Common Sales Myths: Objections
By Doug Davidoff
“Objections are good.” “An objection is a buying sign.” “A buyer wouldn’t object if the buyer weren’t interesting in buying.” “The better you get at overcoming objections, the more sales you will make.” “Objections make it easier to close.” How many of us were trained in the “art” of selling with these concepts? For years, they have been the foundation of traditional selling. While business, technology and consumers themselves have been steadily evolving and maturing, the practice of selling has been stagnant. Try spending a morning at a sales seminar, or scan the Sales & Marketing books on your local bookstore’s shelves. What you’ll find is a sales process stuck in the past. And central to its outdated ideology is the myth of objections.
Objections are bad. Period. An objection reveals a flaw in the sales process. The pervasive myth that objections are good is the focus of this issue of the newly named INTELLIGENT GROWTH E-zine. It is the second in our series of articles aimed at uncovering the sales myths that undermine the success of so many sales organizations.
WHY OBJECTIONS ARE BAD
Objections are bad because they violate the core principle of a value-added sales model: creating value. Objections are bad because they reduce the trust a prospect/client perceives in the salesperson. Trust is the critical variable in successful, systematic sales. Imagine Sales Consulting defines trust as the combination of perceived competence and the feeling that the salesperson understands the client better than the client understands himself. Stephen Covey calls this “psychological air”- that feeling that the person I am talking with understands me so well that I am willing to open myself to his influence and persuasion. When a client feels the need to object, it diminishes the feelings that lead to trust.
WHAT OBJECTIONS MEAN
Objections indicate a flaw in the sales process, specifically in the communication of information. Perhaps the customer is unaware of information that is important to her because the salesperson failed to provide it, the salesperson was unclear in presenting it, or it was presented at the wrong time in the decision-making process. The customer may be so overloaded by information that she can’t make sense of the salesperson’s value proposition. Any of these problems will lead the buyer further away from purchasing the solution. The worst thing about an objection, though, is that it represents a flaw in the sales process that comes to light in front of a customer.
STOP REACTING TO OBJECTIONS
Salespeople typically respond to objections in such a manner that their response only worsens the situation. Even salespeople who realize that objections are not good, typically don’t understand why and don’t have a system to prevent objections. Some sales people often react to objections by overloading the buyer with information. With the hope that telling the customer everything will reduce his objections, they unwittingly lengthen the decision-making process. Rather than enabling the buyer to reach a decision, the salesperson makes the conclusion more complex and often decreases the probability of a “yes” decision. Other salespeople try to deal with objections by avoiding them by never asking the prospect for the sale. Their feeling is that as long as a direct request isn’t made, there can be no objections. Besides, many sales trainers say, if the salesperson does her job effectively, the prospect will want to buy and won’t need to be asked. Here again, this technique will reduce objections, but it rarely equates to increased sales. There is a better solution: prevention of objections.
PREVENTING OBJECTIONS – THE KEY TO INCREASED SALES
Objections are going to happen, just as flaws can happen in the manufacturing process. The ideal goal of a sales organization and salesperson is to learn from experience and prevent the objections before they happen. By taking an objection-prevention approach to selling, the salesperson is still able to lead the process and to continually add value.
The most effective way to prevent objections in general is through the development of a clearly articulated decision process. The decision process should focus on the key decisions that your clients must make (in the order that those decisions are made) that lead to a successful buy/no-buy decision. You can learn more about The Decision Process™ in Volume I, issues 6 and 7 of our E-zine. If you would like copies of these, you can request them through our website.
Your goal is to provide a value-added sales experience, and you want to quickly differentiate your company from every other sales organization out there. Effectively implementing an objection prevention process will enable you to do just that – while increasing your sales, increasing your margins and shortening your sales cycle time in the process.
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