We all face questions and objections from buyers. The key to creating a nonstop sales boom is in reframing these objections as simple conversation starters that lead towards a sale. In doing so you will reduce your anxiety and will be able to work through them more effectively.
- S = Stop and listen. That’s right. I am saying that the best first step in answering questions or objections is to stop. Do nothing. Say nothing. Just for three seconds. Three seconds is long enough to create some space, some thinking time between the question and your answer, but not long enough to be awkward.
- A = Acknowledge the question. When you are selling you want your buyers to be talking and asking questions. That is a sign they are engaged. Silence or apathy is deadly. In order to keep the conversation going, thank them for making the statement. I am not advocating that you agree with them. Just that you acknowledge. A simple statement such as the ones below will do the trick:
Showing appreciation will show the client that you care about the conversation. When you show that you care about the conversation, and value what the buyer has said, they will say more.
- Thanks for sharing that.
- You raise an important point.
- I’ve never thought about it that way.
- You are smart to be concerned about that.
- I appreciate you being honest with me.
- L = Ask a question and listen to the answer. Before you answer the question you must truly understand what the client is stating or asking. Use one of the following questions to clarify what the buyer is asking for and to help you better form an answer:
- What do you mean by that?
- How much of a discount are you looking for?
- Why is that important to you?
- Have you seen something else that includes that?
- What do you like about that approach?
- Is that a deal breaker for you?
- How much too high are we?
- E = Provide an example. The best way to answer questions from buyers is to use the words of your clients. Let’s face it, your buyers will believe your clients more than they will believe you. You are, after all the “salesperson,” trying to earn a living. While most sellers spend their time developing case studies and testimonials to provide outcomes data on their solutions for their website, the best sellers use this data to answer questions and deal with objections posed by clients. Let this become your million-dollar strategy—your killer app, the secret weapon that allows you to exceed your revenue goal year after year.
Here are two examples.
- A professional services seller gives this response—after having stopped, acknowledged, and listened—to a price objection: “At ABC Company they were also initially concerned about the price. What they found is that with the reduction in contractors required for data entry from three to one, they were able to save over $100,000 in labor costs in one year. This more than paid for the $24,000 project purchase and provided a four times return on investment in 12 months.”
- Lee Harbin at Dolphin Professional Services also stops, acknowledges, and listens effectively when addressing a question about the timing of delivery. He then states “The implementation team at our largest client was originally concerned about our ability to deliver a project of this magnitude as well. What they discovered is that our structure allows us to ramp up quickly with the right resources, ensuring that we have never missed a deadline with them in over four years.”
Use the SALE methodology to keep the buyer engaged through the sales process. Remember, the more the buyers are talking the better chance you have to make the sale and create your Nonstop Sales Boom. The minute they shut up is the minute the sales start slipping away.
Many people wonder what separates a top performing sales person from the rest of the pack. In most cases, it's because they apply a number of best practices in their daily routine. Here are 17 best practices of top performing sales people.
- They set HIGH TARGETS and goals.
Top performers don't wait for their manager to issue an annual or quarterly quota. They set their own goals that are usually more ambitious than the corporate targets.
- They carefully PLAN their quarter, month and week, as well as their daily schedule.
Too many sales people fly by the seat of their pants and only look at the day or week ahead instead of planning their month and quarter. Look at the big picture.
- They set OBJECTIVES for every sales call.
It is essential to know exactly what you want to accomplish before you make your call (face-to-face or telephone).
- They ASK high-value questions that probe to the heart of the issue.
Sounds simple but most sales people fail at this and ask weak, feeble questions. Top performers are comfortable asking tough questions that make their prospect think.
- They LISTEN carefully to what their prospects and customers say instead of waiting for your turn to speak listen to your customer.
You can ask all the questions in the world but if you don't hear what people tell you won't be able to present the proper solution.
- They CLARIFY the issue when they are unclear what their prospect means.
People often say things that are unclear and most sales people assume they know what their prospect means. Top performers take the time to fully understand by asking "What do you mean by that?" of "Can you clarify that for me?"
- They WAIT TO PRESENT their product, service, solution or idea until they know exactly what their prospect's situation is.
The majority of sales people jump too quickly into their 'sales pitch' but top performers are patient and wait for the right moment.
- They begin every sales presentation with a brief RECAP of their understanding of the prospect's situation.
Again, a simple concept but one that is greatly ignored by many sales people. A quick summary of your customers' situation give you the opportunity to ensure that your presentation addresses their key issues.
- They know how to ADAPT their sales presentation if their prospect's situation has changed.
Making changes on-the-fly is challenging but it is one way to stand out from your competition. Learn how to modify your presentation when customer's situation has changed from the time you initially met to the time you are delivering your presentation.
- They know how to properly and effectively POSITION their product, service or solution.
The vast majority of sales people fail miserably at this. They talk, talk, talk but usually end up talking about aspects of their product or solution that have little or no relevance to their customer's situation.
- Their sales presentations FOCUS on the prospect.
Most sales presentations focus on the seller's company, their product, or other trivial information that is of no interest to the customer.
- They are PREPARED for potential objections.
Top performers anticipate objections and plan their response before their sales call.
- They always establish the NEXT STEPS.
Decision makers are busier than ever which means they are more difficult to connect with. Avoid losing contact with a prospect by agreeing on the next steps after every sales call. Do this in face-to-face meetings and telephone calls.
- They FOLLOW-UP after the initial call or meeting.
Many a sale has been lost because the sales rep failed to follow up after the initial call. You cannot rely on your prospect or customer to call you; you need to take this initiative. Set this up during your call or meeting.
- They PROSPECT continually to keep their pipeline full.
It's not uncommon for sales reps to experience peaks and valleys in their sales. This is usually a result of failing to prospect for new business on a regular basis. Avoid the highs and lows and schedule time to prospect for new business every week.
- They deal with the DECISION-MAKER whenever possible.
Dealing with people who have little or no buying authority is a waste of time. However, many sales people fall into this trap because it is easier to connect with people other than the decision maker. And that may be true. However, in the long run, they end wasting their time because they don't close the deal.
- They look for ways to KEEP IN TOUCH with their customers.
A sale is not a one-time deal. However, you need to find ways to keep your name in your customer's mind to prevent a competitor from squeezing in. Top performers incorporate this into their schedule and make it a priority.