Consider this dialog: John’s lawnmower packs up one Sunday afternoon, so he goes around to his neighbour to ask if he can borrow his.
John: “Can I borrow your lawnmower?”
Neighbour: “Sorry John, not today.”
John: “Why not?”
Neighbour: “Because my sister is ill.”
John: “Well I’m sorry to hear that, but what has that got to do with my borrowing your lawnmower?”
Neighbour: “Absolutely nothing, but since I have decided not to lend it, one excuse is as good as another.”
From this example we see that there are two types of objections – i) Excuses not to go ahead and ii) Real objections, areas of mismatch.
Mismatch is a better description as the objection may simply be a misunderstanding, or a request for more information.
What type of objection is it?
When an objection occurs at the end of a sales presentation we often don’t know which type it is. That’s why pre-handling is such an important skill. If it’s an excuse, by pre-handling it – the prospect cannot then use it at the end.
For example – We know someone is short staffed and want them to do something urgently – the obvious EOS (end of sale) excuse is “I’m short staffed.”
We can pre-handle this by saying: “I realise John is away at present and you’re really pushed, but I would very much appreciate it if …..” He can’t then use the excuse, “I’m short staffed.”
Or – if it’s a real objection and we discover it early on, we know where we stand and what we have to solve.
Early in the sales process we should pre-handle the objections we are likely to meet later on. Only pre-handle the obvious ones, otherwise we are making things unnecessarily more difficult.
Examples of pre-handling objections
“If you decided to go ahead, when would you want it installed and working?”, pre-handles the EOS excuse “I won’t need it for a few months yet.”
“What are you looking for?” pre-handles the EOS objection “It’s not quite what I’m looking for.”
“Are you able to make this decision alone, or must you put it before the board?” pre-handle the EOS objection “I must put it before the board.”
The possibility of rumours affecting her decision should also be pre-handled. “Have you heard of product before?” or, “What do you know about us?” or, “Do you know any companies using ….?”
If the rumour is bad, something to the detriment of our product/service – must be pre-handled.
Price must also be pre-handled – the higher we can build her opinion of the value and importance of her requirement early in the sales process, the easier it is for her to accept the price later on. Show extra price as more than compensated, not by extra benefits, but by extra matching benefits.
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