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Objections and Stalls, Who Needs Them?

Aug 29, 2008
"That was a terrific presentation Mark," said his new prospect. "I am very interested and would like to call you next week to discuss this opportunity further." Mark leaves his appointment with his chin held high. He believes that he totally has this deal.

But does he? What could possibly stand between Mark and closing this piece of business?

"I need to think it over."

"Your prices seem a little high."

"We are very busy right now, but will probably do something with you down the road."

"The committee will be meeting in a few weeks to discuss the project."

"We've decided to stay with our current supplier."

How high is Mark's chin now? Selling in the current business climate has never been more challenging. Our prospects seem to do everything in their power to put off making a decision to buy. In addition, a buyer's lack of trust and inability to take risks creates a serious dilemma for many salespeople out there in the trenches. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid these stalls and objections in the future.

1. Building TRUST is a critical element in moving a prospect forward to a sale. Without building trust and a relationship with your prospect, the potential sale is transactional. Transactional sales are the worst kind because they are always based on your lowest price or most aggressive terms. Do you really want to be just another vendor or a strategic partner? Building trust isn't always easy. You must focus on the prospect and find out what commonalities you share. You must also ask questions and listen. People tend to trust people who they feel understand them.

2. Qualify your prospect by asking open-ended questions. Find out about their background, company's history and what problems they are trying to solve. "So tell me, how did you originally get into this industry?"

Once you understand their personal situation, ask questions about their commitment to solving the problems discussed. "What kind of priority is it to fix a problem like this?" Then find out who else is involved in making the decision and what their process is to move forward in making one. "Other than yourself, who else would be involved in making a decision like this?" Lastly, are they willing and able to invest money to fix the problems discussed. "What type of investment were you thinking you would make to fix this problem?"

By qualifying your prospect thoroughly in a conversational manner, you will address or pass over many objections and stalls before investing a lot of time, money and energy on the wrong prospects. Makes sense, doesn't it?

3. Don't present too early in your sales process. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make today is giving up too much product or service information and pricing with their prospects. I am not saying don't share that information, but you should wait until you've accomplished the first two steps mentioned above. After you have built trust and qualified your prospect, feel free to move forward to a presentation. I would like to share with you one thought before presenting though. Only present what they need to feel comfortable to move forward with their decision. By sharing everything you have or do, there is a good chance that it doesn't apply to what the prospect needs or cares about. It's mostly fluff that YOU think is important. Focus on them and you can't lose.

The beautiful thing about using these strategies is that prospects' objections are more limited. By not giving up all of the information at the beginning of the appointment, they have very little to what they can object. Think about this: How can someone object if you haven't said anything? Cliches like "selling is telling and show up and throw up" describe why you are better off asking questions and qualifying, rather than hard selling during an appointment. Now our friend Mark can truly hold his chin up high knowing that the objections and stalls he faced in the past will be minimized. If he has the courage to set up the next steps with his prospect including a time, date and clearly defined outcome, he will truly be ahead of the game.
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