We’ve all heard that expression over and over again from Perry Mason to Matlock haven’t we? But have we stopped to consider that our prospects are the defense attorney when we are trying to sell them something?
At the beginning of my career in insurance I was invited to the home office for specialized sales training. My prework assignment consisted of memorizing twenty answers to objections. I was told repeatedly that objections are buying signals and overcoming them was the key to a successful sales career.
While sales techniques, and prospects, have changed in the intervening decades they still object to things about our proposed offerings and unanswered those objections still result in lost sales. Although I have forgotten those answers I memorized so long ago I have learned through experience that it is important to deal with them.
One of the things I notice in many marginally successful sales people is that they try to avoid the prospect’s objections. I think this is a key reason for their lack of success.
The flip side of avoidance is to look for them. A question like “is there any reason you would not like to do this?” is actually critically important in the sales process because it allows the prospect to verbalize their objections. When that happens you have something you can work with. In fact, when a prospect doesn’t have any objections, as I learned long ago, they aren’t buying. So, rather than focusing on closing technique I suggest that anyone wishing to improve their sales results focus on improving their ability to bring objections to the surface.
For example let’s say that a prospective customer has been with their current agency for twenty years. You know, or should know, they feel a lot of loyalty because of the length of the relationship. Why not ask “May I assume that, as attractive as my proposal is, I’ll bet you’re feeling some real concern over terminating a long term relationship with your current agent?” Of course they are! Now that that’s on the table you can and must deal with it.
When prospects say “I object!” they are doing you’re a favor. When they don’t you must dig for those objections, bring them to the surface and help the prospect walk through them on the way to the sale.