This subject is very near and dear to my heart. Somewhere around the fifth year into my selling career I discovered the secret, or at least “MY” secret to successfully handling objections. Once I started instituting this secret my closing rate shot up, and silly, stalling, non-issue objections went way down.

I was always a pretty good salesman because I liked to meet new people and understood that everyone likes to talk about themselves and things they owned. But that’s NOT the secret I’m about to spill. To continue, if you ASK the right questions even strangers will open up to you and before long you’re talking just like old friends. And boy do I like to talk, AND listen, so sales came naturally to me. I was fortunate to have discovered this trait early on.

But just randomly talking gets you nowhere, other than “making friends” and I already had plenty of those. When I was in front of a prospect I genuinely wanted to match the perfect product or solution to the individual. It was the SINGLE most important goal at that moment. I wasn’t there to make friends……I was there to make a sale. A good sale. One where we BOTH felt good about.

If you’ve been selling long enough, and it doesn’t take long, you begin to start getting objections and push-back when it came time to “close the deal.” I hated getting objections because it just told me that I’m not doing a good enough job of presenting the product or service.

During one particular stretch of selling, where I kept getting objections, my prospects weren’t purchasing as readily as I wished, I decided to take a short mini-vacation to get my head right. If you’ve been in sales any length of time you understand what “taking a break” can do for your attitude. And attitude is THE most important factor in selling.

A fantastic attitude, and a sincere smile will win over the most hard-nosed individuals or Negative Nelly souls on this planet. It’s almost disarming….smiling and being nice when prodded by a real jerk. Try it. You will make even more sales. Ooops, there I go again, straying from that ‘secret’ I’ve been promising.

Well anyway, during that little mini-vaca I thought hard about ALL the objections I was getting and put them down in a list. And you know what? I was getting the same 5 to 6 objections consistently.

I Just never consciously realized that the same ones were raising their ugly heads so often. Talk about feeling stupid.

Drum roll……here it is, the “secret”.

I learned that WHEN I addressed these certain objections BEFORE they came up it made closing almost magical. Magical in that I was closing more sales. Closing more sales without having to discount my product or service. Closing more sales after ASKING for their business the first or second time.

All I had to do was ‘anticipate’ that these objections, or concerns, were ones that everyone had, and go ahead and bring them up during my pitch. It was so natural, the way I weaved the issues and potential objections into my presentation.

When you have a well-honed presentation, it’s like telling a story, that is led by your prospect, based on the questions you ask and the answers you receive. It’s like serving up a softball pitch from eight feet away. Slowly now….pitch the ball…. the crack of the bat as your prospect knocks the ball out of the park. You see the smile and subtle nod after bringing up the potential issue or objection, that whatever issue was just sitting there in their frontal orb was addressed. Now you can move on to other issues and benefits.

Maybe some of you are thinking this is some form of trickery or manipulation. I assure you it’s not.

We tend to make selling more difficult than it needs to be. By trying to “force feed” a product or service upon your prospect that they don’t need or want is criminal. And just bad business.

IF, and I do mean IF, you have a product or service that will solve the problem, dilemma, needs, wants, or requirements that your prospect is seeking then, by all means, make it easy for them to say YES, ‘let’s move forward”.

So why not structure your presentation, pitch, or story to make the entire sales process fun, easy, and efficient?

WHO has time to listen to a long, drawn-out sales presentation, hearing about each of every FEATURE your product or service can do? ALL your prospect wants are the BENEFITS that can solve THEIR problems and/or needs. Period. Later, after you’ve made the sale, you can dazzle them with ALL the other things it can do. Then that becomes the cherry-on-the-cake for your buyer.

So, the “secret” to handling objections is to NOT let them become objections in the first place.

Let me share an example with you. When I was selling the uber-expensive exterior rolling security shutters the BIG OBJECTION, even if you have lots of money, is cost. So knowing this I mentioned during the presentation several times that the shutters WERE expensive.

I just hated it when it came time to present the price and close the deal, that they were thinking of a much lower price than it actually was. I could justify the price, by hitting the benefits they were seeking, so at closing the price wasn’t as much of a shock.

Occasionally, by mentioning that the shutters were expensive, I could ferret-out those ‘buyers’ who just would not be purchasing because the price was not in line with their perception of what they wanted to spend. If a prospect really tried to pin me down on the cost during the presentation I would ask them something like, “ so, were you thinking that the electric remote controlled shutters were going to be in the $300 to $400 range?” If the answer was YES, then I knew then that my prospect spending $2,000 to $4,000 per shutter wasn’t going to happen.

You can’t and don’t sell everyone you come in contact with. Just a fact of life and a fact of being a salesperson.  But if you’re smart and a master of your trade you’ll certainly sell more than you don’t sell.

But I would also tell a story about how happy previous customers were with their purchase. I would tailor the story to their exact needs or benefit.

And I would mention that we only ask for a very small deposit to get started and typically it took 3 to 5 weeks before installation, giving them ample time to gather the balance which was due at installation.

Also, explained we took American Express as payment, and most successful customers used their AMEX card for points and rebates. They LOVED paying with that credit card. Again, it’s knowing your buyer, and how they pay for your goods or services.

I knew that cost was an objection….so I addressed it early and often.

Turn that negative into a positive. Address any known issues or questions during your presentation. You KNOW what the particular objections your product or service you sell has. So why not address it up front, so you and your prospect can get to what’s really important? Deciding HOW they are going to pay for it.

And that is another subject, and I’ll be covering it in the next blog post.

I hope you’ve learned something and I’ve shown you how to handle objections. BEFORE they become objections.

See ya on the next blog post.