Negotiation: Objection Handling
The most important thing in objection handling is to unveil the real objections that clients have before attempting to solve the problem.
We typically hear phrases such as “It is not the right time” or “It is too expensive” and in most cases the real objections are related to value or something else that the client is not saying.
According to my experience there are five fundamental steps that need to take place for effective objection handling:
- Accept the objection. It is crucial to show the client some understanding of the fact that there might be something worrying them. Without it you will not gain permission to ask more questions that will help you understand WHY the client is not ready to move forward.
- Isolate the objections. Often there is no single objection that is preventing the client from making a purchase. Make sure you ask about other potential issues until you have identified all obstacles standing in your way. For example, you could ask: “Is the price the only issue?” or “if we could do something about X, would we able to move forward with the contract?”
- Once you have discovered and separated all obstacles standing in the way you will need to clarify what these objections mean for the client. It does not matter how obvious their meaning might seem to you, it is important that you and your client are on the same page before taking any further steps. For example, a timing issue might be a “competition issue” if what they actually mean is that they saw better ROI potential with another supplier (and therefore do not want to invest with you now). Similarly, a “budget issue” might actually be a timing issue if the client is interested but cannot pay the sum of your invoice all at once. Make sure you ask questions such as “when you say X, what do you mean by it?” or “when say X, does that mean A, B, C?”. This is a crucial step towards successful objection handling.
- Once that you have clarified all the objections and you are sure that you fully understand what the real issues are, only then you should proceed with providing solutions to those issues. As a rule of thumb, you should not try to overcome any obstacle that it is not 100% clear to you.
- After providing an explanation make sure that you ask for commitment from the client. Do not offer any discounts or make any concessions without making sure that they will make a difference to the sale. If throw discounts without commitment or if you use scarcity techniques without checking whether the client cares about this you lose your urgency and lose credibility.
#sales #business development # negotiation # objection handling # sales techniques