Dealing With Objections
Since an objection is only an expression of fear, it also serves as a special type of question that customers tend to ask before taking a decision. This is a crucial phase. It could be tense: a customer might show signs of self-defense, a very normal and legitimate behavior. Something must be wrong: it could not be so pleasant and easy otherwise. The expression of this fear is positive as we have discussed but it is not always delivered in a positive, friendly manner. It depends on the customer’s personality and on the situation. Let’s start with the general attitude and the 3-step innovative approach I propose.
Step 1: Truly accept
Show that you recognize the client’s legitimacy in putting forward the objection.
“You are right Lisa to carefully consider the color.”
Also, thank her for engaging in a conversation about her fear, and what makes her hesitate.
“Thank you Lisa for telling me how you feel about the color.”
Show that you understand the importance of the objection for the client.
“I understand, the choice of the color is crucial to your decision.”
Show that you are available for that conversation: it is a very interesting subject.
“Sure, and please let me tell you about the palette of colors offered...”
The right non-verbal behavior would be to continue to smile without any change in your attitude. Because you accept the objection doesn’t mean that you agree with it. It’s an encouragement to the customer to tell you more, and at the same time it’s a recognition that the customer really does want to buy.
Avoid giving the impression that you have met with this kind of objection a thousand times before. Take a few seconds before you deal with the objection: you will show that you have taken time to think and consider your answer before you strike back.
Step 2: Deal smoothly
Lucy: “If this handbag was in red, maybe it would not look as nice as the one
here in fuchsia—it’s the right balance between the color, the shape and all the detailing. And, maybe you will not like it as much as the one you have here? I am just trying to figure out what it would look like, if it was in red.”
Lucy: “Perhaps it’s because you came with the idea of finding a red handbag. Why not forget about that idea for the moment and let the fuchsia color sit with you to see how you feel?”
Lucy: “It seems to me that the most important thing is that you like what have in hand right now because here, you know whether you like it or not...I would forget about the possible red color.”
Given the importance of the subject, I will list hereafter the key techniques for influencing. For now, let’s focus on the principle, on the persuasive approach. And let’s do some math, considering:
O as the customer’s Objection,
P as your Proposal T the Truth
And this creates a paradox at the level of the customer’s mindset:
O is what I think T is.
P is what the sales advisor wants me to believe.
If P is too different from O, it means that P is not T.
In fact, the truth is somehow unknown (.and that’s why I am asking).
The key and most important finding is that the customer only has to resolve the equation of what T is—the truth. And most likely the truth is T = O + P.
The only correct approach is to politely put forward the proposal to counterbalance O and create a truth seeking dynamic. There are various ways in which we can deliver the proposal and we will review extensively the techniques for influencing.
But, remember, the most important aspect is to counterbalance the O.
You don’t need to prove that P = T.
Avoid creating doubts about the fact that:
O = T might not be true, and that P = T might be possible.
Step 3: Close nicely
Back to Lisa:
Lucy: “But you are right to consider which is the best color for your style. I
think red might be good, but with this fuchsia you just look amazing!
By the way, we also have a small wallet in the same color which goes with the handbag.”
Back to Paul Morgan:
Roger: “Of course you are right to be cautious and that’s why we took the
necessary time to discuss the company’s values. I propose that I walk you through all the different charges that might occur during your investment period—we aim to be fully transparent and give you all the necessary information before you make your decision. You don’t need to worry about us. By the way, not all banks are bad and it’s just that some are particularly damaging, I suppose like all industries right?”
After dealing smoothly with objection, it’s time to give the power back to the customer, so as to re-establish the balance. It’s time to compliment, to measure the progress and to lead on to another subject. Customers should not perceive your proposal as right and his objection as wrong. You are simply proposing a different way to approach the purchase, a different perspective.
The different techniques for dealing with objection
- Offer concrete facts to counteract uncertain feelings.
When Peter, as seen previously, was unsure about the brand he was looking at, the sales advisor came forward with hard facts. These facts are solid and concrete: precise numbers, remarks that cannot be challenged, pictures, videos, quotes and so on.
- Tell a true story.
Let’s go back to the situation of Michelle Taylor’s brand objection:
Alice-. “Madame, I also recently heard a nice story which I would like to tell
you. A customer from London really loved her choice but wanted to check additional brands and I even gave her few recommendations for brands she could consider who are at our level. She looked at the list and just told me ‘okay, I am ready to purchase’. She avoided wasting time because the others brands were not inspiring enough for her.”
- Create doubt upon objection.
And let’s see with Peter:
Peter. “Maybe, but your brand is a baby compared to brands that have a
hundred or even two hundred years of history.”
Martial: “I understand and hope you will allow me one remark, Sir. Many
brands have over one century of history and you just don’t even want to look at their products. Would you prefer to have a brand with a history but no true value or quality, or another younger brand which does offer true value and quality?”
Peter. “The best brands, of course, have both heritage and true watchmaking expertise.”
Martial: “You are absolutely right but there are not that many of them as you
know. Our proposal to collectors is to acquire a history of the future! We are very confident about our extraordinary watchmaking expertise. And that expertise can only be spotted by a true collector like you!”
The objective is simply to create doubt. Peter will think: “Maybe I should not buy from only those brands with over a hundred years of history, because it’s true that some are not good. A 100-year existence should not be the only criteria. Watchmaking expertise is more important. So maybe the younger brand is still an option, if I am convinced. ”Note to the publisher - I was unable to modify the italics to straight lettering!!!
- Leave the objection for later.
Martial: “Allow me first to tell you more about this new mechanical movement that our creator has just invented.”
Peter. “We are talking about your brand. You are changing the subject right?”
Martial: “It’s actually the same. I’d like to show you what our brand is about
in concrete terms. I believe that will ease any apprehension.”
Peter. “So, this is something new or an adaptation?”
Martial: “Well, it’s fully innovative as you can see yourself.”
It’s sometimes necessary to postpone the answer with these possible
- - The objection is not so important and the customer accepts your answer
- - The objection is resolved naturally with time (better understanding)
- - The objection is not clear and cannot be answered clearly
- - The objection is particularly unfair and therefore leaving it aside is a sign of tact, if not training
- - The objection has already been answered and it is a better use of time to move on