Many sales professionals will tell you that you can learn to guess or anticipate most of the objections you will hear before ever talking with a potential buyer. Objections will differ for various products and services that are being sold. Therefore, as you attempt to determine the type of objections you will be faced with, consider the following five categories of common objections found in the next illustration. Do they look familiar? Remember the five basic buying decisions discussed in the previous chapter–all objections fall under those five decisions.
The Five Categories of Objections.
The first type of objection is the need objection. Some customers will not need the product you are showing. Other buyers may not be convinced that a need exists, so you must make them aware of the benefits of the product or service you are selling. Always take the approach of providing more information when this objection arises. Many buyers will realize that your product can benefit them after receiving additional information that explains the product or service. The most common remark given by the customer concerning the need objection is, “I am just looking.” The ability to turn wants into needs can be a great tool in dealing with this objection.
One of the most common objections that will be raised by your customer is the objection dealing with the product or service. The customer may not like the style, model, color, quality, or some other feature of the product. Product knowledge on behalf of the sales professional is a “must” in overcoming this type of objection. Some customers will be concerned by the workmanship, material, or even the brand name. Whatever the product objection, be sure to answer it with confidence and with honesty. Some examples of this product objection are as follows:
✔”It looks cheap.”
✔”I was looking for a lighter color.”
✔”I don’t like the feel of the material.”
✔”It doesn’t look like it will hold up over time.”
✔”I usually buy another brand name.”
The source objection deals with judging the credibility of the business or sales professional. Encourage the buyer to be interested in the company and the sales professional selling the product. The need to be convinced that your business has the service and that you are the right sales professional exists in the mind of most customers. Some common source objections deal with delivery, warranty, service, credit, and financing. Customers want a business that will be in business years down the road, so establishing credibility is very essential in overcoming this objection.
Some buyers get turned off with the personality of the sales professional. Many sales have been killed because of sales professionals not knowing when to shut up or when to turn the sale over to another sales professional who can get along better with the buyer. One of my favorite sayings dealing with sales professionals is found in the next illustration.
In one day Samson slew a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.
Every day, ten million sales are killed with the same weapon.
Everything should be done to adjust and adapt to the customer. The service and goodwill of a sales professional can help overcome the source objections. Be sure to maintain a good reputation and have a good collection of testimonial letters and referrals.
The price objection is the most common and volatile objection thrown at a sales professional. Some sellers feel that price may be the biggest obstacle they have to overcome in selling. Price is often a frustration for customers, because higher prices have become a daily occurrence in life. Most sales professionals learn how to justify the price by pointing out the quality of the merchandise. Don’t make up excuses for price; be ready to defend it by pointing out the difference between the initial price and the long-term cost of maintenance. If you really know your product and the products of your competitors, it won’t be difficult to point out why the product is priced fairly. Price objections will occur more frequently than any other kind of objection and will usually cover up the buyer’s real reason for being reluctant in buying your product. Some common price objections are as follows:
✔”I can’t afford it.”
✔”I don’t have that kind of money right now.”
✔”I am going to wait for prices to come down.”
✔”Don’t you have anything cheaper, or on sale?”
✔”I was looking for something a little less expensive.”
✔”Your prices are high!”
Some people are honest in admitting that they do not have the money to buy your product, and good sales professionals are able to work out convenient financing or installment payments. Some people will bring up the price objection because they want to bargain or negotiate with the sales professional for a better price.
Because sales professionals will be faced with the price objection often, below are a number of steps to take in overcoming this objection.
■ Identify the real reason for the objection. Ask questions to get to the real reason for the price objection because the way you handle it depends on why the prospect feels as they do. The best question I have used is simply asking, “Would you mind telling me why you feel the price is too high?” By doing this, you transfer the responsibility to explain the price from you to the customer.
■ Be sure the customer is making correct comparisons. If your questioning reveals that the customer is comparing your product with that of a competitive product, make sure the products are really comparable. If they are not comparable, then proceed to point out the benefits your product gives that are well worth the difference in price.
■ Combine price with benefits. Many times the price objection is thrown at you without an opportunity to justify it with benefits. If this happens, acknowledge the objection but then proceed right on with the presentation of features and benefits that make the price seem more reasonable.
■ Minimize the difference. Determine the difference in price between the product you recommend and a lower-priced one. Then, show that the difference is insignificant over the lifetime of the article when compared to the benefits during the same period. It is good to break the price down into smaller elements like months, weeks, or days to dramatize even less significance.
■ Emphasize the service. Quality and value differences are important to point out, but often the sales professional forgets the services he/she provides that can be worth more than the price difference alone to the customer. Goodwill and customer service will bring back customers over and over again. If you have good service, be sure to emphasize it to your customer.
All customers will ask themselves, “When should I buy?” This is a problem that many buyers will not express and is found in the time objection. Because of debating in their mind when to buy, some buyers will give you excuses and stall in making the decision. Other people need more time before making the commitment, and some need to discuss the decision with a spouse or friend. Other customers are just fearful of making a wrong decision, so they take extra time to avoid making a mistake.
The sales professional has to look at the time objection in a positive manner. The seller should use this objection as an opportunity to give more information to the buyer. The sales professional talks about the product’s high quality, features, dependability, warranty, or appearance. He can also discuss the store and mention the company’s reputation. Some sales professionals encourage people to buy because of a shortage in products or a price increase coming in the near future. Some common objections that deal with time are:
✔“I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
✔”I want to think it over.”
✔”I would like to talk it over with my spouse first.”
✔”I think I’ll wait until it goes on sale.”
✔” I never buy the first product that I look at.”