Please Phrase it in the Form of an Answer

Where do you get the answers to those tough objections?  Here is the method, along with my favorite story of a tough objection and a winning answer.

This post finishes our introductory series on how to handle tough customer objections. In earlier posts I gave you a sequence for dealing with objections along with the rationale for each step, and a great way to handle objections about pricing.

If you’re a sales manager or trainer conducting a workshop on objections, you’d better be prepared to show the learners the answers.  They’ll nod their heads about the communication skills, but then they always say, “Yes, that’s good, but what’s the actual answer I should give the customer?”

The best approach is to use the SME’s in your company (subject matter experts, sometimes known as “adepts”) to provide you with the best responses.  Make a list of all the common objections salespeople hear.  You should know them by now:  “I’m happy with the product I have…too much trouble to move to your company…your service support is not as good as what I have…have to talk it over with someone else…let me think about it and I’ll get back to you…” are just a few.  Then get the SME’s to tell you how they handle them.

When I do a banking project, I speak with the experienced relationship managers and underwriters to get the best answers, especially for objections that involve lending.  For example, during the recent real estate and mortgage crisis, many bankers heard this: “Why do you want to restructure my loan when I have never missed a payment?”  Try finding a great answer to that one!  I did, with the help of some very savvy underwriters.  Make sure your client gives you access to the adepts before you start your project. (By the way, if you want a good answer to that objection, write me and I’ll send it to you.)

I’ll never forget my early years as a banker.  My client gave my boss and me the old, “I shouldn’t have to guarantee this loan.  My business stands on its own two feet.”  After a kind statement of empathy and questions about the client’s concerns, my boss calmly replied, “You know George, when banks lend money they base their decisions using the five C’s of Credit, and the most important of these is Character.  It was your strong character that drove you to grow this business and make it successful. It was because of your good character that we lent money to you in the first place, and of course it was because of your worthy character that you have always paid us as agreed.  In fact, when it comes right down to it, banks really don’t lend money to businesses.  We lend money to people of strong character, and we want those people to be responsible for paying us back.”

Of course you can see what happened.  The client was so moved by the kind words regarding his character that the issue of the guaranty was forgotten. My boss developed this great answer not by discussing the principles of lending, but on the client’s feelings.  I never forgot this lesson, and I used it many times when I was a lender.

In my next post on “Fable Friday” I’ll return to the promised discussion on the power of benefit statements, and a little story about Sam Adams beer.  Benefit statements really work when you remember to

Think Like Your Customer!

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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