Keys to Isolating Sales Objections
By Mark Anthony
Quite often when a customer objects, whatever he or she says
is actually a white lie. The key to a successful sales call is for
the representative to realize when this is the case and to overcome
that white lie. It is completely necessary to be handling the real
objection so it is possible to move ahead toward making the sale.
When making a sales call, one of the most basic obstacles
that a representative must overcome in order to be successful is
figuring out the customer’s real reason for objecting. Ideally, if
this is done throughout the call, the representative will be
offering solutions to many of the possible objections as he or she
speaks, but very often the customer may say “okay, I understand,”
yet still not have accepted the solution. Although this may be the
case, the customer may not explain this to the representative since
the issue has already been discussed.
Assuming that the building of the sales presentation’s
foundation has gone well for the representative, he or she must
figure out what needs to be asked in order to find out the real
objection so it can be addressed. The process of doing this is
called isolating the objection.
In a recent training program at Ambassador Home Improvement,
Mark Anthony shared the following steps to outline an effective
method that representatives can use in order to deduce the
customer’s real objection, making it possible to move toward closing
Buff the objection:
Appreciate the way that the customer sees the issue. Use phrases
such as “I understand,” “I know how you feel,” or “a lot of our
customers initially thought...”
Ask why or what:
“Why is it that...?” “compared to what?” An average sales
representative answers questions, and will never excel in sales. An
excellent representative asks questions and finds out what the
customer is thinking.
Note that average reps get the answers to these questions and
then respond. Above average reps move to step three before
addressing the prospect’s answer.
Ask the customer “in addition to (objection), is there anything
else?” Most customers will say no.
Note that the star reps still don’t bite on addressing the
objection. Instead, they move to step four. Realize our star
performer has not addressed the customer’s “possible white lie.”
They are probing to make sure the objection presented is the real
“If we can get together on the issue of (objection), will we be able
to move ahead?” Notice that you have not handled the
issue yet, buy have simply learned why and what makes it a concern
to the customer. If the customer answers “yes,” then answer the
question and close the sale. If the customer answers “no” or
“maybe,” then continue to step five.
Since the customer answered “no” or “maybe” in step four, then there
must be another issue. Say “there must be another issue making you
hesitate. What is it?
Stop talking and listen to the customer so you can figure out the
real issue. Realize that you still haven’t handled the issue – this
is hard! Super star reps realize that resisting handling the issues
first presented and probing for other issues is essential to
effectively overcoming the objection.
The real issue:
Now you think you know the real issue, which is different than the
objection (white lie) first expressed to you, that needs to be
addressed. State this to be sure: “The real issue is that
you’re not quite sure about...” At this stage if they say this is
the real issue, then handle it.
The process of isolating the objection is a skill that takes
time and practice to develop. In order to utilize this powerful
tool, a representative must practice the steps and learn from the
mistakes made during each call. A good way to develop the method is
to try to make it a game of seeing how far through the seven steps
you can take each prospect. How often can you take the prospect
through all seven steps? It is better to use the process even if it
is not perfect, rather than not to use it at all. Eventually, a
sales representative who has practiced the steps and learned to use
them effectively, will be able to isolate a customer’s real
objection and move toward closing a sale more quickly.
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