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Overcoming Objections

Most often, there are multiple products or services that may meet the customer’s needs, and as a salesperson, it’s your job to differentiate yourself. When it comes to the traditional sales process, knowing how to handle objections effectively can mean the difference between winning the sale or suffering that sinking feeling of having lost the business to the competition. In this article, you’ll find some tips for handling objections based on your competition and hopefully be able to apply them to increase your close rate.

To start, let’s look at a typical sales process and when handling objections typically occurs:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Preparation
  3. Approach
  4. Presentation
  5. Handling Objections
  6. Closing & Follow-up

Timing is everything

While there are several times throughout the sales process when you can handle objections, it’s common for most sales reps to wait until it comes up at the end of their closing presentation. By taking this approach, salespeople can pitch the presentation they’ve prepared before having to go off script.

In truth, this is one of the worst times to handle objections. Not only have you already given your pricing and options, but you likely focused on features or services that aren’t the main focus of your potential customer.

The best time to handle objections, especially those related to your competition, is in the beginning of the process while qualifying your customer. Taking this approach helps you to find creative ways to position your products and services against the competition early in the sales cycle and allows you to more appropriately prepare for your presentation and closing. Not to mention, if your product doesn’t meet the customer’s needs, then you’ll save yourself the time and effort of a complete presentation and can get back to prospecting for more qualified leads.

The elephant in the room

When it comes to bringing up potential competition, you may feel uncomfortable. Don’t be! There are two key things to keep in mind:

  1. If they are shopping you, they are most likely shopping others.
  2. It is better to know in advance who your competition is, so you can position yourself to win the sale.

There are many different ways to learn about your competition, but one of the easiest is to simply ask, “Who’s at the top of your list right now?” Questions like these show the potential client that you are confident and ready to tackle any objections. Other strong questions to ask to help qualify your competition include:

  • “How many companies are you getting quotes on for this?”
  • “How does the current insurance carrier fit into all of this?”
  • “What is going to be the deciding factor on what company will win your business?”
  • “Let’s take your lowest quote and compare it – services to services - to what our product can offer you.”

By qualifying for competition early in the sales process, it creates the opportunity to change perceptions. You are even more prepared to provide tailored solutions focused on the programs and challenges that your prospect may be facing. It creates a true differentiation from the competition.

Reframing the sales dialogue

Now that you know your product is a good fit for the customer’s needs and who or what competition you’re up against, it’s time to defuse your prospect’s specific objections about particular features, barriers to switching carriers, or pricing by reframing the dialogue to focus more on your product’s relative strengths.

Try using comparison charts to help compare your product to competitors’ products and find ways in which your product is more superior. Customer testimonials are also extremely effective because your prospect can relate to someone who was in the same position they are in. If your prospect says they’re already working with a competitor, that can be another advantage for you because it means they have a need and they see value in your product.

Eliminating the pattern of sameness

While the concept of handling objections earlier in the sales process may be different than what you’re used to, it’s important not to fall into the trap of the same pitch process. The key to sales success lies in being able to differentiate not only on the product level, but also on the strengths of customer/account service and any other added value that you can bring to the deal. The sooner you can address and accomplish these items in your sales pitch, the better.