Objections are a fact of life for sales professionals throughout the year, and handling them skillfully is part of every proficient merchant level salesperson's repertoire. Indeed, Jeff Fortney wrote in "Street SmartsSM: The secrets to overcoming objections," The Green Sheet, Aug. 13, 2012, "All training courses recognize that how you handle objections may make the difference between success and failure."
What if you could command meetings in such a way that merchants don't even voice common objections that can sidetrack presentations?
In Good Selling!:SM:The Basics, Paul H. Green wrote, "However you feel about objections, you must know that it's better to avoid them than to overcome them later." That's right: one surefire way to deal with objections is to avoid them entirely. To do this, Green noted, professional salespeople plan their presentations to include the answers and proofs that will decrease a typical prospect's resistance.
Green offered ideas on how to gather and present this information. "Record your most typical objections," he wrote. "Don't trust your memory. Keep a written list of the objections you have dealt with before, and ask your service provider for help with the problem questions." He also advised to consult experienced peers, because they are "excellent sources for this kind of information."
Once you identify common objections found in the merchant vertical you are targeting, it's time to work those concerns and answers to them into your presentation. Green offered these examples: "If you've discovered that your prospects frequently ask about the size of the negative file that will be used for approval, you might say, 'Wouldn't you agree that more sales are more valuable than more declines?' Or if the price of your bankcard service is often cited as above the market, you might say, 'Would you agree that good support and 24-hour equipment replacement has more value than pennies saved in monthly fees?'"
Of course, not all objections can be addressed preemptively. To handle objections not easily eliminated, Green advised being ready with "testimonials and specific cases that support your service and prove to your prospect that a possible objection is not valid. For example, 'Mr. Anderson of Anderson Auto Supplies thought that the price was the most important thing to him, but once he used our service, he found that more approvals created more income. In addition, he found that although overall he paid more than with his previous service provider, it was well worth the gain in profits.'"
There will be times when issues you did not anticipate will arise, as well. In these cases, Fortney suggested using the LREA method, which includes the following steps:
You can't anticipate and eliminate every potential objection, but you can close more sales faster and easier if you plan for objections and watch for the opportunity to close, Green advised. Let's take this advice to heart as another brand-new, beautiful year rolls in.
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