Can You Sell Ice to An Eskimo?
Perhaps one of the most intimidating parts of the sales process is overcoming the objections you are bound to face. Simply put, not everyone is going to buy what you are selling. So how do you prepare yourself for this situation; and can you? Before you can begin to overcome it, you must first know what an objection is. An objection is something the potential customer states as a reason why they aren’t ready to buy from you yet — whether factual or not.
While objections are not necessarily always a part of the sales process, you should always expect them. After all, if everyone was just going to buy whatever you are selling, you could sell ice to Eskimos. You have probably heard them all before, “Your price is too expensive”, “I have to think about it”, “I need to talk to ‘x person’ before making the decision”, “I found it cheaper somewhere else”, “I’ve never heard of you”, “I don’t have time to talk”, or “I’m just not interested”. More often than not, an objection they give you is just a smoke screen covering up the real reason. For example, don’t assume the issue is money, just because they say it is.
Being a good sales person doesn’t mean you know every obstacle that will come your way and preparing for it. That is almost impossible. You must, however, be ready to think outside the box, as well as be willing to ask questions to find the root of their resistance. Validating your customers’ concerns are legitimate, and making them feel heard, are necessary parts in any sales communication. Don’t go in for the hard sell. Instead, focus on having a conversation, listening, and asking questions to help the person make the best decision. They need to feel that you are interested in them and making the right decision, whatever it is. Confidence is key! Believe in yourself and your company so that your potential customer can essentially jump on the bandwagon. Don’t be attached to a single outcome, such as they have to buy today. You don’t want to seem desperate or needy.
They might object, but on what grounds? It may be something as obvious as your client doesn’t see the value yet; however, there are a number of other possible scenarios. Perhaps you don’t come across as confident; making them cautious. Maybe you haven’t addressed their gap or pain with tangible solutions; or those solutions provided don’t seem believable or plausible. You could just have the wrong potential client in front of you; or you have approached them as you needing them. An important one is maybe the chemistry between you and this potential client just doesn’t exist. Awareness of any possible cause for an objection is the first step in overcoming it, if at all possible.
If you don’t like dealing with objections it’s best to play offense instead of defense. It is possible to eliminate some of these obstacles before they even come up. Know your audience. Often objections come up because you are targeting a market that can’t pay the prices you are charging, or who aren’t interested in the service or product you are providing. Make sure that your “who” — the client niche you want — can afford the prices you want to charge and are interested in the services or products you are marketing to them.
Like in any good relationships, trust is critical. In sales, this is no different. If your client’s don’t trust you they will always come up with objections. Early on in your conversation, you must instill confidence in them and make them feel like you know what you are doing, even if you don’t. Consistency in the way you interact with them is key. Let them know what they can expect from you in the first conversation and at each subsequent conversation. Also let them know how the process will work. Often, just knowing what to expect is sufficient for them.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” There is nothing more endearing than authenticity. If you are fun and silly, don’t change that when you meet with potential clients. If you are quiet, it’s fine, but don’t attempt to be something else.
There’s a learning opportunity around every corner. Not everyone is your next sale, but it doesn’t mean they are useless or time lost. Every interaction offers value and is a forum to learn and hone your skills. Do not worry about whether every interaction will result in a sale or client. Use each exchange as practice for improving your sills. As you become more comfortable with yourself and explaining what you have to offer, you become more attractive to potential clients.
Going into any sales process knowing that you could face objections and what they might be, is a good offensive strategy. A strong defense is important for any team, but you can’t win the game (or make the sale) if you don’t score points!