How to Overcome Objections & Stalls

November 11, 2011 at 8:15 am | Posted in Sales Training | 1 Comment
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Let’s face the facts. If you’re involved in sales, objections and stalls are simply a fact of life. While you can’t avoid these inherent frustrations altogether, you definitely have options on how to deal with them. And, it’s truly how you deal with them that will ultimately determine your success as a salesperson.

Objections and stalls can undeniably throw you off of your course and make you want to pack up and head home. However, it’s solely up to you to view them either as permanent stops or detours on the road to making a sale.

What does an objection or stall mean to you? Sure, you can look at it as your cue to find a new prospect, or if you delve a little deeper, you might just discover that the person who you’re trying to sell to is attempting to gain more information, more confidence in what you’re offering, or more selling points. This is often the case when they have to present what you’re offering to other people involved in the decision making process.

In other words, their objection might be their way of asking you to better explain what makes you different and why doing business with you will equate to some sort of improvement in their situation.

By changing your mindset and rethinking objections and stalls as simply opportunities to present more information, you definitely up your chances of winning a job. Here are some basic strategies for handling these situations:

Take a Deep Breathe

Getting thrown off and discouraged by objections is often a knee-jerk reaction by many salespeople. It’s understandable and perfectly natural. We’re all taught as children to take “no” as an answer and to not nag and continue to ask for what we want again and again. Well, salespeople have to learn how to quiet those old tapes playing in their heads. A “no” might be a veiled request for more information, and if you immediately retreat, you will be shutting the door on a potential sale.

Acknowledge Their Hesitancy

You need to demonstrate that you “get” where they’re coming when it comes to an objection. By stating that you understand how they feel, you show that you are listening respectfully, not tuning them out, and can actually empathize with their hesitancy.

How can you articulate your sensitivity? Here are a few statements that will help you keep that sales door open:

1.     Mr. Prospect, I understand how you feel.

2.     I understand what you are saying

3.     We have other clients that have felt the same way.

These three statements will go a long way to making your prospect feel more comfortable and engaged with what you’re trying to say. Remember, the goal is to maintain rapport and not to alienate or cause anxiety.

Restate Your Value Proposition

Once you’ve patiently acknowledged and responded to their objection with a benefits statement, you’ve earned yourself the right to resell. This is the pivotal point and critical moment in dealing with an objection. Don’t stop and trail off after your resell statement. You’ll only confuse your prospect on what they should do next. Instead, take control of the dialog by asking a question. Word your question accordingly so that you get a positive response or at least will know what the answer will be. With this strategy, you should now have the opportunity to resell features and benefits.

So that’s it – a simple roadmap for how to handle and hopefully overcome objections. But what if you’re faced with something not as black and white? You weren’t given an objection, but you’re instead getting the sense that they’re just putting off making any decision at all.

These are the folks that are stalling and handling them effectively will also help you to close more business. When dealing with stalls, the first and most important step is to uncover its real reason. Until you know the reality of the situation behind the stall, you cannot possibly overcome it.

In order to find out the true reason for stalling, you must utilize some effective probing. Here are some questions that you should have ready to roll off of your tongue:

“Can you tell me more about …..?”

“How are you currently handling….?”

“What is your feeling about…..?”

By using open-ended questions like these, you will encourage dialogue and eliminate the shut-down that you may encounter when using closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.

The reality is that there are many valid reasons for prospects to stall. For instance, an accounting firm might stall about making a decision for an office renovation because the decision comes smack in the middle of tax season. Their plate is full, their minds are distracted, and a stall about making a decision is entirely valid.

However, more often stalls beg for clarification. Here are some statements to watch out for:

“I have to think about it.”

“I’m not certain. Let me talk about it with ….”

“Call me in a few weeks/months.”

“Not now/maybe later.”

These “classic stall statements provide you with little or no insight into a prospect’s “real” situation and require you to probe for more insight. Here’s how to respond:

“Can you please clarify what exactly you need to think about?”

“What’s going to be different next week, next month?”

“How about you and I speak with (the decision maker) together?”

Are you thinking that these types of responses might be too aggressive? If you remember that your objective is to uncover the reason for the stall, you will clearly see that these questions are essential for finding out the information you need to do your job effectively.

