Tip of the Day: Don’t play tennis!
This week, I’m obsessed with managing objections. I see so many people, in their haste to close a sale, become breathlessly lost running around a maze of objections, trying to catch and knock down each one before the customer has even finished their sentence. This week, I heard a conversation like this:
Customer: It’s a little outside my budget I wasn’t planning..
Seller: It’s ok we can discount the price!
Customer: But what about delivery dates, did you say..
Seller: NO! Nononono! We have it in stock don’t worry!
Customer: Ok, and do you think you can get the colour to match my…
Seller: Yes we can get any colour you want!
I listened as my client, so eager to sell, backed themselves into a corner and let the customer dictate the terms by which she would do business. As it happens, it wasn’t a situation where a discount was appropriate, and to get the alternative colour would take longer to deliver. After the fact, when this was considered and the promises had to be revoked, the sale was lost.
There’s an easy way to ensure that you’re the one in control of the sales conversation and that’s to avoid getting into a tennis game whereby the objections are batted back and forth between two people. A simple tactic is to just ask a question along the lines of: ‘What would stop you moving forward with our solution right now’, or ‘Can you see any barriers to us doing this piece of business?’. And then: just listen. When you think they’re done talking, ask them: anything else? Ensure that you get a full list of objections first and only then respond, with the appropriate level of give and take. This puts you right back in control. In the example above, a better way to handle it would be to keep asking for every objection and then perhaps make an offer:
‘So, if I can arrange a small discount, and get you the exact colour match you need, while we both agree on a mutually convenient delivery date – you’re happy to proceed right now?’
Do you see? This way, you’ve kept control, addressed each objection and also, by asking ‘anything else?’ you know there are no more surprises coming. The customer is left with very little reason to not do business with you. Another advantage with this approach is that if you do happen to be stuck on a particular point – for example, price – instead of conceding to their specific request, you’re in a better position to offer an alternative – such as a payment plan. Staying calm, listening and having an objection/solution library prepared will really help you close more sales successfully.