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Sales Planning - Breaking Down the Objections in Sales


By Steven J. Schmidt

OK, so far we've talked about how to gain the interest when first arriving at a business or a house, both conventionally and unconventially. We identified some of those ways, such as asking questions, or even holding props to gain a customer's interest. We then discussed the possibility of resistance from the potential customer and that's where we began to delve into the objections. We also identified that the first step of the objection is to agree with the customer.

We then moved into the turn-around part of the objections, which we touched upon briefly. As we mentioned, the turn-around part of the discussion between you and the customer is where you get the customer thinking in terms of buying whatever you are selling, or at least thinking, "Wow this idea sounds like a good one." Once again, there are many approaches to a customer's objections. The purpose of talking about the various objections is so that you are well prepared to turn a tough sale into an easy one. This is the part of the sale where you start to break down that imaginary wall.

Let's go back to the cable industry, but on the residential side of the business. Remember that most sales techniques that we discuss throughout this site can be used for both commercial and residential sales.

The first example we will talk about is asking questions to turn the customer around, along with making recommendations. You've gotten the attention of the customer, who has told you that they are happy with another cable company. You've agreed with the customer by saying, "I understand you're happy with After Dark Cable, but give me two minutes of your time to show you why we are the the better cable company." Look at how you agreed with the customer, by the way. You didn't ask a question. Asking a question to anyone, especially in sales gives the customer a way out. This will be discussed further on the Sales Training: Presumptive Close page.

Once the customer grants you two minutes of your time, you want to questions that will allow you to explain the value and benefits of your company. Say, for example, you go back to when you first gained their attention and they told you they like action movies. You can then pull that card out of your sleeve and ask, "Say, didn't you tell me that you like to watch action movies?" This is important that when you ask this question that your head is nodding yes because body language is extremely important in making the sale. This will be discussed futher in the Using Body Language to Make a Sale page.

So anyway, they will answer, "Yeah, I like action movies." You will then respond, "Well, are you aware of our On-Demand library that you lets you watch up to 2,000 hours of free movies per month?" The customer will probably ask, "No, what's On-Demand?" or "Yes, my friend talks about it all the time."

At this point you are strictly building the value of your service. You haven't compared anything at all yet; you're simply educating the customer, which is one the main keys to making a sale, especially in the objection stages. You have to realize that not everyone knows what you're talking about. You're an employee of the company, so of course it's your job to know the products, services and all of its functions. If the customer knows more than you do, you either need to find a new career or concentrate on learning everything you can about the services you're selling.

Once you question the customer about On-Demand, you then ask, "I was just wondering, does your cable company provide you with that type of service?" The customer will say no, and you will have compared a little of your company against the competitor, with the customer beginning to question themselves, "Why don't I have that service?"

Now, it's very possible a customer may tell you they go to Blockbuster or subscribe to Netflix. You may get that a lot, and that's a beautiful thing. Why? You than smoothly transition, "Blockbuster is great, but I haven't been to a Blockbuster in a few years because I dont have to spend any money on the FREE movies that come with my cable package."

Up to this point, you haven't talked any money to the customer, and basically built up your company's value. You then give a little recap so that you keep everything fresh and explain the value, "Wouldn't it be great to not have to run to Blockbuster or spend the overbearing costs at the movies when you could watch movies for free and have it at your finger tips?"

This approach is asking rhetorical questions while pointing out what your company has, but also making them aware that the company they have doesn't carry the benfits you are offering. This will require you to have knowledge with all of the other major players in your industry, of course, but I cannot stress that enough! You MUST know your compnay of course, but you also MUST know your competetion.

If a customer tells you that they are paying a certain amount of money with a company, and you know for a fact that it's an impossible rate in the marketplace, then you can politely ask to see a copy of their bill. Once the customer gets a copy of the bill and you point out they are paying more than they thought, well, they might at that point ask you in for a cup of coffee or even dinner. I don't know if I would have dinner there because that might be against company policy. But more importantly, it would depend on what they were having for dinner.

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Say you're an insurance agent and you are going business to business, trying to get companies and their employees to purchase your premium package for insurance. You may go to a company to ask for their business, and you may get a reply, "We are not interested in your company at all." You can thek ask, "If you don't mind me asking, why?"

Customers are often hesitant to go with a certain company because they may have been with it before, and were treated poorly, or even felt cheated. You should always have some type of sheets that show past experience or activity from that location, especially if they were a client at one time.

At that point of the conversation, you want to ask, "If you don't mind me asking, can you please tell me what the problem was?" This is another approach to the sales game as far as gaining a customer's trust by listening. A lot of times, customers just want someone to listen to their problems so they can vent. First, they may never have actually ever vented to anyone from the company who would listen to thier problems. Second, by doing so it will make them feel as if somone finally cares to listen to their problems. When listening to someone, you want to find out what the problem was and then reassure them that whatever happened in the past will never happen again, and that you're available for contact with any questions, comments or concerns. Give your information out (perhaps a business card).

If the customer says, "The problem is my premiums kept going up for my employees, and no one ever told us. Aside from that, when I would call the insurance agent, they wouldn't answer and I could never get any answers!" You want to make it seem that you are there because of some of these problems. You could reply, "one of the reason why I'm here is because we had some problems in the past with our sales agents and customer service. However that's the main reason why I'm out here today. We are trying to win our customers back, and I want you to give me the opportunity to prove to you that it will be worth your while."

You can even joke with them, "I will give you my business card, work number and social security number." You will both probably laugh, and then you can follow up, "But seriously, tell me what I have to do to win your business back and I'll do it!" You're showing your devotion and commitment to making them a happy customer while restoring value to your company.



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