A prospect’s stall might be based on the fact that they don’t see enough value, or that they’re just not really sold yet. By uncovering their need for more information, you put yourself in a better position to make the sale. Remember – you can’t lose something that you don’t have, and since you haven’t yet won the job, you can’t be at risk by probing for information.

No one likes to deal with objection and stalls, but they are a very real part of the sales dance. Get used to it, get comfortable with it, and by employing these techniques, you’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat and winning more jobs than you ever thought you could!

 

 

 

 

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How To Overcome Objections

October 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh my. This oldie but goodie topic will never go away not as long as there are suspects and prospects that don’t “immediately” acquiesce and buy your product or service.

  • No need
  • All set
  • Have no money
  • Have no budget
  • Happy with whom we are currently using
  • Under contract
  • My brother takes care of that for us
  • No time to deal with that right now

And so on.  If you’re in sales you’ve heard some (or all) of these at one time or another.

So, what’s a sales person to do?

Okay, let me start by stating what not to do.  Just because a prospect has offered a bit of pushback DON’T immediately back down and assume that you should simply offer to send them information and get the hell off the phone, out the door…whatever!

Ouch.

Don’t immediately offer to be a second source or fallback supplier.

Ouch.

And don’t immediately say that you’ll “check in” with them in another few months to see if their needs have changed.

Ouch.

All of these are far too passive and unless you are fortunate enough to sustain your business with simply picking “low hanging fruit” then I suggest you consider some of these tried and true approaches:

The “We’ve Heard That Before” approach

3 simple steps but done exquisitely and you’re golden.

  • John, I can appreciate that you think that way
  • We’ve had other clients say the same thing when we initially started to speak with them
  • What they found out, however, is that we have been able to effectively reduce / enhance / increase their __________ and the results have been wonderful. How are you _________

This approach requires that you understand exactly how your product or service will equate to an improvement in the prospect’s situation and are prepared to restate this improvement in your rebuttal. You end the rebuttal with an open-ended question that allows for the dialogue to continue.

 

The “Maybe You Didn’t Hear Me: Restate / Rephrase Benefits” approach

I hear you. What if we could RESTATE THE CORE BENEFITS PLATFORM SPECIFIC TO THEIR REVEALED NEEDS. Would that be of value to you?

Once again you are going to take this opportunity to restate benefits but make certain to draw a line between the improvements you are offering and the current situation they are in.

 

The “Step Down But Not Away” approach

That’s understandable. We’d welcome the opportunity to show you how / what we do. How about if we work it this way…PROVIDE A DIFFERENT SOLUTION / ALTERNATIVE

No one likes change and inertia is the biggest obstacle that you will encounter. Make it easy for your prospect to buy. Be out front with them and explain you’d like the opportunity to show them what you can do (on a small project or assignment) and that you are not asking for them to change the way that they are currently doing things without doing a small trial run first.

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t simply ignore the propsect’s concerns and objections. They won’t go away and you can’t bully them into submission. You must “earn the right” to win their business and in order to do so you must be respectful and address their issues.

And of course the very best strategy is to make sure that you are probing and addressing the prospect’s concerns at every step of the selling process. Doing a “gut check” and getting a read on what they are thinking / feeling is an effective way to make certain that you are not blind-sided at the end of the sales dialogue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Don’t Know Me By Now

August 8, 2011 at 9:05 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Is this the tune being sung by your prospects and clients? Have you neglected to ask (and continue to ask) the kind of questions that enable you to woo, win and wow them….um, in other words, get and retain their business?

Prospecting are you? Why are you asking if they can meet with you on Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon (pulling out that ages-old “alternative choice” close) rather than taking a few moments for them to reveal their situation / pain, wants and needs? Do you think that you’ll “lose the appointment” if you “waste” too much time on the telephone. In my 24 years of experience this has rarely been the case. Rather, prospects appreciate the consultative approach and provide the kind of input that makes for a qualified and more beneficial in-person meeting.

Always have a slew of questions in your sales toolbox and use them appropriately. Ask insightful questions whether speaking with a new prospect or an existing client (after all, circumstances change and you must be on top of the client’s change/s lest you get left behind).

