How to Overcome 4 “Hidden” Sales Objections
A client, Steve, came to me complaining about his low sales numbers. But he was even more bothered that this had been going on for a couple years and he didn’t know what to do to turn it around.
Steve offers marketing and technical services to mid-sized businesses, and his record speaks for itself. But despite the outstanding results he achieved for his clients, for reasons he couldn’t understand, his conversion rates were sub-par and his sales cycles long.
In great frustration, he asked me a question I hear countless times one way or another:
Why aren't people buying my stuff?
First Things First
Before we discuss anything else, we need to get the basics right.
Prior to any type of examination or analysis of sales techniques, we need to answer three questions:
- Do you know your unique selling point or proposition?
- Do you know your target market?
- Do you know your ideal client profile?
If you can’t answer these three questions, your business is suffering from a lack of clarity. Your problems will almost certainly persist until you find the time to dig deep and thoroughly examine your business regarding these questions.
Simply put, you haven’t been talking about the right things to the right people and you haven’t delivered a winning message because you don’t know what it is.
The 4 Hidden Sales Objections
If you are clear on the three basic questions but still struggle with low sales, it’s often because of the following four unspoken objections.
1. “I don't believe you.”
It’s more than likely your prospects won’t outright say this. But if they do, count yourself lucky and profusely thank them. Why? Because they have pointed out a major reason why others aren’t buying from you: your credibility.
You need to understand that every time you make a sale, your credibility is on the line. So the best way to handle this is to be prepared for this beforehand. If you present yourself as an authority, you need facts to back it up.
So how do you do this? Show your prospect value before you try to sell them anything. Show your ability to deliver on your unique selling proposition with case studies and happy client stories and testimonials.
Next, if you created your “ideal client profile,” you’ll know if there’s a credibility gap. In this case, don’t shy away, or ignore it. Be transparent with your prospect.
I know a sales expert who advises you bring it up before your potential client does. For example, if you’re new to the potential client’s vertical, tell him.
The most direct way is also the most effective. Say something like, “I’m sure you’re wondering how a company like ours, yet to handle any major contract in this field, can make the claims I just made. Well, here’s how.”
By beating them to the punch – you’ve taken control of the conversation and shown yourself to be an authority.
While this is probably an uncomfortable conversation to have, it’s important NOT TO avoid. Your prospect probably won’t bring it up and if you don’t, then you just lost the sale.
2. “I don’t make the decisions.”
If the person you’re talking to isn’t the decision maker, you’re probably wasting your breath. Some people may tell you they do make the decisions when in fact they don’t.
“Are you the decision maker?” Don’t ask this!
In most cases, the response to this question will be a lie. Your prospect doesn’t want to tell you—the salesperson—they don’t have the power to make these types of decisions, and quite possibly, they don’t want to admit it to themselves.
So, what should you ask instead?
“Describe the decision making process here.”
This question is more likely to prompt an honest response. The person you’re speaking with might be involved in the process but you’ll also get names, departments and committees involved. With this information, you know everyone you need to be engaging with.
3. “I don't have the time or money for your offer.”
This one takes a little detective work on your part. Your client may respond with budgetary or staffing concerns but what they are really saying is “I don’t see the value or benefit in your offer.”
Prospects may tell you things like; “We like your offer, but at the moment, we have set our budget based on other priorities.”
This is incredible and valuable feedback. If they truly believe your value proposition, then you are dealing with one of the following:
- The benefit of what you’re selling really isn’t important. If this is the case, you need to do the research to find something that is.
- You are not effective in communicating the benefits. In this situation, line up with the priorities of your prospect and establish the urgency.
Question your potential client’s current priorities. Ask if these priorities accurately mirror the goals of the company. Ask if you were to deliver on the outcome you promise would the current priorities change. If you get a yes to these questions, you know your prospect doesn’t believe you.
If you continue to struggle to convince prospects to prioritize your benefits over existing priorities, your problem isn’t your prospects. It means your value proposition isn’t compelling enough. In this case, go back to that basics and re-evaluate until you find one that is.
4. “I don't have the money.”
This is different from the above “I don’t want to spend the money” in that the prospect genuinely can’t afford your product.
You really don’t want to continue trying to “sell” the value of your offer to your prospect. The potential client might believe that you will deliver 20 times on their investment. But if they don’t have the money, they don’t have the money.
If you continually butt up against this objection despite having done your pre-qualification right, you have three options:
- Move on. Readjust your pre-qualification process and find prospects with the right budget.
- Consider your price points. Do some price comparisons with others in your target market. It’s possible you’re overpriced. Think about lowering your price.
- Create an on-ramp product. Create a lower-priced offer for your clients. Provide some value at a lower level to help produce revenue for the company that can then help them ramp up efforts with your original offer.
Understand the Objections
Understanding these 4 objections is part of your daily sales process. It’s important to realize that just because prospects aren’t saying them out loud doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking them.
Ignore them… and put your own company at risk.
Once Steve began to take these issues seriously and tackled the four objections, his business changed for the better. His sales cycle went from 60 days to 45 days, and his conversion rate improved by 23%.
The improvement in Steve’s business is not accidental or a fluke. If you do what he did—learn the common objections and how to combat them – you'll not only speed up your sales cycle, and increase average ticket size, but you'll be perfecting your pre-qualification skills as you go!
- 7 Easy Ways to Boost Sales Fast - April 11, 2017
- How to Overcome 4 “Hidden” Sales Objections - March 24, 2017
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"Having a well-defined target market will help you differentiate the dead weight from the cargo." Frank Bria