How do you feel about objections? Some experienced merchant level salespeople (MLSs) believe objections are the salesperson's best friend. "Although this may sound a little ridiculous, they point out that until you know what's keeping a prospect from buying, you can't bring up the right benefits and proofs to minimize the resistance and lead the way to the sale," wrote Paul H. Green in Good Selling!SM: The Basics.
Indeed, what will motivate a prospect to buy from you is rarely obvious. "Less experienced sales representatives often think that it is simply a question of price," Green wrote. "The truth of the matter is that price is seldom the stumbling block to closing a sale. Generally, the cause is the prospect's resistance to being forced to make a decision."
Handling objections effectively can be the key to overcoming this resistance. So, how do you go from viewing objections as stumbling blocks to embracing them as your route to riches?
"Merchants may give you many reasons that sound like rejections, but often they are not voicing true objections," Jeff Fortney wrote in "The secrets to overcoming objections," The Green Sheet, Aug. 13, 2012, issue 12:08:01. "The same is true for straightforward no answers.
"A yes is obviously not an objection, unless it's followed by the word "but"; then it's what comes after that one little word that you need to be concerned about. Each sales trainer will provide the following steps for handling objections (dubbed LREA for the first letter of each step):
The steps are the same regardless of the objection; they also apply to the payments world, Fortney added.
The steps are simple, but following them is not always easy. It helps to cultivate qualities that will lead to relaxed, productive discussions rather than uncomfortable confrontations. In "Negotiate to get your way," The Green Sheet, June 22, 2009, issue 09:06:02, Vicki M. Daughdrill pointed out that overcoming objections and closing sales requires sharp negotiating skills. She listed the following qualities shared by top negotiators: a great attitude, open-minded fair approach, excellent communication ability, superior organization and attention to detail, focus and ability to be engaged, and ability to manage stress.
Fortney also noted that objections fall into many categories, and understanding these categories helps MLSs respond effectively. He first discussed reactionary objections, which are responses to questions or statements that trigger a merchant's buttons in a negative way.
"Unlike other objections, a reactionary objection can be avoided, as long as you're conscious about what you say and do," he wrote. "Recognize what upsets merchants and avoid that situation." If you know the common statements that frustrate merchants, he added, you won't have reactionary objections to address. Other common types of objections involve delaying tactics, avoidance and being contrarian. And they can all be addressed by applying LREA flexibly to suit each situation.
It's important to remember that in the course of handling objections and finding your prospect's Achilles' heel, it is never appropriate to make false claims or promise more than you can deliver. You don't need to sign every deal. In the long run, having honest, revealing conversations about objections is what will lead to your success.
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