Build rapport and overcome objections
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OPINION: Objections are part of the sales game, so you need to give your customers good reason to buy from you.
For some reason the word ‘objection’ has been the prime topic of my email buzz and my customers’ requests in recent months.
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 main 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. But if they are going to buy from you, you’ll need to provide additional answers – 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 that their 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 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.
Rather than trying to give you some slick sales talk, I suggest you re-engage the customer with dialogue 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.
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.
If the customer perceives no real difference between you and your competition, and no real value between what you offer and what they offer, then the only thing 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 dialogue 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.
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 how much of a role value plays in their decision making (as opposed to price). Then ask them why they buy from you.
Those 10 customers, combined with the strategies that I’ve given you, 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 an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.
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