Smart questions eliminate objectionsWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At first, hearing about my mother’s cell phone shopping experience was pretty entertaining. It was amusing just to hear her explain how she didn’t understand why phones have become so complicated in recent years.
In fact, she told me she had proudly announced to the salesperson that she didn’t want to spend extra money on a phone with a built-in camera. The salesperson, hearing a price objection, gently complied. He eliminated all models that included a built-in digital camera, and steered my mother toward inexpensive models.
In just a few weeks, my mother soon realized that her new phone wasn’t able to do all the neat things her children’s phones could. It seemed that her phone was nothing but a cut-down, inexpensive version with absolutely no features.
What neither the salesperson, nor my mother, had realized was that eliminating all of the phones with cameras had also automatically eliminated all of the phones that had features my mother later realized she wanted. After realizing this, my mother blamed the salesperson for not telling her that she would be giving up these additional features.
I know what you’re thinking. Blaming the salesperson? How can you blame the salesperson when it was the customer who made the objection regarding price?
Well, it’s simple. A salesperson is nothing more than a professional communicator. As a professional communicator, they must be able to decipher exactly what the customer wants. Often, this takes some investigating.
Customers do not know how to ask smart questions. That is your job. While giving the customers exactly what they are asking for may seem like the right thing to do, if you want to truly match your customers with the best product, service or experience for them, you’re obligated to take a few additional steps.
Rather than skittishly reacting to a customer’s objection or statement, pause for a moment to consider the meaning behind the words. Focus on understanding the customer and their words and you’ll turn their objection into a way to close the sale quickly and comfortably.
The quickest way to gain a true understanding of your customer is through great questions. When my mother proudly announced she did not want to spend extra money on a phone with a camera, the salesperson should have followed up with a question that would have cleared the air and put the sales conversation on the right path, towards perfect communication.
The salesperson could have asked, “If you could build your own cell phone, what would it do and why?” This would have opened up the conversation and revealed all the benefits that were important to my mother. She would have been able to place her perfect cell phone order with the salesperson. Not only would she have been much happier with her purchase, the salesperson would have gained great referrals and probably would have sold a pricier phone, too.
Customer objections should be eagerly anticipated and celebrated when they arrive. These objections are dead giveaways of a customer’s intention to buy. They give you the opportunity to discover the customer’s true concerns and needs, so you can personalize your sales approach for that customer.
The only thing that stands between yourself and a completed sale is true understanding. That means that your objective should be to understand, rather than to sell. Change your objective away from trying to make a sale to understanding the customer, their situation and their buying motives.
The next time you are in a sales conversation, recognize the opportunities you have to understand your customer and find the best solution for their needs. Instead of limiting your approach by taking objections literally, use them to ask engaging questions that unlock communication and understanding. Focus on the customer personally and not the monetary sale. By taking your mind off the customer’s wallet, you’ll be thickening yours.
Tom Richard is a sales trainer in the Toledo area. He may be contacted at email@example.com.