Very often when a customer objects, whatever he or she says is actually a white lie. The key to a successful sales call is for the representative to realize when this is the case and to overcome that white lie. It is completely necessary to be handling the real objection so it is possible to move ahead toward making the sale.

When making a sales call, one of the most basic obstacles that a representative must overcome in order to be successful is figuring out the customer’s real reason for objecting. Ideally, if this is done throughout the call, the representative will be offering solutions to many of the possible objections as he or she speaks, but very often the customer may say “okay, I understand,” yet still not have accepted the solution. Although this may be the case, the customer may not explain this to the representative since the issue has already been discussed.

Assuming that the building of the sales presentation’s foundation has gone well for the representative, he or she must figure out what needs to be asked in order to find out the real objection so it can be addressed. The process of doing this is called isolating the objection.

In a recent training program at Ambassador Home Improvement, Mark Anthony shared the following steps to outline an effective method that representatives can use in order to deduce the customer’s real objection, making it possible to move toward closing the sale:

1. Buff the objection: appreciate the way that the customer sees the issue. Use phrases such as “I understand,” “I know how you feel,” or “a lot of our customers initially thought…”

2. Ask why or what: “why is it that…?” “compared to what?” An average sales representative answers questions, and will never excel in sales. An excellent representative asks questions and finds out what the customer is thinking.

NOTE: Average reps get the answers to these questions and then respond. Above average reps move to step three before addressing the prospect’s answer.

3. Anything else?: Ask the customer “in addition to (objection), is there anything else?” Most customers will say no.

NOTE: The star reps still don’t bite on addressing the objection. Instead, they move to step four. Realize our star performer has not addressed the customer’s “possible white lie.” They are probing to make sure the objection presented is the real issue.

4. Get Together: “If we can get together on the issue of(objection), will we be able to move ahead?” Notice that you have not handled the issue yet, buy have simply learned why and what makes it a concern to the customer. If the customer answers “yes,” then answer the question and close the sale. If the customer answers “no” or “maybe,” then continue to step five.

5. Another issue: Since the customer answered “no” or “maybe” in step four, then there must be another issue. Say “there must be another issue making you hesitate. What is it?

6. Listen: Stop talking and listen to the customer so you can figure out the real issue. Realize that you still haven’t handled the issue — this is hard! Super star reps realize that resisting handling the issues first presented and probing for other issues is essential to effectively overcoming the objection.

7. The real issue: now you think you know the real issue, which is different than the objection (white lie) first expressed to you, that needs to be addressed. State this to be sure: “The real issue is that you’re not quite sure about…” At this stage if they say this is the real issue, then handle it.

The process of isolating the objection is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. In order to utilize this powerful tool, a representative must practice the steps and learn from the mistakes made during each call. A good way to develop the method is to try to make it a game of seeing how far through the seven steps you can take each prospect. How often can you take the prospect through all seven steps? It is better to use the process even if it is not perfect, rather than not to use it at all. Eventually, a sales representative who has practiced the steps and learned to use them effectively, will be able to isolate a customer’s real objection and move toward closing a sale more quickly.

Mark Anthony trains sales reps on a variety of skills in order to increase closing percentages. Both corporate and individual sessions are available.

Written by Brian Clark
Program Developed & Presented by Mark Anthony
Produced by Matthew Levy

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