Nobody likes rejection – it can feel deflating. But selling over the phone requires you to be able to handle objections.
Carolyn Blunt explains how it can be done.
Great sales people don’t really sell in the hard, traditional sense. They are just really helpful. They find out, through questioning and listening, what the customer’s needs are and help to meet them. In then matching the customer’s needs to the right product, great sales people create interest through demonstrating the benefits of the product, not just the features.
If this is still off-putting (as many of us don’t like ‘selling’) it may be helpful to remember that not helping a customer to reach a decision about buying a product is doing them a disservice. Many people seem unsure because they are looking for some reassurance – be sure to give it to them!
There may always be reasons outside of your control for a customer deciding not to buy. There is nothing you can do about these; but if there are factors you can gently influence you need to be sure to always do this – it is a sales, and a customer service role. If you have got all the basics right such as voice tone, questioning and rapport but are still receiving objections to closing the sale then these key tips may be helpful to you.
1. You’re too expensive
Ask probing questions. “What is the ball park figure you would expect to pay for such a product/service?” “ Do you have an idea how much our products/services cost?” “Have you had a cheaper price/quote/bid from elsewhere?”
“We may be slightly higher in price than ABC, but you mentioned earlier that a reputable company is important to you. We only work with the quality end of the market and provide a high level of service using only the best, most experienced people.”
2. The decision about whether to go ahead isn’t mine
Find out whose decision it is. Contact them and introduce yourself using a reference to your previous contact.
3. I’ll think about it…
Is this a fob-off or genuine?
“Thank you for agreeing to think about it, I appreciate that. Is there any more information you need that I can provide?” “When would be a good time for me to contact you again?”
4. We used you before, it wasn’t that great
Ask when they used you and what happened. Apologise. Tell them what has changed and how you’d like to help them. If you are allowed to then offer a sweetener if they will try you again (free gift).
5. We already use somebody else
Are they happy? If so, there is little you can do, but at least they know about you now. Will they consider allowing you to do a proposal alongside their current suppliers next time? There is nothing to lose from considering all the options. Never bad mouth your competitors. Ask if you can send some literature for them to keep on file. You never know – they may fall out with their current provider or the current provider may not be able to meet their needs. You need to be in the right place (forefront of their minds!), at the right time!
6. Your company is too small/never heard of you
Find out what they are really saying. “May I ask what are your worries about that?” It may be that they think you are not equipped to handle their needs or they may think that you aren’t reputable. Offer reassurance in a non-defensive way. In this case you could mention names of other clients, testimonials, references, awards, etc. Ask “If you knew we could meet your needs would you be interested in speaking with us further?”
Closing the sale
Closing the sale is a critical step. A decision that is deferred is usually never made. Ask the magic question “how does that sound to you today?” If a customer comes up with objections, remember that this is good – it often means they are seriously considering buying. If they just say “no thanks” or “can you put it in the post” then it is important to politely enquire “I can, but so I can help, may I ask what is stopping you from deciding about this now?”
Once you know the objections you can overcome them or offer alternatives. Good sales practice will state that it is vital not to give up at the first hurdle. However, depending upon your particular customer profile please proceed with care. Handling objections will always be much easier to do if you have established rapport and created interest and desire.
Sometimes the reason for not buying is outside of your control and it is important to know when to desist and not be ‘pushy’. When you work to overcome objections you need to do so in a friendly advisory capacity with a warm even voice tone. A lot of the time people do need reassurance to make buying decisions and this is what they are often crying out for at this stage. If you don’t believe your products or services are a good investment and the right choice, then who will?
Carolyn Blunt is a communication skills expert with Real Results Training.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like our free audio file on Cold Calling. To download this freebie please visit www.real-results.co.uk and see the free Members Area. Carolyn can be reached on 0161 408 2003.