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Objection handling is one of the things salespeople seem to fear the most. This is because objections are typically viewed as a hindrance to the sales process and can sometimes throw an otherwise confident sales professional into a frenzy.

Do you find that you’re continually thrown off guard by customers’ objections? Or that you never seem to respond in a way that helps move the sale forward after a customer raises an objection? If so, there may be some answers as to why your objection handling is falling short.

1. You don’t actively listen to your customer.

Once your customer states their objection, are you ready to jump right in with a response? Are you formulating what you’re going to say before your customer has even finished talking?

Sometimes a customer may say a “cue” word that sales professionals have come to associate with a particular objection, such as “Our budget is tight at the moment.” When they hear this cue, some salespeople will immediately start formulating the typical response they use when that cue word is stated by a customer.

Instead of turning off your listening ears the second your customer states the cue word, try to focus even harder on what your customer is saying. Listen to them thoroughly to make sure you don’t miss out on any details that follow the cue word.

Acknowledge what your customer is saying and then question what they mean in order to completely understand the situation.

So for example, in the case of budget concerns, you might want to explore if there’s a willingness to go ahead and buy, but the timing isn’t right, or you could explore if there are other ways of packaging your product or services to fit in with the available budget. Cutting your listening short is a mistake that can cost you the sale, and, even worse, your customer’s trust.

2. You immediately get defensive.

Frequently, sales professionals’ first reaction to a customer’s objection is to get defensive. If the first thing you say in response to a customer’s objection is, “What do you mean?” this could be a sign that your defensiveness is interfering with your ability to effectively handle the objection.

Instead of letting defensiveness interfere, try instead to simply acknowledge what your customer said. “I understand how that might be a concern … ” is a much better start to objection handling than is, “What do you mean?”

Effectively acknowledging our customer’s objection demonstrates that you care about what they said instead of signalling that you’re figuratively “ready to fight.”

3. You don’t explore what your customer means by their objection.

After you carefully listen to your customer’s objection, it’s important to explore with them further in order to fully understand the meaning behind their words. For example, let’s assume that your customer tells you they don’t like your service. Maybe you’ve heard the “service” objection many times before, so you respond by guaranteeing they’ll always have a dedicated customer service rep.

But what your customer actually meant by “service” was that they didn’t like how your service area wasn’t as large as your competitor’s. A simple, “Can you tell me what you mean by ‘service’…” follow-up question could have provided some further clarification that would have allowed you to respond to their objection more appropriately.

Don’t treat objections equally. Just because one customer means “customer service” when they say “service” doesn’t mean that your next customer will. Asking questions and further exploring with your customer will help you to treat every objection as a unique objection, even if you think you’ve heard it before.

4. You view objection handling negatively.

Many sales professionals mentally consider objections to be negative. Going into a sales call with the idea that an objection is a “bad” thing can cause you to lose a sale before you even walk through your customer’s door.

Rather than viewing objections as the demise of your sales call, see them instead as a way to help your customer solve their problem. When your customer raises an objection, it presents you with an opportunity to provide further value by clarifying and easing their concern. The process of proper objection handling can even help you build trust and grow your relationship with your customer.

5. You see the sales situation from your own perspective.

When walking into a sales call, some sales professionals are only focused on one thing… doing whatever it takes to close the deal. When this is the only thing on your mind, it’s hard to see the situation from your customer’s perspective.

But selling isn’t only about getting what you want, it’s about helping your customer solve their problem. If your sole focus is on closing the deal, it’s nearly impossible to get down to the root of your customer’s problem. And if your customer happens to raise an objection, you’ll be so blindsided by your desire to win the business that you won’t be able to effectively handle their objection.

If you want to handle your customer’s objection in a way that moves the sale forward and builds trust in the relationship, you need to get out of your own mind and view the situation from your customer’s point of view.
If you’re only considering a particular sales situation from your own perspective, how can you possibly solve your customers’ problems or answer their concerns in a way that helps them? Only once you get out of your own perspective sales can you truly focus on addressing your customer’s concern.

There’s an entire module in our EPIC Selling training programme focussed on handling objections, or if you’d like to discuss how we might be able to help you in handling objections, then arrange a free exploratory discussion.

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