Overcoming Common Objections
How to Win the Customer Reluctance Game
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
In this excerpt from TrainerTainment Sales Coaching Guide, we review some common objections we hear when making sales:
1. I’m not sure. I don’t have enough information.
2. I’m just shopping around.
3. I’m not really the person who can make the decision.
4. I’m afraid of something. (I’ll look stupid, you are ripping me off, no one will like it, etc.)
What to Do?
1. “I’m not sure,” always means, “Tell me more, I’m not sold.” They don’t have enough information to make an intelligent decision. You could simply say, “Mrs. Brown, I see you’re unsure about our product. Let me make sure I understand your needs.” It is possible that you have featured a benefit that sounds great to you, but is not the customer’s hot button.
Let’s look at a birthday party. You’ve gone through the qualification process and found out that this customer wants to have a birthday for her 10-year-old daughter on a weekend in October. There will be about 15 children and early in the day is better than the afternoon. Ask Mrs. Brown some questions that will help you understand her expectations of the party.
“Mrs. Brown, has Amanda been to our fun center in the past? What is her favorite thing to do when she is here? Has Amanda been to other birthday parties in our facility?” These questions will give you more information about past experience. If Amanda loves to play in the arcade, bowl or play glow golf, her parent will tell you. If they had a negative past experience, then you can hear the customer’s concern and provide assurance that all will be wonderful. You have to have enough information to help the customer.
2. “I’m just shopping:” Most of the time, this objection is the same as the one before. However, it could mean, “I can’t afford it or I don’t want to pay the price you’re charging.” This one is easy. Follow the procedure above to be sure they’re not simply unsold and just need more information. If finding their hot button doesn’t reverse the objection, then talk with the customer about their budget. Big word of caution: No one likes to be called out about being cheap or identified as someone who doesn’t have enough money. So, use these words: “Mr. Keller, out of curiosity, I would love to know what other locations you are considering for your son’s party. If I can save you some time, I’ll be glad to offer any comparison if I’m aware of what my competitor has to offer.”
3. “I need to speak with my manager, wife, husband…” This objection comes when you don’t know if you’re dealing with the decision maker or not. It can be handled prior to the closing. You may ask questions like, “Mr. Standlee, are you having to plan this all by yourself or are there others we need to include in the decision making process?” If you know this up front, you can make arrangements to set another meeting. Much of the time, Mr. Standlee will say, “Oh, absolutely, I can make the decision. They sent me to find the location.”
4. “I’m afraid of something” often shows in the phrase “I don’t need/want it.” While this may be true, it usually means, “I’m scared.” You may be at an appointment where the potential customer has agreed to see you. Once they found out what you had to offer, it was not something that met their needs. There are times that it’s a blessing and releasing the sale is the right thing to do. My favorite question to ask when I’m getting the door closed in my face is: “Mr. Customer, do you mean ‘no, not now’ or do you mean ‘no, not ever’?”
I promise if you practice these words you will learn more about the buying desires of your potential customers. I have always found that I learn more from people who don’t buy my stuff than from the people who do. Ask why when they object.
Next month, we’ll review more subtle objections you and your team face, as well as ones related specifically to birthday parties.
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.