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7 Easy Steps to Vaporize a Customer's Objections

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Overcoming Objections: 7 Easy Steps to Vaporize a Customer's Objections By: Daniel Adams Handling objections effectively is often the hardest thing a salesperson will have to do. What they often don't realize is that an objecting customer is a good thing--it means the customer is interested enough in his solution to talk about it. An objecting customer is handing something to you on a silver platter… an opportunity for a "precious moment," a chance to differentiate yourself as a Sales Superstar. In order to gain the customer's trust and to proceed hand-in-hand toward a win-win solution, the salesperson needs to be prepared to vaporize any objections. Here are 7 simple steps to "Vaporizing" any customer objection. 1. Anticipate Step one in handling any objection is to ensure that you are not surprised, and therefore, perhaps defensive. Work with your sales manager or find a veteran sales associate that can help determine the top five objections you may be facing. Research! Put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask what might be undesirable about the proposed solution. Role-play until you are very comfortable addressing each objection. Even the most complex and technical products and solutions end up having only a handful of key objections. 2. Confirm the Issue You need to thoroughly understand your customer's articulated issue. Let's say your customer gives you the standard "your price is too high" objection. If you are an 'average salesperson,' and you don't have a one-price policy, you sprint back to your sales manager and request an additional ten points of discount. After receiving a "yes", you go back to your customer and excitedly announce "I got an additional discount. Are you ready to order?" The customer smiles and says, "Thank you very much for that, but I was thinking that your price is to high given the quality of this sofa compared to prices I've seen online. Besides, the style isn't right for me." Ouch! Why did this scenario occur? It is simply because you failed to clarify the customer's objection. When the price objection is raised, a Superstar rep will ask, "Our price is too high? Compared to what?" Or, "Can you explain that?" Question your customer fully. Ask for their help in understanding every aspect of the objection. 3. Credibility Preface When a customer presents an objection, you have two options: protest and tell them they are wrong, or use the circumstance to gain credibility. By arguing the objection, you put the customer in the position of having to defend their stance. The other option is to simply step out of the way. A credibility preface allows you to prevent a confrontation with the customer. The simplest credibility preface to use with most objections is to say, "I can understand why you'd feel that way. I would also feel that way, if I were you." Simply agreeing that a customer has a right to make an objection helps to diffuse the customer's discomfort and opens an air of trust between you and the customer. After acknowledging your customer's position, ask yourself whether the customer is misinformed or correct. If he is indeed misinformed, you can gently correct him with unbiased proof of your position. Be delicate---correcting a customer is risky business and you should do so only if you believe he can see the error. 4. Confirm the Underlying Need This is your most important step. You must uncover the underlying need that is causing the customer's objection. Let's say you are selling dining room furniture. Your potential buyer walks in and says, "I don't like that table. It doesn't have a long enough warranty." You provide a credibility preface, by responding, "It is true that there are tables out there with longer warranties than this one." Then you seek the underlying need by asking, "Can you tell me why the warranty is so important to you?" He says, "I had a bad experience with the last table I purchased at _______ store. The legs fell off." Now you can respond: "So what you are really looking for is a sofa that will last and will be covered should a problem occur." In other words, you have identified his real need as performance. 5. Apply the Vaporizer Matrix™ Now that you have uncovered your client's underlying needs, you are in a position to use the Vaporizer Matrix™. This matrix integrates your customer's high-level needs with your company's advantages, allowing you to immediately address your customer's stated needs. There are typically six high-level needs for most business-to-business purchases. 1. Performance - Quality 2. Ease of Use 3. Reliability-Service 4. Futures-Upgradeability 5. ROI /TCO (Return on Investment / Total Cost of Ownership) 6. Risk Now to utilize your Vaporizer simply locate the area that is important to your customer and begin to share with them your advantages that are related to his key need. "Mr. Customer, if long life is a priority for you, let me highlight just a few of the services we provide at _______ furniture store that are exclusive to our offering. We stand behind the tables we sell for a full year. Should anything go wrong due to manufacturer's defect, we will pick up the table and fix it. To protect yourself past the one year period, for just a few dollars extra, you can purchase a supplementary protection plan." If you fail to meet all of the customer's needs with your unique performance, you may now utilize the advantages highlighted under the other columns. For example, you will now stress your quality delivery, years in business, prompt attention to customer service issues and free in-home decorating services. 6. Confirm Make certain you have persuaded your customer to her satisfaction. Confirm that you have addressed his concern by simply asking, "Have I been able to address your needs to your satisfaction?" If not, then you will discover another aspect of the objection, which you can discuss. If you have satisfied the objection, you have achieved a significant accomplishment. You have made the customer feel that you care to and are able to thoroughly respond to his worries. In other words, you have earned her trust. 7. By The Way…. Now that you have succeeded in meeting your customer's objection, you can segue way into other matters, bringing you closer to your sale. An effective way to move on to the next issue at hand is to simply use the transition statement: "By the way, have we discussed your delivery requirements for this table? By following these seven easy steps, handling a customer's objections will become an opportunity instead of a problem. These concrete suggestions will have you well on your way to superstardom in your sales career! Good luck to you, and remember, "Close 'Em!" About the Author: Daniel J. Adams is a highly sought after trainer, keynote speaker and consultant in the field of sales and marketing. He honed his sales skills selling multimillion-dollar solutions for Fortune 500 and high technology companies such as General Electric, Cisco Systems and Ariba over the past 20 years. Dan is the founder of Adams & Associates, the author of the book Building Trust, Growing Sales, and the creator of the Trust Triangle SellingTM best practice based sales training methodology. For more information, please visit www.trusttriangleselling.com or call 630-215-5090.

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