Every business owner is in sales. Your business relies on customers and even if you have a sales staff, the person that cares the most about your businesses success is you. When you pitch your product or service, a conscientious potential client is going to barrage you with objections. Some are real and some are to gauge the kind of person you are. How do you handle the objections? Here are some strategies.
1) Know your product. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, knowing your product or service does not stop at reading the data and knowing about your competitors. It is about truly understanding it and believing that it solves a need in the marketplace. People sense enthusiasm.
2) Keep it short. You only have a few seconds to make them ask for more. It’s that elevator pitch—the 15 to 30 second synopsis of why you are taking up their valuable time that may make or break the sale. What do you want them to know right now? Hint: They are looking for something better than what they have. Why do you have it?
3) On the other hand, don’t hurry. There is a difference between presenting your pitch efficiently and rushing. If you act as if you can’t wait to leave, your prospect will gladly show you the door. Listen. They will let you know when they are finished talking.
4) Establish trust. It is all but impossible to sell something to someone who does not trust you. Dale Carnegie, in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” said that the way to a sale is to have a genuine interest in people—not what you can get out of them but what you can give to them.
5) Supply samples. Objections will often stem from risk. Does the person want to chance failure and embarrassment if your product or service doesn’t work out? You can curb that risk by offering a free sample. If you have a quality product, it will sell itself.
6) Offer a trial period. If you offer a service rather than a product, offer a free month. This allows the customer to keep their current provider relationship intact while trying your service.
7) Bring up the objection first. You likely know the objections so bring them up at the outset. “We don’t claim to be cheapest but once you try us, you’ll find that the value you receive far outweighs the price.”
8) Be a listener. Valuing people starts with listening. Set up an environment where they can speak candidly and then respond to what you hear. This will go further than monopolizing the conversation.
9) Find the source of the objection. It might be concrete. “We don’t have the budget.” Alternatively, it may be in their head. “We’re happy with our current provider.” Each of these requires a different message.
10) Offer the solution as a question. For each objection give them the answer that would solve the objection. “What if I could show you that our service will cut your costs by 5 percent the first year?”
11) Stick to the facts. Salesy words like cutting edge, innovative, game changing, or best in class are not only cheesy, they do nothing to sway a person’s opinion. You can say you are the best if you have data to back it up.
12) Be careful about discounting. There is always someone willing to sell for nothing. They are not making money and they will not be in business long. Don’t get into a price war. It cheapens the value of your product or service. Besides, is a sale where you don’t make any money really a win?
13) Relate to the objection. Keep coming back to empathy. Sometimes making the sale today isn’t as important as understanding the person’s position. If the prospect doesn’t want to commit because they are afraid of losing their job in the near future, offer to give their resume to clients that might be interested. It is not only the right thing to do, it will build the relationship.
14) Don’t stop at the brushoff. “Send me some information” is a classic that you have likely heard before. Use that to set up a meeting. “Could I bring some information by your office and go over it with you?”
15) Don’t take it personally. When they say no, don’t take it personally, even if it sounds personal. They are not objecting to you—they do not know you. They are objecting to your product or service. The more you work to build the relationship despite the frosty response you are getting, the more likely you are to turn them into a customer.
Are you the type of person who thinks that you don’t have the personality for sales? Your skin isn’t thick enough or your personality is introverted? Very few people are natural sales people. It takes practice, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes to gain skill. Don’t sell yourself short. All it takes is a firm belief in your product, a genuine caring for others, and practice to communicate it.
© 2013 Attard Communications, Inc., DBA Business Know-How®. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission.