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How to Handle Objections in Six Easy Steps


Man and car salesman talking
Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Most salespeople think of objections as a bad thing... but they're missing the big picture. If your prospect raises an objection, that's actually a good sign. The fact that they're talking out their concern means that they're giving you a chance to answer it. If someone is completely uninterested in buying your product, they won't bother to object – generally they'll just sit through your presentation in silence (with arms folded) and then send you away. Here's a simple process to help resolve your prospect's objections.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Five to fifteen minutes

Here's How:

  1. Listen to the Objection. Don't jump all over the prospect as soon as he says “But what about-.” Give him a chance to explain exactly what's bothering him. Don't just tune him out, either – listen. You can pick up some really valuable clues from the way a prospect phrases his objection.
  2. Say it Back to the Prospect. When you're absolutely sure the prospect is done talking, look thoughtful for a moment and then repeat back the gist of what he's said. Something like “I see, you're concerned about maintenance costs” is fine. This both shows that you were listening and gives him a chance to clarify. “Well, it's not so much the cost I'm worried about as the downtime.”
  3. Explore the Reasoning. Sometimes the first objections aren't the prospect's real concern. For example, many prospect don't want to admit that they don't have enough money to buy your product, so they'll raise a host of other objections instead. Before you launch into answering an objection, ask a few exploratory questions, like “Is product downtime a particular issue? Have you had trouble with it before?” Draw the prospect out a bit.
  4. Answer the Objection. Once you understand the objection completely, you can answer it. When a customer raises an objection, they're actually expressing fear. Your task at this point is to relieve their fears. If you have specific examples, such as a story from an existing customer or a few statistics, by all means present them – hard facts make your response stronger.
  5. Check Back with the Prospect. Take a moment to confirm that you've answered the prospect's objection fully. Usually this is as simple as saying, “Does that make sense?” or “Have I answered your concern?”
  6. Redirect the Conversation. Bring the prospect back into the flow of the appointment. If you're in the middle of your presentation when the prospect raises his objection, then once you've answered it quickly summarize what you'd been talking about before you move on. If you've finished your pitch, check if the prospect has any other objections, and then start closing the sale.

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