If you’re in sales, you’re surely often asking yourself “how to win over a client?” This question is as old as trade itself and many people believe it summarizes the gist. No matter what your experience and the number of signed contracts are, it is good to remember a few classic tactics for handling objections.
A model situation you’re surely familiar with: a client makes objections or directly rejects your offer despite having built good rapport and a good atmosphere during your sales conversation. What do you do?
Always hear the speaker out
When we sense trouble, most of us give in to the temptation of responding immediately and providing counterarguments to the other party. Experienced negotiators say that this is not the way. A precocious response can be a source of additional objections, as it will confirm the speaker’s belief that their doubts are justified. Rush can also provide the other party with additional counterarguments. Collect yourself and focus on what the speaker is telling you. Take notes in order to understand and refer to facts instead of feelings and opinions later in the conversation.
Accept dissent and express understanding
We all succumb to emotions and our decisions are affected by them. It’s important not to get carried away. That is why the next stage is taking the client’s concerns and doubts and accepting them. It is really important to express this acceptance clearly and tactfully. The other party usually appreciates the fact and the atmosphere of the conversation oftentimes improves right away.
– We subconsciously make between 80 and 99% of our decisions (it varies depending on the survey). Whereas 95% of our thoughts, emotions and cognitive processes take place beyond our consciousness. Therefore we should direct advertisements to the emotional part of the human being, not to the rational one. Inciting a certain emotion (joy or awe) will work better than providing statistics and figures, says Ania Ledwoń-Blacha, creative owner at More Bananas.
Ask for sources of objections
The client’s doubts very often translate into excuses. Curb your emotions, try to understand them and get to know their true reasons. In case of any doubts, paraphrase to be sure you understand the essence of an issue correctly. The key is to ask specifying questions and leave some space for… silence. The latter requires some experience and effort, but very often after a moment of silence the most crucial words are spoken, which indicates the true source of the problem.
Identify the key problem
The biggest challenge for you at this stage of the conversation will be to determine, which of the obstacles is the most important. It often happens that once this is out of the way, the remaining objections lose their significance or clearly fade. At this stage discerning marketeers do their best to deal with as many as possible, as they know there is no better way to show the client we are on their side. This is a big step toward success.
A frequent mistake at this stage of the conversation is going for closure of the negotiations. The fact that your client is making a step backward does not mean it is time to close the deal. A good tactic is to analyze discrepancies together, using the notes previously taken and asking specifying questions. They should have an open form, allowing to elaborate on a particular statement beyond mere confirmation or negation. The more details the client will give you, the more effectively you will win them over later on.
Social validity evidence and hard data
Rational arguments and language of benefits have not been successful? How about using a case study of a client, who formulated similar objections and yet has decided to give your solutions a try? Using the ‘thousands of clients cannot be wrong’ argument is a key to success in many businesses, segments and specializations.
However, bear in mind that “social proof” is not going to work with every client. If the speaker is still implacable, provide specific figures to support your arguments. Obviously you must be familiar with them and analyze them thoroughly beforehand not to open your credibility and that of your figures to any challenges.
Leave some time for reflection
It rarely happens that the transaction is closed after the first meeting. If a client requests some time for consideration, let them have it without hesitation. Creating time pressure and the impression of limited accessibility usually do not work well. Nobody likes to be forced after all. It’s vital to set the exact deadline when the decision must be made and assure the client you can answer all their questions in the meantime.
The aforementioned tactics are effective under the condition that you will come up with the answers before the questions are actually asked. In order to control your emotions, you must rehearse what you would say just the way actors do. After all, real sales start when a client says ‘no’.
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