It would be terrific if sales calls all proceeded without a hitch, building rapport and momentum until a congenial, lucrative close. However, that is more fantasy than reality. Almost every sales call is peppered with objections. The way a merchant level salesperson handles these can lead to a thriving business; it can also result in an enterprise that is gasping for life.
Jeff Fortney agreed in "The secrets to overcoming objections," The Green Sheet, Aug. 13, 2012, issue 12:08:01. "No matter what your technique or how you sell, the time will come when merchants will raise objections to your pitches," he wrote. "All training courses recognize that how you handle objections may make the difference between success and failure."
How do you view objections? Do you see them as obstacles to overcome or as selling opportunities?
In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green said an objection is better than a no because it provides an opportunity for dialogue. "Another great thing about objections is that the same ones come up over and over," he added. "That means you have ample opportunity to prepare."
Preparation for common objections is integral to the sales process. "Nothing defeats an inexperienced salesperson faster than an unexpected objection," Steli Efti wrote in a Close.io blog post. "Most salespeople invest hours perfecting their pitch without a second thought to what comes afterwards. But even a perfect pitch can be ruined by poor objection handling."
Green offered a solution he named with the initialism ARMS for anticipate, rephrase, make certain and show. Here's how he explained ARMS:
Fortney also offered an initialism used by a number of sales trainers: LREA. It emphasizes the following active listening skills:
This approach can build the kind of trust that fosters long-term business relationships. So next time you encounter an objection, remember this advice from Green: "It doesn't have to be a battlefield out there. Just be prepared."
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