METHODS FOR ANSWERING OBJECTIONS

Recognizing that the method used for answering the objection will vary in accordance with the personality traits of the buyer and the particular type of objection that is raised, some of the commonly used techniques are outlined in the following paragraphs. Remember, too, that these methods may be used singly or in combination, depending upon the circumstances related to the sale.

Agree and qualify. This method answers the objection by first agreeing with the prospect, and then tactfully qualifying the answer or presenting additional information which offsets it. For example, the prospect may say, "I`m not interested in your product because I can buy it at a lower price from someone else." The salesperson replies, "Yes, this is true." However, the competitive products are of much lower quality and will last half as long as ours. (The salesperson should carefully explain and prove this statement. Therefore, you are really paying less for our product." From a psychological standpoint this is a highly effective method because the salesperson never directly disagrees with or contradicts the prospect.

Make the objection serve as a selling point. This method takes the very objection raised by the prospect and converts it into a selling point. For example, the prospect may say, "I don`t care for this particular style because it currently is not being worn." The salesperson replies, "That`s absolutely correct and that`s why I`m showing you this particular style. It`s the newest design, which soon will be very popular, and you can be one of the first to wear it." Or the prospect might raise the following objection in connection with a new type of printing press. "I don`t believe I`m interested in your press because to my knowledge no one in this area is using one." And the salesperson might reply, "That`s right, and that`s exactly why I`m showing it to you. You have a bigger operation and are more progressive than the other printers in this area. Not only will it give you increased production and lower operating expenses, but it will also give you the opportunity to set a new standard in your area."

The effective use of this method is usually dependent upon the salesperson`s being well informed about the prospect`s buying motives and being able to determine what she really wants. In using it, the salesperson should also be very careful not to use high-pressure tactics or to offend the prospect.

Ask questions for further explanation. Some­times the salesperson may not understand the nature of the objection and must ask for more information before she can give an effective an­swer. For example, the prospect might raise the following objection about a new systems program. "Your system is probably O.K for most com­panies, but it certainly won`t work in mine." Before answering such an objection, the salesperson will have to have the prospect explain what she presently is doing and also determine why she be­lieves the proposed system will not work. Some­times the objection is not a truly valid one, and the salesperson can ask certain questions which will result in having the prospect answer her own objection. In buying a truck, the prospect may say, "I can buy a more stylish model from other dealers." And the salesperson in a polite and cour­teous manner asks, "Is style your most important consideration for buying a truck or are you more interested in performance and economy of opera­tion?" A common reply by the prospect might be, "I`d like to have all three, but I know this isn`t possible, so I`m definitely more interested in its performance and economy."

Agree that the objection is valid. Sometimes the objection raised by the prospect is a legitimate one. In such cases the salesperson should not be afraid to admit the objection, for no product or service is perfect in every respect. For example, the prospect may say, "I don`t like an eight-cylinder car because it consumes more gas than a six-cylinder car." The salesperson replies, ‘That`s absolutely correct, but the eight-cylinder car also gives you more room, a more comfortable ride, and considerably more power." When the pros­pect mentions a valid objection, rather than dwelling on a futile discussion of its negative aspects, it is better for the salesperson to quickly admit it and then to shift to a discussion of its positive aspects.

Delay the answer. Sometimes the prospect will raise an objection before the salesperson has had an opportunity to explain her product or ser­vice. In such cases, the salesperson can politely say, ‘That`s a good point and with your permission I will answer it in a moment. But first it is neces­sary for me to explain how our product is made, and in so doing I know it will answer your question."

Politely deny that the objection is valid. The salesperson will seldom directly contradict the pros­pect, and this method should be used only if necessary and supported by the facts. However, the prospect will sometimes be completely wrong, or she will stubbornly persist in raising an invalid objection. In such cases, the salesperson should clearly and politely deny the objection. For ex­ample, the prospect may say, "I`ve been told that you sell this same product for 25 percent less in other areas." The salesperson can reply, "Someone has either misinformed you or you are confusing our company with another one, for we sell our product at the same price to everyone and have never deviated from this policy." The salesperson should speak in such a manner as to avoid antago­nizing the prospect; and such an answer will usually be accepted. However, if the prospect still persists with such an objection, then the salesperson should ask for the name of the party who pur­chased the product at a lower price, and when and where such a transaction took place. She should also attempt to check it out immediately and tell the prospect that she will call back within one or two days with a complete report.

Pass up or ignore the objection. Sometimes the prospect is not serious about the objection she raises or she mentions an objection that doesn`t warrant a serious answer. For example, the pros­pect might facetiously say, "I understand that you also supply a maid with every vacuum cleaner you sell." The salesperson might humorously reply, "We would like to, but unfortunately they`re pretty hard to find these days."


Indicate whether each of the following statements is true or false by writing "T" or "F".

  1. If a customer makes a valid objection, the salesperson should agree with her and then offer an explanation.
  2. Often an objection can be overcome by questioning the importance of the point.
  3. Postponing the answer to an objection often gives a salesperson a chance to explain her product further.
  4. A salesperson should never flatly deny an objection because it may irritate the prospect.

Answer

  1. True. An effective technique for answering objections is to first agree with the prospect and then tactfully present information, which offsets it.
  2. True. Sometimes the objection is not a truly valid one, and the salesperson may ask certain questions that will result in having the prospect answer her own objections.
  3. True. Often the answer to an objection is contained in the sales presentation and may be brought up at the proper time if the prospect will agree.
  4. False. In cases where the prospect is completely wrong, the salesperson should clearly and politely deny the objection, and if the salesperson speaks in a manner, which does not antagonize the prospect, the answer will usually be accepted.

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