Here’s a good rule: make sure to learn one new piece of information whenever you are in a prospect or client conversation, in-person or on the phone. For existing clients you may simply say “I want to make sure that I’m entirely up to date on your account so that I may be a better resource for you. Can you tell me ___________ and then ask your question/s.”
It’s a tad easier with prospects but even then many sales reps seem to move right past the information gather / screening and qualifying stage and get right to sell, sell, sell whether they’re selling the appointment or the actual product or service itself.

So take a few minutes to create 10-15 questions that you can use in your sales conversations and be confident that the time you take for this exercise will provide payback.

3 Top Tips to Build Sales NOW

August 4, 2011 at 7:25 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Business has improved a wee bit but certainly not enough for any of us to be cavalier about where our next project is coming from.  Here are three tips to help you build business right now:

1)    Be flexible, creative and make an offer that people WANT. Don’t be rigid and stick to what you’ve always done before. These are different times and old tricks just might not work.  Do you know what your prospects want, what they crave, what they’ll say “yes” to?  You don’t? Then why not do a survey and find out. The best way to increase sales to provide products and services that the market wants.  Even if you’re a superstar salesperson, if they don’t want it, you’ll probably have a difficult time getting them to buy. Why work so hard? Ask the right questions and the market will tell you what they want and need and perhaps even what they will pay for it.

2)    Have you looked at your existing database lately? The fasted ROT (return on time) comes from your existing clients, dormant accounts and even those prospects that never said “yes” but are still in that undecided stage. So take a close look; do it now! Start with the clients that have given you the least amount of business and find out if that is because they truly have no more sales potential or are they giving a portion (perhaps the larger portion) of their business to your competition. (You didn’t really want to leave business on the table, did you?)

3)    How good are you at staying on the grid? If you allow yourself to be “out of sight, out of mind” then you are simply not getting as much out of your prospecting efforts as you should. We are all inundated with marketing messages and if you are “checking in” and “touching base” then you are being banal and not winning the attention and interest of your prospects. Remember the three I’s (information, invitations and introductions). Deploy them and you will be a sales superstar.

Start now; the sooner you take action, the sooner more business will flow into and through your sales funnel.

Any questions, give me a call.

Why Can’t I Close More Business?

July 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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This is a question that is put to me with some regularity: “why can’t I close more business? What am I doing wrong?”

Despite the type of business or size of the company, the issue of “difficulty with closing” is put to me by frustrated sales reps, sales managers (usually stated as “why can’t THEY close more business”) and business owners alike.

It’s simple, right? JUST ask for the order. But no, it’s not as simple as that; in fact, it’s not simple at all. Closing is actually one step in a complex sequence that done correctly will help you to win business.

But remember winning new business is the end result! Before you can get to the end there is an intricate sales dance that must be executed flawlessly. What you do first, and then throughout the interaction or series of interactions, will set you up for the “right” to ask for this business.

Follow these steps and you’ll find yourself in a better position to win increased new business.

• Make certain that you have clearly and succinctly explained your service or product’s core value proposition. What “improvements” will you make in your prospect’s business or personal life?
• Utilize exquisite probing to uncover your prospect’s wants and needs as well as to uncover potential hesitancies that will stand in the way of a successful “close”.
• Have a response for all objections and stalls. These are critical moments in the sales dialogue. If you are unprepared you might just lose the prospect’s interest and attention.
• Don’t proceed too quickly. Engage your prospect and allow time for a dialogue. The faster you move through the interaction, the less time to allow the prospect to visualize just how your offering can benefit them.
• Make certain that when you are ready to “ask” for the business it won’t come as a total shock and surprise. Remember that closing is the last step in the sales interaction. It shouldn’t come out of left field.
• Utilize trial closes to get a read on what your prospect is thinking and if they are in sync with what you are offering.
• Timing is everything. Think about your process and adjust as you move through the sales cycle.

At the end of the day prospects need and want you to attempt to close the business. If you don’t, they are left hanging and are uncertain about what to do and, when uncertain, their only recourse is to respond negatively.

So now take a close look at your prospect database. How many of them remain to be closed? What percentage do you think will turn into business and within what time frame?

