For all the improvements to the insurance and investment business over the years, objections stay the same. They are just as prevalent. They seem just as powerful. They are just as scary.
The reason is that human nature hasn’t changed at all. We all wish for and even expect smooth “sale-ing” and are routinely surprised when objections come up. It’s an unreasonable expectation but we have it nonetheless.
Understanding that objections are a natural and necessary part of the sales process is one perspective changer. While objections have been striking fear into the hearts of advisors for centuries, nothing much happens in the sales process until you get one. They really are a necessary part of the sales process, not to be feared, but to be expected and used as an advantage.
Objections are Not About to Go Away
The reality is that objections are not going away. Everybody gets them. Rarely can one make a close without them. That will not change.
What can change is your perspective on them so that rather than being paralysed by them you can be energized by them. The idea is to make the reality of objections work for you. Otherwise they will invariably work against you.
Here are some new perspectives on objections. Use them to power up your sales process.
If you get an objection, you know you’ve at least asked a closing question. That means you’ve now got a chance at making a sale. No close attempt, no sale. This is a very positive development and you know you are making progress.
And, if you get a handful of objections you are that much closer to the sale. Research continually shows that most sales people ask for the sale fewer than two times. The same research also shows that the average buyer needs to be asked about five times to buy. Since objections usually come up as the result of asking for action, getting a few of them means you are making progress. You need objections to get sales.
And, while I’m at it, what if we changed our perspective on “closing” and just called it “asking”? Wouldn’t that make the whole process easier to accept for both parties? I think so.
Objections also give away a prospect’s thinking process to help you fine tune your presentation. The nature of an objection identifies the nature of the issues that you have to solve in order to make the concerned prospect into a happy client. Prospects, through their objections, help you customize your presentation on the fly to give them all the vital information they need to make a decision. This is a good thing. You can’t get this information any other way.
So, as long as you are thinking clearly when you hear the objection and not panicked and overwhelmed that something came up, you can shift gears appropriately to deal with this issue. When you do, you are building your relationship with the prospect and moving closer to helping them out with your service.
Remember, the real service you provide is when you sell.
I recall some of my early sales training where I was told that an objection was just a question asked by a prospect who was feeling the pressure. Not high pressure selling mind you, just the normal pressure of having to make a decision. Pressure makes a question into an objection. Calmly answer the question behind the objection and the tension goes away. The sale can replace it.
Objections are just part of the process. Your job is to use objections as springboards for passing along the information that your prospects need to make a decision in their own favor. This is why I say you want to give prospects interpretation not information, context not content and wisdom not data. You have to be thinking for the prospect and their objections shows you how and where to think.
Objections are stepping stones, not stumbling blocks. Unless you ask, you don’t get. An objection is just one of the stepping stones along the way to getting the sale. They are a normal and natural part of the sales process.
If you stumble over them, you demonstrate a lack of confidence that impedes the buying process. Your fear is transferred to the prospect. Fearing objections only adds tension to the process and increases the number of objections. Everyone feels it. No one benefits from it.
It’s best to expect them and have a process, rather than an answer to deal with them. That way, you can deal with whatever happens and not be stymied again when you hear something new to you.
Four Keys to Making Objections Work for You
1) Expect Objections – When you expect objections you are less likely to be overwhelmed by them. Decide that they will always be a part of your process and find a way to use them to help your process rather than impede it. Understanding this alone changes your reaction and improves your results.
2) Prepare for Objections – While we can imagine that there is an endless list of totally different objections, there really are only a few. You probably could make a list of those that you hear most often. Take the time to write out good responses to those favorites using the question model. Your response has to:
- Acknowledge the issue,
- Neutralize the emotion,
- Legitimately answer the underlying question and
- Ask another question.
Anything less will be experienced by the prospect as indifference or deafness. Here’s one example. “So, Mrs. Prospect you’re saying that you don’t have the cash to put towards your new program today? Is that right? That’s totally understandable then. I’d feel the same way. On the other hand, if the amount was lower or the timing was different, would that help?” The idea is to find the real question in the objection, acknowledge its legitimacy, answer it and ask another question to move forward. You can use the same approach for any common objection. When you take the time to write them down, you help make the answers natural and effective.
3) Pre-empt Objections – If you know that you always get a specific objection, be sure to build it into your presentation. If you bring it up first, you take a lot of the heat and impact right out of it. And, because you talk about it first, you acknowledge that it’s a reasonable question and you respect the prospect. A good example of this is dealing with “I want to think about it.” If that always comes up at a certain point in your presentation, why not say just before then, “At this point many people want to think about this arrangement and we’ve created a short process to help you do just that. Have a look at this and see if it makes sense to you…” It’s difficult to bring that objection up once you’re taken them through your thinking process.
4) Change Their Perspective – When you’re in the middle of a sale, don’t you often think something like this “If they only understood this product or service like I do, they’d snap this up.” That means you have to change their perspective on the product to get their agreement. The question is, “What do you know about your product that if your prospect knew, they would buy?” That’s something to build into your presentation. The best example of this I can recall is about life insurance. When I discovered that there was actually an underwriting limit on the amount of life insurance a company would issue on a person, it changed my perspective on it completely. It also helped a lot of people buy more too. For example, when we were presenting a need we could say we determined they needed $575,000 of insurance but the maximum the company would consider was 1.15 million, it changed the game. All of a sudden, the prospect was giving something up. It often changed their perspective and they topped up their coverage. Their perspective was changed and they could now make a different decision and be consistent.
Objections are a normal and even helpful part of the sales process when you have the right perspective. High performance sales people have this winning perspective and have built objections into their sales process. They prepare for them and practice to be able to help their prospects change their perspective too.