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Two Useful Tips to Handle Customer Objections

By Malcolm Fleschner

How do you usually respond to objections from customers and prospects?

One effective method is to reframe the objection back to the prospect. In The Agile Manager’s Guide to Customer-Focused Selling, authors Len D’Innocenzo and Jack Cullen suggest two powerful methods for reframing objections:

1. Use an analogy approach.

Using an analogy to reframe a customer’s thinking can be particularly effective when the customer fails to understand the added value your solution offers, or if a sale is foundering on price. Couch the issue in terms that anyone can understand. You might say, “What if you were building a new home? Would you always want to go with the builder who’s offering the lowest price? Probably not. There are other important factors to consider, like reputation, reliability, quality materials, craftsmanship – and all at a fair price.” Then transition to how your company is the industry equivalent of a reliable, well-regarded, value-added builder.

Another great tip for the analogy reframe: try to create an analogy using the customer’s own product or service (assuming it’s not the industry’s low-price option). A company that sells value should be more open to buying on value instead of just price.

2. Point out the bigger picture.

When a sale gets bogged down because a customer is carping over minutiae and minor details, savvy salespeople take a step back and reframe the conversation from a wider perspective. The big picture tends to involve the customer’s long-term organizational goals and strategy. So when the prospect says, “I’m sorry, but I can get the same thing from your competitor for 15 percent less,” you might respond with, “I understand your desire to get the best deal for your company. It sounds like you’re also concerned about value. Let’s step back for a minute and talk about value in terms of…”

Then segue into a discussion of how you

* have a proven track record of reliability and success, which will save the customer time and money over the long haul;
* offer free upgrades so that the customer always maintains state-of-the-art equipment;
* offer a warranty stating that if anything does go wrong in the first 90 days, you will personally handle any problems, no questions asked.

Remember to keep the big-picture discussion focused on issues you know the customer values, or you will merely feed into the customer’s price-based evaluation.