Handling objections at the close is a common hurdle salespeople must overcome when finalizing a deal.
These delays are usually related to the prospect still needing to get buy-in either from stakeholders and/or decision makers.
Different buyer personas may also pose final objections to confirm they're making the right decision by purchasing your product or service. If the buyer is analytical, they are likely to ask more questions or make “objections”, because they are dotting I’s and crossing T’s. In this case, it's very routine for this type of buyer to ask final questions or confirm details.
The opposite, a bottom-line, risk-taking buyer, will also raise an objection or concern to test your abilities or determine whether they can trust you.
Objections are Opportunities
Fine-tuning your objection handling process can actually improve the quality of the conversation for both parties. That's why as a salesperson, it's important for you to view objections as what they really are: opportunities.
You should keep the following end-goals in mind:
Your prospect should…
- Understand the value of your product or service and how it relates to them.
- Understand how you solve or prevent the problem they face (if applicable).
- Feel comfortable and able to speak freely with you.
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6 Tips for Handling Objections at the Close
Here's a story you might identify with:
We once had a prospect who was about to close a deal with us, but at the last minute, they spoke with a key competitor that happened to have a relationship with their CFO. We thought the deal was over. And so, we didn’t push aggressively to win. In fact, we decided to do one last video conference to save a two-hour trip to their facility. We talked as though we had nothing to lose, which in fact made us less sound less sales-ey. They ended up being very open in discussing their concerns, so we let them take control of the meeting.
We later found out that the competitor had failed miserably in impressing them. We closed the deal, which was quite large, without meeting them in person. At the first meeting after they became a client, the CEO said, “Oh, you guys look the same in person as you did on the TV screen!”
The moral of the story is: it's never too late to close a deal. Here are our top 6 tips for handling objections at the close.
1. Understand the prospect's top priorities
While selling, it's easy to lose yourself in the logistical details of the deal. But, it's important to really identify with your prospective buyer and the priorities that they have.
Open-ended questions uncover how a change in approach, a new product, or a new service might affect the buyer on a personal level.
When handling objections at the close, ask questions like “How would a failure to meet your quota impact your job?” followed by “How would this affect you on a personal level?” may reveal – to both you and your buyer – hidden emotional pains or priorities that can prompt greater interest in your solution.
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2. Don't hear “objections” as “objections”, but as clarifying questions or buying signals
If a prospect throws you multiple objections, take that as a sign of interest and a closing signal. From there, you'll need to help them become more comfortable with the idea of working with you or buying from you.
You can also use our AGREE model for negotiating with the buyer.
3. Determine value/ROI
If you're faced with a “cost-related” objection, note that it doesn't actually have to do with cost, but value.
Instead of comparing yourself dollar-for-dollar with your competitor, acknowledge the prospect’s relationship with their current vendor positively. Then, ask probing questions when handling objections at the close.
For example, “I’m happy to hear that! Could you tell me what you like about working with them?” or “What do you typically discuss in your monthly progress meetings with your provider?” That can lead to, “Oh, you don’t have monthly progress meetings? We make those a priority…” which can lead to, “Here are a few of the topics we cover with our clients…”
Dealing with pricing complaints can seem daunting at first. But, if you know your product's value and ask the right questions, I guarantee you'll be able to overcome those obstacles.
4. Establish Urgency
One of the most common sales objections isn’t a direct objection at all – it’s a delay.
Although you can’t expect to change your prospect’s mind immediately, you can plant seeds by demonstrating your value and pinpointing how your solution is a priority.
Reluctant buyers need a little push, so keep the conversation open, ask more questions, and set-up subsequent meetings to maintain your relationship.
5. Demonstrate Credibility Using Success Stories
If you’re a small fish in a big pond, one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate credibility is by bringing success stories to the table.
Success stories highlight your value and credibility. They should address a problem your prospect has in common with a former client, the solution you provided and the concrete results of your work.
The more specific, the better – “reduced waste by 70%” is stronger than “dramatically reduced waste.”
A great way to gather multiple success stories is with our tool, the Problem/Opportunity Matrix.
6. Set up next steps/champion
Your contact may not be the decision maker, but that doesn’t mean you should think of a conversation with him or her as a waste of your time.
Be respectful, and acknowledge the value of your contact’s input. Develop a personal connection and nudge them to introduce you up to decision makers. And above all, don’t leave the conversation with your contact saying, “I’ll look into it and get back to you.”
Always set up a next-step meeting while you’re still on the phone, ideally to meet someone higher up the food chain.
Treat your contact as your internal champion, and give them any information they might need to feel comfortable recommending you.
Become a Collaborative Conductor
When the seller acts as a Collaborative Conductor, he or she if focused on a win-win.
The Collaborative Conductor facilitates activities that drive progress and shared value. This person also has to be clear of any biases in the process and resolves impediments that erode progress.
This person bypasses the positions held by buyer and seller. For example, the buyer is firm in getting the best price. The buyer doubts the salesperson’s sincerity. They have their guard up. The seller wants to make this month’s quota. She wants to sell for the best price. She wants to know if this is a real buyer or a tire-kicker. She has her guard up. Working from these positions doesn’t promote workability.
Understand that some deals will happen, and some won’t. Regardless, the encounter between buyer and seller can still be a win/win.