Everybody has had to handle an objection at one time or another, whether it’s an objection voiced by a family member at home, or an objection from a client during the sales process. And it’s human nature to occasionally end up feeling like that objection is really a rejection, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll let you in on a little secret: an objection is really a request for more information; it’s a question in disguise.
To say that we’re going to “handle” an objection is a bit of a misnomer; it would be more accurate to say that that we’re going to learn how to uncover questions and answer them. And while the process that I’m going to teach you will help you to uncover questions underlying objections without any emotional fallout and answer them honestly and thoroughly, it doesn’t mean that by using this process you’ll walk away from every objection with a sale or a new enrollment.
It does mean that you can be certain that you’ve done your best to educate your prospect, and no matter what their response is, you will have kept your momentum rolling towards greater success.
Step #1: Listen
There’s an old saying: “You have two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much as you speak.” When I teach prospecting, I drill this into my students. People want to be heard, and the best way to let someone know that you care about the dialog between you is to be an active listener.
That means that you must listen to what your prospect is saying without interrupting, and without assuming that you know what they’re going to say. When you’ve honed your skills as an active listener, you’ll begin to hear all sorts of things in a conversation that the “average” listener misses. For instance, if someone refers to “we” or “us” that might be a clue to inquire about additional decision makers who might need to be involved in the process. Above all, don’t finish their statement for them, don’t step in to answer what you think their question is, simply listen to them until they’re through.
I once heard a story told of an older man walking somewhere in Georgia with a younger man who continually interrupted their conversation to say, “Did you see that? Did you see that? What a peach!” The young man was referring to attractive young women that he was seeing as they walked along the sidewalk. Finally, after a number of these interruptions, when the young man started in with “Did you see that?” before he could finish his sentence, the older man fired back “Yes, I saw that!” Puzzled, the young man asked, “Then why’d you step in it?”
Learning to listen can keep you from “putting your foot in it,” so to speak!
#2: Be A Detective
Being a detective as you learn to handle an objection means learning to look beyond the “objection” that is being presented to what’s really being asked underneath.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a prospect say to me, “This sounds like one of those pyramids.” Before I learned that an objection was a question in disguise, I’d launch into a defense of direct selling and network marketing and totally miss the point at which my prospect’s eyes glazed over. Needless to say, I never enrolled a single person who mentioned the word “pyramid.” That changed when I realized that what my prospect was really asking was whether my business model was legal.
The same thing would happen when a prospect would say to me, “I’m too busy to take on something like this. I just don’t have the time.” I would take the statement as a final proclamation and completely miss the question in there: “Can I do this successfully with limited free time?”
When I learned that objections come looking like statements of fact and that I could figure out the underlying question by adding “is that true?” to the statement, I was then able to answer the real question. That meant that “I just don’t have the time,” became “I just don’t have the time…is that true?” and THAT changed my response – now I could openly and accurately answer the question being asked.
Step #3: Appreciate And Clarify
For years we taught new salespeople that the way to think about handling an objection was to imagine that the objection was a raw egg in the shell. When your prospect lobbed that objection at you, you wanted to catch that objection as carefully as you would an egg so that it didn’t break and splatter all over you. That generally meant cupping your hands like a nest to catch the “egg” in, and pulling the “egg” in towards your belly to absorb the energy of the throw.
That motion – catching the “egg” – is done by appreciating the objection.
“Jack, I appreciate what you’re saying.” No “but”s and no defensive posturing. Simply appreciate what Jack is saying and pause.
If you’re NOT sure about what Jack is saying or if you’re not sure that Jack understands, ASK!
“Jack, I want to be sure that I understand what you’re saying…would you mind saying it a little differently for me?” Or, “Tell me a little more about that, Jack.”
By asking for clarification, you’re putting your prospect at ease; now there’s give and take with both of you sharing in true dialog.
Step #4: Respond
Facts tell, stories sell. The best response involves a story!
Stay away from fact-packed, statistically accurate answers. No matter how good you are, no matter how right you are, when you respond that way, you effectively step on what your prospect has said and when you do that, you step on them, as well. Also, when you throw up a fact-packed, intellectual answer, you’re subconsciously making your prospect question whether they could do what you’re doing…could they remember “all that?” (Would they want to?) Direct selling and network marketing is best and most effective when we keep it simple. And telling a story keeps it simple.
The easiest and best way to respond to most objections is through a construct called “feel, felt, found.” First, acknowledge how they “feel,” then build trust by sharing how you “felt” under similar circumstances, and finally, tell them what you’ve “found” to be true.
