By Erick Simpson
This is part four of a five-part series. Click here for part one, here for part two, here for part three, and here for part five.
Overcoming objections is the fifth step of the Seven-Step Sales Process and usually takes place after the presentation of the proposed services, proposal, and cost savings analysis; although the process for overcoming objections should be executed by the sales professional any time an objection is presented. Proper execution of the previous four steps in the sales process should minimize the number of objections the prospect will voice at this stage in the sales process.
Objections are typically a misunderstanding on the part of the prospect caused by a lack of information. In many cases objections are created by the sales professional’s inability to properly communicate the value proposition of their offering to the prospect. When confronted with an objection, untrained sales professionals rely on techniques such as delivering pre-scripted rebuttals or restating the features and benefits of their solutions without taking the time to properly discover what the prospect’s true objection is.
There are four steps for overcoming objections:
- Identify the objection
- Acknowledge the objection
- Qualify the objection
- Clarify the objection
The first step in overcoming an objection is to identify the type of objection you are dealing with. There are three types of objections; minor, major, and conditional. Minor objections can be overcome during the sales visit, as they are typically a misunderstanding of the information that has been presented. For example, when a customer states, “I want to think about it.”, that is usually a minor objection which can be overcome by executing the four-step process mentioned above.
A major objection is one that can be overcome, but typically not during that particular visit. An example of a major objection is when the sales professional attempts to close the sale and the prospect says, “I have to consult with my business partner before I commit.” This is usually a reflection of poor qualifying by the sales professional in step three of the Seven-Step Sales Process; and while this objection can be overcome, it will require an additional visit with both decision makers.
The third and final type of objection is the conditional objection — a requirement for doing business which cannot be overcome. An example of a conditional objection is when the sales professional presents a solution to a medical institution that does not meet their HIPAA compliance requirements.
Once an objection has been identified as a minor objection, the sales professional must quickly acknowledge the objection. This step is critical in overcoming objections and accomplishes two key goals as the sales professional simply repeats the prospect’s objection to them. The first and most important goal that is achieved via this technique is to confirm that the sales professional is listening carefully to the prospect. Next, the sales professional can process the information that was given and allow time to formulate follow up questions to qualify and clarify the objection.
The third step in overcoming objections is to qualify the objection given. This step allows the sales professional to use a series of funneling questions to clearly identify what the misunderstanding or lack of information is.
A common example of a sales professional qualifying an objection is demonstrated clearly in overcoming the “I want to think about it” objection. “I want to think about it” is still very vague. The sales professional must identify exactly what the prospect needs to think about. What part of the offering does the prospect need clarification on before they feel comfortable in moving forward with the proposal?
For example, if the sales professional is proposing a managed IT services offering and is confronted with this objection, they should highlight each and every benefit in their offering to the prospect by asking questions such as, “Is it the automatic updating, patching, and upgrades that do not affect production that you would like to think about? (Wait for response) … “Is it the management of all of your service requests for the solution you would like to think about?” (Wait for response) … “Mr./Ms. prospect, it sounds like these were all things you said you needed? Let’s be candid — is it the Investment amount you would like to think about?”
In most cases, this particular objection is centered on the investment amount of the offering. After going through this exercise with the prospect, the sales professional has cleared up the vague objection and come to a focused point that can now be overcome.
This leads to the fourth and final step in overcoming objections — clarifying the objection, which is conducted by simply revisiting the ROI/Cost Savings Analysis and addressing the miscommunication that occurred during that phase of the sales presentation. After the objection has been clarified, the sales professional will simply ask for permission to move forward and attempt to close the opportunity.
The sales professional should always bear in mind that the root cause of any objection is simply based on a business owners’ innate fear of making a bad decision. This is especially true when it comes to situations dealing with price, as the prospect weighs the value of the solution against other available options.
The three options that all prospects weigh during the decision-making process are:
- Doing nothing
- Attempting to fix the pain themselves
- Going with your competition
Most successful sales professionals tackle these issues with the prospect and help them weigh the pros and cons of each option openly and honestly. When the sales professional helps the prospect through these three alternatives correctly, they build deep credibility in the mind of the prospect and increase sales velocity. For some prospects, not agreeing to the proposed offering or option could be the most expensive decision when compared to the aforementioned alternatives. Sales professionals develop a true trusted advisor relationship with prospects by connecting their specific emotional buying decisions to clearly illustrated logic.
Next Time: Closing The Sale And Sales Follow-Up
About The Author
Co-founder of one of the first Pure Play MSPs in the industry and creator of the MSP Mastered™ Methodology for Managed Services business performance improvement, Erick Simpson is a strategic technology business growth and transformation specialist and one of the most prolific, recognized, and sought-after business improvement and transformation experts, authors, and speakers in the industry. Learn more at www.ericksimpson.com.
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