Types Of Customer Objections

Published: 05th July 2010
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Sales training experts recommend that salespeople work by appointment, so the customer has set aside time in their diary for the sales person. The usual sales process should then be followed which means the meeting should be opened well, and probing questions addressed to the prospect. Features and benefits of the product or service need to be presented, supported by superior visual aids, which are pristine in condition. Then the salesperson should ask for the business. This all sounds so very easy.

However, millions of sales people every week appear to follow this process but when they ask for the business, they don't get it. This results in the salesperson's standard of performance suffering because they feel rejected and get demotivated. Subsequent calls become weaker and weaker, as the mindset of "Here we go again" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Life can be very unhappy under these conditions. But why does this type of situation occur? The simple answer is that whenever the salesperson concerned is faced with an objection, they don't know how to handle it. They may ask for the order again, but without any justification, or they may simply cave in and withdraw. So what can be done?

The starting point for handling objections has got to be an understanding of why they occur. This, as sales training experts teach, can be for a number of reasons. Firstly, the customer may not understand the benefits of the proposal; secondly, they may want to buy the product, but feel that they can get a better deal if they make out that it's not quite suitable; or the sales presentation itself may not have been convincing enough - it may not meet the customer's requirements. Even when working with senior salespeople, this last reason occurs the most frequently, but we'll look at each one in turn.

Salespeople - especially those with a technical background - will festoon the customer with the jargon of their industry. An often quoted example comes from the IT sector - words like MIPS, bytes, RAM, or version manager all sound impressive if you're in the know, but only serve to confuse the great unwashed. There is a tale doing the rounds about a new PC user in the North Pole who froze to death when he called the software support help line and was told by the sales person on the other end to open all his windows.

The next reason why objections occur is the prospect trying to secure a better deal. In many ways, this category can be the most difficult to get round. Nowadays, professional buyers are extremely adept at squeezing salespeople for an extra one, two, or three percent.

Lastly, we have the scenario of the salesperson trying to close the deal, when the customer really hasn't been persuaded. The saying used to be that "the sale isn't lost until the customer has said 'No' six times". The tragedy of this attitude was that it implied one of two things; either that it was acceptable to bully the customer into submission, or that the salesperson, and not the prospect, best knew what was good for them or their business. The idea that perhaps, just perhaps, the salesperson was recommending the wrong product or service, never occurred to anybody. Yet nine times out of ten, this is the case.

If you are a new sales person with little real experience in sales you must recognise that even the best sales people have to face the above objections on a daily basis. Whilst I wouldn't be so bold as to say that you can win them all, ensuring you attend a sales training course will help you succeed in sales because it will give you a variety of techniques that will help you handle the objections you get professionally and so close more business.


Richard Stone is a Director for Spearhead Training Limited that runs management and sales training courses that improve business performance.

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