Managing director of Vincent Consulting
To be successful when we sell products and services we must learn how to handle sales objections.
Objections are unavoidable and are an important part of the process.
While few people enjoy receiving negative feedback from a client in reaction to their recommendations, capabilities or benefits, it is a natural reaction whenever two or more people communicate.
In fact, many professional consultants and salespeople feel it is a good sign when clients are open enough to verbalise their true reactions (positive or negative).
After all, only when you know their reactions can you determine what to do next. Nothing is more disastrous to your selling efforts than letting objections go unresolved!
In reality, most client concerns or objections arise because the client has considered your recommendations or services and has returned to a previous stage in the decision process, as they have additional needs or concerns or need more information to make an informed decision.
Not all negative feedback is resolvable — for instance, if a client has a need you cannot address — but for the most part, it can be dealt with effectively by using a combination of listening skills, sales process skills, communication skills, and plain common sense.
Here is a proven process for handling negative feedback (client objections or concerns):
- Acknowledge the negative feedback. Saying “I can understand why you might be concerned with [x],” helps you ‘get in step’ with the client’s reactions or feelings.
- Clarify the meaning, if necessary, before you respond. This allows you to fully understand and address the right issue.
- Address the issue.
- Verify the client is satisfied with your response; if he/she is not, return to step one.
- Guide the client to the next logical step in the decision process.
The best way to handle negative or neutral reactions from a client is to anticipate it before the client contact, and pre-empt it by building it into your conversation or proposal.
Of course, not all concerns can be anticipated.