Updated: Jul 30, 2019
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One of the main questions from sales reps, especially early in their career is how to overcome an objection.
Having closed thousands of deals both transactional and transformative I am certainly no stranger to having to move past objections.
Before explaining my 3 step process, it’s important you understand the why behind the objection you’re being faced with first and foremost. 9 times out of 10, an objection simply means you haven’t created enough value within the transaction. In other words, the customer doesn’t see enough tangible benefit in your proposition over and above the sacrifice they need to make for your service or solution.
It’s important you spend some time thinking through the points above while you’re in the midst of a sales cycle to ensure you’re prioritising a value-led sales process along with one that ensures your customer gets a personal win.
Below I have shared 3 key steps I take to move past any objection and ultimately secure a sale.
In a sales cycle, you will typically be faced with 2 types of objections, 1 which is simply a facade in that the customer either wants a better price or some additional services free of charge. The other which is a legitimate objection based on a lack of compelling value based on your proposition. Irrespective, you need to qualify it to understand the scale and scope of the objection. You can do this by asking them why they have the objection along trying to get a pulse for whether this is truly a barrier to sale or otherwise.
Next, you want to quantify the objection by getting a concrete measure as to what the customer sees as a successful outcome. For example, if the customer is giving you a price objection based around your proposition being too expensive, you want to quantify that with an amount that allows you to measure the gap between your offer and what the customer is seeking. You need to take this same approach irrespective of whether the objective is based around timescales, lack of funding or a lack of internal support.
3. Conditional Sale
Now that you have qualified the magnitude of the objection and quantified what the customer is seeking, you need to secure a conditional sale. This consists of asking the customer if you can achieve ‘x’ will they be happy to proceed on ‘x’ date based on 'x' terms.
When I reference this point, it doesn’t specifically mean you must offer the customer what they have requested. Once you have completed steps 1 & 2 you should have a strong indication as to what it's going to take to win the sale. With that information, you need to make an assessment as to whether you can either match that or at least come close.
Either way, you need buy-in and confirmation from the customer that if you can achieve a certain outcome internally, they will be happy to move forward on agreed conditions and on a set date. I recommend you don't respond to the customer immediately, take your findings away, circle back internally then come back to the customer with your updated offer.
If there is a significant delta between what you can offer and what the customer is seeking, there is a strong likelihood you need to take a step back to better understand your customer's drivers then work towards a value-centric proposition.
Whenever you’re negotiating with a customer - Ensure you have a strong understanding of how they win personally. Different persona’s within an organisation each has their own goals and desires, whether it’s career advancement or wanting to make an early impact. Ensure you understand what they’re personally trying to achieve through engaging with you so you can lean on this during a negotiation phase.
Ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the buying process within the organisation. Ask yourself questions such as, am I speaking to the decision-maker and if not, what’s the decision making criteria/process within the organisation. You ideally want to be engaging in Point 3 above with a decision-maker opposed to an influencer so ensure you’re campaigning at the highest level within the company.
Let me know your thoughts.
Disclaimer: All views expressed on this site/article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.
©2019 by Alex Alleyne