When you ask for the sale, there are times when you will uncover objections that will lead the customer to answer “No” when you ask them to buy. Objections are an opportunity to clarify information and help the customer make the buying decision. Your job is to handle those objections effectively and, if meeting their needs, to ask again for the sale.
"No" Means “Not Enough Information”
Remember that when the customer says "No" to you, it is not a personal rejection but rather an opportunity to understand an objection. What the customer is really saying is that they need different information to make a buying decision. Your job is to uncover the real objection and satisfy the needs of the customer so they can make the purchasing decision.
Uncovering the Obstacle
It takes practice to develop the skill of uncovering the obstacle. Some customers will be honest and tell you their obstacles clearly; others may be evasive or naturally distrustful because of previous sales experiences. Proper use of our Participative process will help you address many (but not all) trust issues. Because there are numerous possibilities for why a customer may not want to purchase, you should first create a list of potential obstacles. Then seek relevant books or other information sources on the topic of sales—this will help your progress. We will discuss some of the more common obstacles and possible interactions below.
Simple “No” Objection
If a customer's response to your asking them to buy is a simple "No," sometimes the best response is a simple “Why?” Many times a customer will tell you the answer, but if not, another possible response is “Could you tell me why, specifically?” Similarly, you could say, “Thank you for your honest response; is there a particular reason?” These types of questions help keep the customer engaged in the sales process.
The customer may feel that the product does not meet their needs. Many times this is the result of a breakdown in the qualifying process: there's been some type of "hiccup" in defining all of the product's specific features and customer's specific needs. It will be necessary to learn about the concern the customer has in relation to the product and then to rethink the product if necessary. This situation can always be avoided when the qualifying process is done correctly.
The customer may have a competitive price from another seller. In this situation, your job is to understand that information and decide if there is a way to either be price-competitive or to justify the reason the customer might want to pay you more for the product. “I understand that price is a concern," you could tell the customer. "Are you comfortable buying this from us at our price?” If the response is "No," you might ask, “Would you consider meeting us halfway?” If the customer does not want to, they will tell you and then you can decide if you want to be price-competitive and meet the price. Always start by asking the customer if they would be willing to pay your price; you will be surprised how many either say "Yes" or suggest that you meet in the middle. It is not always necessary to sell at the lowest price. After all, you are a professional once you have mastered the Participative Selling method and as such, you are worth more to your customer, to your company and to yourself.
"I Have to Think About It”
This is an evasive response; it is not clear as to what the customer actually needs to think about. It may seem obvious, but the easiest response to this objection is “What exactly do you need to think about?” You will need to practice this question so that it sounds smooth, natural and effective. When you ask this question, make sure you sound cooperative, not confrontational. Explain that the extra information the customer gives you can help you help that person to make a decision.
Other Common Objections
There are many other objections and each one has several appropriate responses that will help your customer overcome their fears. Here are just a few, along with some possible responses:
Common Objection #1: “I just started looking.”
(Simple Response) “That’s great. I’m glad we have what you’re looking for. Would you like to take it with you?”
(Policy Response) “Thank you for choosing us, and just so you know, we offer a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee to insure you don’t need to go anywhere else… Would you like to take it with you?"
Common Objection #2: “I need to talk it over with my wife (or husband).”
(Simple Response) “Do you think she (or he) would approve?”
Common Objection #3: “I’m just not sure.”
(Simple Response): “What specifically are you not sure about?”
Common Objection #4: “Is that your best price?”
(Simple Response) “Yes. Would you like to take it with you?”
(Policy Response) “You can be assured to get our best price because we back it up with a 30-day price-protection policy.”
Learning from Objections
Customer objections help us learn about mistakes we may have made in the sales process. Did the objection involve features, price, trust, competition, relationship or something else? Use the feedback from objections to improve your understanding of sales and customers, and you will rapidly become more skillful and successful.
Asking Again for the Sale
Remember that after addressing your customer’s objections, it will be necessary to ask for the sale again. Allow your customers to say “Yes” or “No, I need more information.” This is all part of including your customer in the buying decision, which helps create long-term customer relationships—and increased sales.