Different ways to handle customer objections

Different ways to handle customer objectionsThere are a number of ways to handle customer objections. The use of each method depends on the circumstances. Therefore it is worth exploring the options available when trying to overcome objections.

You should use this technique if the customer is being outrageous or when they are trying it on. For example, if the customer stated they need a 50% discount, by acting like you think they are joking shows that you think that they are being outrageous, which is a good thing. If you took it seriously, it may appear to them that you think you are charging too much and will encourage them to push hard against the price. The worst that can happen by using this ignore technique is when they are being serious, they will say so and bring you back to the original point. As it may appear rude to simply ignore, you might simply not answer this objection and instead attempt to close.

There are four reasons for using this technique. The first is if you think their objection is vague. For example if the customer states that you are too expensive, before you attempt to answer it you need to gain more information. It may be that your prices may only be a small amount more than a competitor or alternatively it maybe a large amount. The customer might simply think it is more than they think they should be paying or alternatively they might be comparing you to a very similar lower priced solution. Either way you need to ask questions to gain more information such as “can I ask why you think we are expensive?”

Another use for this technique is by questioning to obtain the reason or motivation behind the objection. It is much easier to handle the root cause of the objection. For example, if the client said that they require a quicker delivery than you could offer, you could ask “why do you require such a quick delivery?” to identify whether there is a strong reason or if it is just a wish (true or false objection). Of course it is important not to appear like you are interrogating the customer, therefore the manner in which you ask and the words you use are important. You will then need to apply the correct objection handling technique.

The third reason is when the customer is appearing uncommitted. You should attempt to unearth any potential objections. If they appear uncommitted, the likelihood is that they do not think it will benefit them and / or is worth the price you are charging. Therefore you could ask “what concerns do you have?” or even a positive version such as “can you see a clear return on investment with this solution?”

The fourth reason is to identify the real objection which is covered later in this article in the Suppose Test section.

Minimise Objection and Outweigh with Benefits
This technique involves outweighing the objection whilst acknowledging their point of view. For example you could reply “I can understand that you want delivery quicker than we can offer, however the reason that our delivery is three months is to ensure that it is fully compliant with your systems, which you said was imperative. We have considered a quicker delivery period to be in-line with our competitors however this would have potential risks in terms of non-compliance.”

A key point to note is that to be able to outweigh their objection effectively, it is imperative to fully understand the customer’s requirements beforehand. Hence to be able to handle objections effectively, we must implement the full steps of the sales process.

Highlight the downsides of not proceeding with you
This technique is an extension of the outweigh technique. For example you might add “I can understand that you want a quicker delivery than we can offer, however choosing another solution with a quicker delivery means there is a greater risk of non-compliance, which you stated was imperative as this could mean a loss of thousands in downtime and lost productivity.”

Suggest Alternatives
You may decide to suggest an alternative option or solution that you can offer. You may choose to use this either as the true alternative solution for the customer or as an alternative in principle i.e. to show the customer a less attractive (and low cost) alternative in order to bring them back to the main solution.

Suppose test
This can be used when you think that the objection is false and might not be the real one. It is also a great way to isolate the objection if it is real. For example “suppose we could provide you with a solution that could be delivered by the end of the month, would you go ahead on this basis? You can also state the point in principle such as “suppose we could do something about the price, are you happy with everything else?”

If the answer is “yes” then you know that it is the real objection (and is the only one) and you either have to handle it by using the outweigh technique or by negotiating such as quicker delivery (which you may provide at a higher price). If the answer is “no,” you will have to ascertain the real objection before attempting to close. To obtain the real objection you will need to ask a probing question such as “what else is preventing you from going ahead?” You will then need to revert to one of the other options to overcome the objection.

Objection handling is an essential part of a successful salespersons skill set. You can further develop these skills by attending a sales training course.