Overcoming objections is a key component of the sales process. Salespeople are trained on how to do this and keep the prospect moving down the line towards the sale. If the customer says “your price is too high” then you say “blah, blah, blah”…you get the picture. This is the dance, the back-and-forth that salespeople engage in with their prospects. While there is no doubt that in order to make a sale you have to remove doubt in the prospect’s mind, there is a different way to look at objections, and a better way of dealing with them.
Customers today are aware that you have been trained on how to overcome objections, they know that your questions are part of a process aimed at getting to a close. This type of process does two things. It puts you in a position where it’s you against the prospect, rather than being on the same side as them, and it makes it more difficult for the prospect to fully trust you. It’s important to understand that behind every stated objection there is an underlying objection, the one based on trust. People don’t completely trust someone that is trying to sell them something. This is based on the stigma associated with sales; which is not unfounded, as there are so many terrible salespeople out there. Even if you’re not one of those salespeople, the fact that you are paid to make a sale effects your ability to objectively evaluate the prospects’ needs. In the world of gym membership or personal training sales, this is even more challenging because the sales process is so short. Most of the time you have one meeting with the prospect, which makes it even more difficult to establish real trust. So while you’re focused on volleying back-and-forth, using your tactics for overcoming objections, asking questions to lead the prospect down the path to a close, you’re neglecting the real issue.
So how does one overcome a lack of trust? It starts with your intentions and your mindset. If you want to overcome the stigma of the pushy/self-interested salesperson you have to start by not being one. What is your mindset when you’re in front of the prospect? What’s at the top of your mind? If your focus is on making the sale, the prospect will usually feel that. Your focus should be on making the prospect’s life better. This may sound contrary to your view of business, but if you’re not making someone’s life better you won’t be in business very long. Your focus in sales should be on helping prospect, on putting yourself on the same side of the table, rather than across from them. When you do that the sales come, and they do so in a more natural way. I’m not suggesting that sales be purely altruistic; you have to make sales to stay in business, pay your bills, etc… The customer, however, is not concerned with those things (nor should they be), they are concerned with their life and how to make it better, easier, happier… Your mindset has to be about that as well, or you will not be able to overcome that primary objection.
Once you have the right mindset you need to develop a process that is in line with it. Can you create better questions? Instead of questions that are intended to lead people to a close create questions that encourage openness. Imagine you’re meeting a new friend and you want to get to know them; what would you ask them? At the same time, don’t try to build rapport too quickly, it seems unnatural. Finding that balance is a real art, but it’s the key to building trust. Another good way to build a good rapport is to be up-front about the process and your intentions. Let the prospect know what the process is up front, don’t be shy about letting them know you hope that they’ll buy at the end of the process, but that you’re going to do your best to be objective and put yourself in their shoes.
The biggest objection to overcome is the one that is never spoken. Do you have the right mindset and process to deal with it?
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