When I ask people how might overcome a price objection (e.g. “It’s too expensive”), they will usually tell me they use a mixture of unique value points, competitive advantages, features and benefits of the product, and so on. When someone objects to price, they draw on financing. When someone objects to quality, they draw on how good the service is.
These approaches are examples of doing things right, but not doing the right things.
Arguments that target our wants and desires have a considerably better chance of being listened to and agreed with than arguments that based on what a salesperson thinks is important.
How can a salesperson possibly know what is really important to me, when I raise an objection to price?
“It’s too expensive”, could mean any of the following:
- “I can’t afford it”
- “I can’t afford it all at once”
- “I can get it cheaper elsewhere”
- “I can’t afford it now”
- “I don’t think it’s worth the price”
- “I don’t trust you.”
- “I’m scared”
Until the salesperson clarifies what I mean by “It’s too expensive”, they’ll have a 1/7 chance of answering the correct objection with whatever they say.
Instead of gambling with communication or shotgunning a multitude of catch-all arguments against me, ask me what’s concerning me. What is it about the price that bothers me? Is it the size of the investment? Being able to afford the payments? An issue of timing? Value? Trust? Fear? What’s really going on?
With this information in hand, the salesperson is then able to decide whether my objection is emotional or rational. When they know that, they need to handle my emotional objections by balancing my obstacle with my desires. They need to handle my rational objections by balancing my obstacle with my priorities and criteria for choice.
Understanding a prospect’s wants and needs must happen well before the prospect raises objections.
If you haven’t sought information about my wants and needs from me before I raise an objection, it is much less likely I’m going to give you that information after I’ve raised an objection. After I’ve raised an objection, I’m on the defensive. I have a position (“It’s too expensive”) and I need to defend this position against your arguments about why my position in invalid.
This creates an adversarial dynamic that does nothing to help us meet our mutual interests: I want the product and you want the sale – we want the same thing.
So what do you do?
Plan for objections in advance by asking questions that show my wants and needs. In our recent experience, only 30% of customers raised an objection to a free appointment to discuss the product further.
You might think that planning for objections in 30% of the cases is unnecessary. You’d be wrong, for several reasons:
handling objections successfully separates you from everyone else who can merely take an order from a customer that already wants what you offer without objections. Handling objections is a competitive advantage, not only for your job, but also for the company.
handling objections successfully can mean the difference with between a business that is profitable and one that loses money. If you ever want to sell a product for a price it is worth, you’ll need to handle objections about money. Otherwise, you can drop your price, thereby rendering fewer objections. Underpricing however, is a predictable route to business failure.
whether you get an objection or not, the very act of asking a prospect for their wants and needs early in the interaction builds trust, and may even cut objections happening later in the conversation. Should they occur, you have the facts to target the discussion, and have built the necessary trust and rapport for the prospect to not get on the defensive, making handling objections considerably easier.
In my next post, I’ll reveal the 5 concepts that are vital in preparing yourself to handle objections from your prospects, well before they arise to unravel your sales efforts, create acrimony between you and your customer, and crumble your confidence in sales situations.