6 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL OBJECTION HANDLING
When it comes to boosting sales and maintaining exceptional customer service, effective objection handling is key. This is particularly important when it comes to securing new business, as clients are likely to have questions and concerns ahead of making a key purchase decision.
Effectively addressing customer concerns can go a long way towards earning their trust - however, failing to handle them properly can mean losing business or customer loyalty. Which is why having an arsenal of great objection handling techniques is essential for any good salesperson. Here are some of the best.
1. Be empathic
An essential part of objection handling is showing the customer that you care about their perspective. If they’re upset or concerned, being defensive or dismissive will instantly worsen your relationship. Instead, simply saying ‘I understand why that would be a concern’ will tell the customer that you’re taking them seriously. Being empathic can also make customers more willing to listen to your solutions, as well as encouraging them to share more information.
2. Explore the issue
The best way to fully address a customer issue is to fully understand it. A great technique here is to avoid closed questions, where the customer can respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These won’t help you to get all of the information you need to resolve the problem - so instead, stick to open questions. These can be hard to come up with in the moment, so try compiling a list in advance - and if in doubt, always simply ask for more information - how, what, and why are great places to start.
3. Ask for clarification
When asking questions, make sure that you fully understand the customer’s responses - and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t. If they are using unfamiliar terminology, or describing an issue you are not familiar with, not asking may mean you have to bring up the issue again at a later date - which would be frustrating for everyone. Instead, let them know that you are trying to understand the issue as thoroughly as possible, and ask them to go into more detail.
4. Understand the impact of the issue
When discussing the customer’s objection, it’s also important to grasp what impact the problem is having on them or their business - whether that’s lost customers, lost time, lost money, or simply inconvenience. That way, you will be able to propose alternative solutions, and reduce the risk of losing their custom.
5. Provide examples and testimonials
Sharing stories of other customers is an excellent way to build trust in your business. Talking about a similar issue and how it was successfully resolved can reassure a customer that you are capable of effectively handling their problem. Keep track of relevant examples, and make sure that you are familiar with four or five stories that prove that you have successfully handled other objections in the past. Industry research can also help to assuage any concerns raised by new customers - offering proof and statistics to back up the value that you are offering.
6. Thank the customer
On the simplest level, when you’re dealing with an upset customer, saying ‘thank you’ can help them to feel that they’re speaking to someone who understands and respects their concerns. There’s more to it than that though - an objection isn’t just a customer expressing a problem - it’s also them giving you the opportunity to solve it. In an ideal situation, you’ll be able to ask the customer upfront if they have any objections or questions, so that they can be addressed as soon as possible, and you can keep moving forward. Either way, expressing gratitude to them for sharing their thoughts is an important part of the process!
And finally… Be prepared
Every company encounters customer objections - whether it’s new business opportunities expressing concerns about price points, or existing customers facing issues with the service. Whatever the problem, though, it’s essential to learn from them. Keep track of all of the issues you encounter, note which techniques have the greatest success rates, and make sure to record examples and testimonials that can help in the future. Not every issue can be fixed - but by preparing yourself with knowledge and tried and tested techniques, you’ll be able to greatly increase your chances of success!
Written as blog content for a small marketing agency, 2017.