For some reason, over the past 60 days, the word “objection” has been the prime topic of my email buzz and my customer’s requests.
Most objections are either bogus, or they’re stalls, or lies, or they carry with them a hidden meaning where the customer is crying out for help but doesn’t really want to state it in those terms.
The biggest and age-old objection is “price.” How many times have you heard, “Your price is too high,” or “I can get it cheaper someplace else,” or — the best one — “Match this price”?
When a customer objects for whatever reason, they’re actually telling you that they want to buy. They may not want to buy from you, but they want to buy.
And if they’re going to buy from you, additional answers need to be provided, answers that will provide reassurance, answers that will provide peace of mind and answers that will allow your prospect to move forward and give you some of their money.
Over the years I’ve defined objections as barriers, because there is normally something hidden way beneath the surface. And in order for the sale to take place, the barrier must be lowered, sometimes even eliminated.
I’ve also defined the biggest objection besides price to be the unspoken risk that the customer perceives but won’t talk about.
Let me give you a couple of examples. When the customer says price is too high, what they’re really saying is, “My perceived value in doing business with you is not high enough to meet your price.”
Salespeople and sales managers try to address the price issue with a tactic or some kind of sales talk. It doesn’t work (not, it never works, but it almost never works). And even if the salesperson is persuasive, and manipulates his or her way to the sale, the buyer will often have remorse and want to cancel the transaction.
Here’s my recommendation: Rather than trying to give you some slick sales talk, I suggest you re-engage the customer with dialog that uncovers real reasons and eventually gets down to their buying motive.
If I uncover the buyer’s motive, I will make a sale regardless of price. If I engage the prospective customer in a value-based and value-driven discussion, I might be able to get them to see my perspective.
Caution: I’m not talking about value add or added value. I’m talking about the value that is perceived by the customer in order to move forward, value that will differentiate and set you apart from your competition.
Note well: If the customer perceives no real difference between you and your competition, and no real value between what you offer and what they offer, than the only thing that’s left is price. Therefore, when price is an objection, you merely have to look at your ability to differentiate and your ability to create value in the mind of the customer.
But let me return to the central issue. Objections occur in sales presentations. So if you want to eliminate all sales objections, eliminate the sales pitch.
Concentrate on gaining and building rapport. Concentrate on meaningful dialog where the customer feels they benefit. Concentrate on preventing common objections that occur by putting them into your conversation. And concentrate on your ability to engage and connect with the customer emotionally.
Sales are made emotionally and justified logically.
I’ve just given you a difficult sales lesson because it flies in the face of everything you’ve been using for the past decade, maybe more. But I promise you it’s the best way of creating relationship — not just gaining an order — of gaining an engaged customer who likes you and respects you, a customer who will likely purchase again and again.
Here’s my challenge to you: Call your top 10 customers and invite them, either individually or as a group, to a breakfast or a lunch where you talk to them about building relationships.
Ask them what they consider important and ask them how much of a role value plays in their decision making versus price. Then ask them why they buy from you.
Those 10 customers combined with the strategies that I’ve given you above will not alleviate all of your objections, but they will alleviate most of them.
Some customers will always just buy lowest price. I recommend you give those customers to your competitor, in order that they may make no profit.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.