Pick up the phone and start to deploy some of these tactics and see if you can improve your closing ratio. Start now!:)

Do You Ever Stumble?

June 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Sales is most definitely a process. Sure you can throw a bunch of names against that proverbial wall and emerge with, well maybe something, but quite probably all of your effort will be for naught.

Yep, sales is a process. You start with some due diligence to identify your best suspects, develop the most effective marketing materials designed to woo and wow those prospects, schedule sales presentations to help seal the deal and then, of course, deploy exquisite follow-up and follow-through (aka touch point management) to make certain you can carry that new prospect all the way to closure.

Throw in some tracking and measurement and you have a peek at a very simplified sales process. (Yes there are lots of additional steps but you get the point, right?:) )

Ignore any of the requisite steps and you run the risk of failure because all of them—that’s all of them—are critically important to your ultimate sales success.

So take a look at what you’re currently doing.

  1. Are you sure that your marketing materials and web site communicate your brand and message?
  1. Have you constructed a well-integrated sales and marketing campaign?  Marketing may crack open doors and create awareness but it must be solidly tied to sales competencies, processes and follow-up.
  1. Have you identified your best prospects?
  1. Are you utilizing well-crafted touch point initiatives?
  1. Have you instituted a CRM program in order to track your prospect and client activities?

Yes? No?

Don’t stumble. Put this into action now.

The Dealth of Tele-Prospecting–Not!

August 19, 2010 at 6:46 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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There have been countless articles written about the death of tele-prospecting. In this era of voicemail and caller ID, the process of initiating the sales process by phone has certainly evolved.

For individuals who never developed true marketing skills and simply relied on the element of surprise to get potential customers to pick up the phone, tele-prospecting is probably dead. However, for those who pay careful attention to list development, script, strategy, and execution, it remains alive and well.
If you’re finding prospecting to be increasingly challenging to accomplish on the phone, you need to evaluate your process. Here’s how you can do it well:

Pay Close Attention to Your Prospect List

Have you identified the best companies for your product or service? If you haven’t done your due diligence, you will inevitably be executing a doomed calling campaign.

Know with Whom to Speak

Finding out the name and title of the decision maker should occur in advance of the call. You MUST know who to speak with or you might inadvertently deliver your message to the wrong person rendering your call useless. Start with a list-building effort to acquire these names before you begin to make a call.

Practice What You’ll Say

Plan your words with infinite care. Be prepared for every question, objection, and stall that may arise. Practice and master what you’ll say before you dial. Your verbiage is critical to success and should be evaluated on an ongoing basis. If you’re not getting the results you desire, modify it based upon the responses you’re receiving.

Quantify Everything

You won’t be able to determine your level of success without tracking the number of dialings, conversations with decision makers, messages you leave, and results of the calls. Without accurate stats, you won’t have the data you need to determine your effectiveness or evaluate your strategy.

Develop a Program and Stick with It

Tele-prospecting is a numbers game that requires ongoing, consistent effort. Make sure to establish a set number of calls that you are going to make each day or week. Ideally, allot yourself at least two hours each time you sit down to make calls. This will help you to build momentum and improve your skills.

Pay Attention to How You Sound

Your voice can literally make or break your tele-prospecting success. Tone and inflection can dramatically affect how your prospects respond. To keep your voice in check, record a sampling of calls and listen carefully. You might be surprised by what you hear, but this will enable you to determine where you can make improvements and refine your delivery.

Overcome Your Reluctance

If you have call reluctance, join the club. Tele-prospecting is not everyone’s favorite task. But, if you take the time to carefully craft your program and practice your calls, you will be prepared and positioned for success. And, if you just can’t bring yourself to making these calls, you can consider outsourcing them to a third party. However, you have to be very careful that the person or firm is on point and delivering your message in the style you want to present. If you’re not sure, monitor their calls or ask for a tape recording so you can be confident of what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.

With the benefits of voicemail and caller ID, prospects simply aren’t going to pick up the phone when they think it’s someone trying to sell them something. While that fact does change how tele-prospecting must be accomplished, it doesn’t negate its efficacy as a key sales strategy. With a well-thought out plan of action and a polished message, it can still remain the most direct and effective path to reaching the decision makers of a company.

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