In these tough economic times, closing a sale can be critical to your career and even your survival on the job. There’s no time for “also-rans” in this economy. But potential clients are becoming harder to sell. “We don’t need it right now,” “Your prices are too high,” “We’re going with a smaller company”—today’s objections are piling up faster than the national debt. So how do you overcome these and other objections? How do you close the sale? It can be done. Just apply the new rules of closing.
Sales trainer and recruiter Michael' Bernoff is a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). For those unfamiliar with NLP, the technique allows for communicating more effectively with your customer—essentially how to “push a customer’s buttons” to lower objections and gain trust.
In his sales video, Overcome Objections, Bernoff uses a classic client objection and how to overcome it. He notes that when a client says that your product or service is too expensive, they’re often objecting to more than just the price. In confronting this objection, Bernoff suggests you “neutralize” it by simply saying, “okay.” This will catch the prospect off guard and avoid the often argumentative posture many salespeople assume in defending their product.
You’re now in a position to ask the client about any other or “real” reasons why they’re not ready to purchase. Once these other obstacles are uncovered, Bernoff suggests a novel technique that really throws the client off guard—admitting that you failed. By disarming the client once again, you leave them susceptible to the real sales pitch—adding value. Here, you confront their other objections one by one, saying you failed to properly explain the added value of your product—the benefits you offer that make it worth the extra price. In Bernoff’s words, “People will buy what they value, what they see value in and what they desire to own.” Now, you’re ready to close, by re-asking for the order based on the real objection, one that goes beyond price.
John Boe, nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker notes that a prospect's objections will fall into four major categories; no money, no perceived need, no hurry, or no trust. He confirms what today’s best sales pros already know: objections are a good sign, and if a prospect is not interested in your product or service, he wouldn't be asking questions. In other words, an objection is nothing more than a request for more information. Here's his four-step process for meeting objections:
Hear them out and write it down. Here, Boe advises that listening is crucial and that you observe body language and listen for voice inflections. (Research indicates that 65% of our communication is nonverbal.)
Feed it back for clarification. Boe suggests that you carefully narrow down the objections to avoid being sidetracked by insignificant objections clients often use to stall the sale.
Answer the objection. At this point, visual aids can help answer specific concerns, but Boe advises to “stay big picture.”
Ask for the order and expect a decision. In this step, Boe recommends allowing clients to consult with each other in private (while you get a cup of coffee). He notes that you may have to ask for the order a number of times—something most experienced sales professionals know.
Closing a sale in these tough times can pose a number of challenges. But you can succeed if you follow these innovative and time-tested strategies.