed with and give you the opportunity to clarify your points to them.
Many sales people feel that an objection means that they have done something wrong or maybe missed something during the qualification part of the sale, but that is seldom the case. Real objections are a natural part of the selling process and should be embraced as an opportunity to get more clarity from the customer rather than something for us to fear. As you think about objections, you will find that they fall into three separate categories.
Skepticism, Indifference & Opposition
When you get an objection, the most important thing to do is relax and understand that an objection is not a way for customers to keep from doing business with you. As a professional, it’s your job to help guide them through the process.
An objection of skepticism is a statement customers make to you that shows disbelief in something you said. If a customer says, “I’m just not convinced that this equipment will do what I need it to do,” they have expressed skepticism.
As a result, you will need to help them through it by giving them names of other people like them that expressed the same concerns, but are now happy they invested in the equipment. Your goal is to have them know they can check and validate that what you are saying is true. Keep in mind that with a skepticism objection, saying more will not improve your situation. You need to bring in an outside source. You may also want to go back to the brochure and point out again any feature they might be concerned about and show them that the product has addressed their issues.
The indifference objection is a little more difficult. As strange as it may seem, some customers may act like they are not really interested in the equipment they are looking at. While this doesn’t happen often, it will happen and when it does, it’s important to deal with it in the proper way.
Keep in mind that your goal is to focus on how their future situation may change and by investing in equipment, they will be ready to deal with whatever comes up.
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Most of the time when customers are indifferent to you and to what you are presenting, they are using a sales tactic on you. For instance, think of the last time you wanted to buy a car, but didn’t want the salesperson to know you were interested. What did you do? Did you act like you didn’t care because you wanted to have some leverage when it came to making the deal? Your goal was to make the salesperson believe that you would walk away if your demands weren’t met. Most of your customers who are indifferent are doing the same thing to you.
When dealing with an indifferent customer, you have to assume an attitude of indifference yourself. I don’t want you to mistreat the customer, but I don’t want you to try to move them toward a sale. Let them know that you are there to answer any questions they might have and if they are interested or would like to try the equipment, you are there to help in any way possible.
The objection of opposition is the most common of all the three types of objections. Opposition happens when the customer is unhappy about some aspect of what you have been presenting. In most cases, it will be the price.
The most frequently heard objections are, “Your price is too high,” or “It costs too much.” When customers make either of those two objections, the first thing you always do is agree with them. The nice thing about a price objection is that the customer has made a decision to purchase a product; they are just trying to justify the investment they are about to make. Your goal is to help walk them through the process.
If a customer said to me, “Bob, your price on that mower is just too high,” I would agree by saying, “Well, today most things are too high, but do you feel like the price is too high or it costs too much? At this point, most customers will say, “What’s the difference?” Then you would say, “Let’s talk about it.” Then, explain that price is what you pay for a mower and the cost is the price divided by how long you will use it. I would than ask the customer a question, “Have you every purchased something that was cheap only to turn around later and regret it because of how poorly it performed or how quickly it wore out?”
Proceed to explain that you have always found that you get what you pay for. The price of a mower may be a little more than most of the other mowers you can look at, but the quality you receive, and the experience you will have with it will far outweigh your investment. I would then laugh with the customer and say, “Well, based upon what you told me, this mower will do everything you wanted and more. Was there anything else I missed you might be concerned about?”
At that point, the customer has to either say “yes” or “no.” If the customer says “yes,” then you need to back up and take time to requalify the person. If the customer says “no,” then that person has just mentally purchased the equipment and is moving into the closing or negotiation phase of the selling process
Next Installment: Closing the Sale
In Part 2, Bob Clements will discuss how to close a sale with a customer who previously had objections.