If we use the “time” question as an example, your response would go something like this:
“Jack, I know just how you feel. Time is precious, isn’t it? When I first looked at this, I thought time was going to be an issue for me, too. What I found, though, was that this business is so flexible, that in the beginning, I could invest as much or as little time as I wanted. And you know what? After a few months, I was having so much fun and getting so much help, that my business grew every week. As my business grew, I began investing more time in it, and now, because my business is home-based, I have more time with my family and more time to do the things that I want to do….”
Step #5: Get Confirmation
Just because you think you’ve answered what they were asking, doesn’t mean that you did or that they understood your answer. Never make assumptions: Always get confirmation. “Does that makes sense to you, Jack? Did I address your concern?”
If you’re consistent in getting their confirmation every step of the way, the next step will be a breeze.
Step #6: Give Them A Choice
Step #6 is really about closing the sale. Don’t take this step unless you know that you’ve uncovered and answered all of their questions. If you haven’t, you must go back and address each one of their concerns by going through Steps 1 through 5 as many times as is necessary so that you can be sure that it’s decision making time.
When it is, give them a choice.
Every parent knows that if you give a child too many choices, they become overwhelmed and find it difficult to make any choice at all. When my kids were little, I quickly learned that leaving the selection dialed into “infinite” meant never getting an answer. On the other hand, if I said “do you want this one, or that one?” they would easily and quickly select one of the two. “Grown ups” are no different.
Making a decision can be difficult for some people. If you don’t offer them a choice, they still see it as a whole big decision which can quickly become overwhelming.
But a simple choice between “this” or “that” helps them to focus on one thing or the other. You’re encouraging them to choose between two positive choices, and if you’ve received their confirmation as you’ve gone through the steps, then a choice between being a customer and being a distributor (or both!) is no longer a yes or no – it’s simply a question of which yes.
In our example with Jack, once I’d gone through my feel, felt, found discussion and confirmed that what I had said made sense to him, taking Step #6 might go something like this:
“Great, Jack! There are a couple of ways we could start out here. You could get some of the products, use them for a couple of weeks and experience the benefits for yourself (and remember…there’s an unconditional, money-back guarantee), or, if you think there may be an exciting business opportunity for you here, we can fill out your application and I’ll help you get started. You can order your products using your wholesale discount and in the meantime, we can immediately start building your business. So, Jack – which is the best way for you to start?”
It’s important, whenever you want your prospect to complete his or her decision, that you give a choice between two things, whether it’s this time or that, this day or that, products or a distributorship…and that once you offer the choice, you keep quiet until you get your answer!
Sometimes a silence follows the question “Which is the best way for you to start?” It’s natural to want to fill in that void, but I caution you not to do so. While it’s uncomfortable to sit with what I call “the pregnant pause,” it’s imperative. If you start talking, you’ll take the focus off of the choice and once you’ve done that, it’s hard to get it back. Sit tight and listen for the answer.
How To Handle Another Objection?
If you find yourself standing in front of another objection, relax – go back and handle it just like you did the first one. Start at Step #1 and continue through Step #6 until you have a “yes” or a “no.”
What If You Get A “No?”
For most professionals in the Direct Sales industry, a “yes” is any time you don’t get a “no!”
If someone is still lobbing objections at you, consider them to be questions in disguise and go through the steps that I’ve outlined. However, a “no” is a no and no matter how much you might disagree with it, you must honor it.
“I’m not interested.” “This isn’t right for me.” Those are solid “no’s.” Accept the “no” for what it is, thank your prospect for their time, be gracious and keep the door open: I’m also a firm believer in “no” means “not right now.” By keeping the door open you leave a way for your prospect to approach you again about your business or to recommend you to someone else that is looking for what you have to offer.
The best way to handle an objection is to be prepared for it!
A good way to teach yourself and your team about objections is to have an objection worksheet.
Create a list of the top 10 objections that you and your team encounter and have everyone work together to find the underlying questions in the objections and to share how they answer those questions.
Most of the time, you’ll find that you’re getting the same “objections” over and over again. Occasionally, you might have a couple that are related to a specific product or something unique about your opportunity, but by and large, they’re the same old questions, asked over and over again.
By creating an objection worksheet and helping yourself and your team prepare to answer the underlying questions, you’ll find that your confidence level climbs and your ability to connect with your prospects does, too!
Putting A Bow On It
Once you learn these 6 Steps and put them into practice, you’ll find that it’s not difficult to handle an objection. What you’re really doing is walking your prospect through a decision-making process at the end of your presentation. The process includes asking questions, sharing information and stories, talking about benefits, getting confirmation that what you’ve said makes sense, and offering your prospect a choice. Giving your prospects a choice is a real service to them. Offer it proudly and remember to sit quietly, giving them room to make a decision between which “Yes!”