Tennessean Column- Saturday, November 29th
Objections are a Buying Sign
One summer when I was selling books door to door I called on Mrs. Craighead of Farmville, Virginia. She was an elderly woman and her family was grown. I showed her a family Bible and she loved it. When I told her the price I thought she was going to throw me out of her house. Then I learned a very important lesson. Objections are a buying sign. One no doesn’t equal a no sale.
Mrs. Craighead shook her head and said, “That Bible is high. It’s just too expensive for an elderly woman like me.” She paused, I said nothing and she finished her thought, “But I always wanted a nice family Bible.” I got her check and she got her “nice family bible”.
That day I learned that most sincere objections are a buying sign. I underline and emphasize the word sincere. She was sincere. She was saying, “I really want this if you can solve my buying problem.” In professional sales I see salespeople believe when they hear an objection it means a no sale.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Americans have a buying ritual. Most people do not buy anything the first time you ask them. Go to the grocery store and camp out by the peanut butter. The shopper will pick up JIFF, put it down, pick up Skippy, put it down and then pick up another brand.
After the customer picks up two or three jars of peanut butter they will go back to the original jar of JIFF and put it in their basket. They have a “buying ritual”. Most people object before they buy. Psychologically we express our fears of a change in behavior before we will change. We do it every day, several times a day. As a sales person embraces this understanding they grow in their ability to deal with sincere objections.
Here are two tips to help you decide if an objection is sincere.
- First, after you hear the objection but before you answer it, isolate it. Try something like this, “I can certainly understand how you feel. Many of my customers said that before they decide to move forward. Is there anything else besides (the objection) that bothers you about our product or service?”
This simple question lets you know if the objection is sincere or a screen for something else. Remember, there is always a trust issue between a salesperson and a prospect. It is always easier to try and get rid of a salesperson than to engage in a sincere discussion of the product or service. Therefore isolating the objection helps you get to what you want- the sincere reason the prospect fears buying your product or service.
- Another tip to find out if the objection is real is to ask something like this, “I can certainly understand that. A lot of our customers said that before they moved forward. Do you see any benefit in our product or service if it were not for that (the objection)?”
This question lets you know if you have found or created a need and if the objection is sincere. If the prospect sees no benefit then they just did not want to hurt your feelings by telling you so. If they answer that question with, “Yes, I see benefits,” then most likely if you solve the objection you will make the sale.
Selling can be so much fun if you take the approach that you are providing a needed or wanted service, and then helping the prospect overcome their fears to gain a benefit they did not have before you arrived. Remember, we all learn from experience. A man never wakes up his baby a second time just to see it smile.