Six Steps to Busting Through Objections

By Heather Baldwin

Wouldn’t it be great if objections didn’t exist? Your sales team would be able to close every sale because prospects would have no reason not to buy. Unfortunately, objections are a real part of every salesperson’s life. So here’s some good news. In his new book, Guide to Handling Sales Objections (Career Press, 2005), Barry Farber offers this six-step method for handling those reasons customers give for not wanting to buy.

1. Listen to the objection in its entirety. Reps never listened themselves out of a sale, so stop talking, stop planning what you’re going to say next and listen carefully to what the customer is telling you. Take notes when the customer is talking, nod your head and look the person in the eye. Pause for a few seconds before you begin to speak. “An objection becomes an opportunity when you listen to the whole thing, hear it out, understand it, get the customer to expand on it, solve it and move on,” says Farber.

2. Define the objection. Find out specifics about the customer’s objection. Don’t accept vagueness, such as: I’m not comfortable with your service capabilities. Instead, try to convert that vagueness into specifics with questions such as: Can you explain that to me? Can you elaborate on that?

3. Rephrase the objection into a question. Once you’ve gotten customers to clearly define their objection, demonstrate that you listened by converting their objection into a question: So you want to be sure we’ll be able to supply you with inventory at all nine of your locations every Monday morning. Is that correct?

4. Isolate the objection. Here’s where you find out if the objection you just confirmed is the only one standing in the way of the sale. Farber suggests a question phrased something like this: All right. The ability of our service department to reach all your locations is the only thing that’s keeping us from moving forward on this, is that right? It’s important to use the phrase moving forward instead of making a decision or signing on the dotted line because it’s a lot less threatening to your prospect.

5. Present the solution. Only after you have completed the first four steps can you demonstrate how your product or service will meet customers’ needs and overcome their stated objection. This step may take some time. It may take research and consultations with various departments in your company. But it’s all based on knowing exactly what customers need and care about.

6. Close. This step takes courage and confidence, says Farber. “When you know you have truly listened to the customer, when you have asked questions to get to the customer’s real needs, and when you’ve presented a solution that addressed those needs, you’re ready to close – and more than likely, the customer is ready to buy.”