“I don’t see what your product could do for me”, says a prospect, “It is just too expensive”, says another. As sales reps, you face objections in every pitch and have probably tried some techniques to handle these objections. But, how effective are you in handling your prospect’s concerns?
At Salesken.ai we have the benefit of assisting and analyzing almost 1 million minutes of sales conversations every month. Our customers include companies in Education, Software, and the Financial Services industries. And their buyers are both businesses and consumers.
Our data shows that almost 1 in 3 of our conversations end without the sales rep responding or acknowledging all of their prospect’s objections, reducing the chances of deal closure and impacting the sales reps’ performance.
The Common, Ineffective techniques
A common technique used by sales reps to handle objections is Deflection. Reps often acknowledge and accept the prospect’s concerns, but instead of directly addressing them, continue with their pre-planned sales pitch. “It is too expensive” is met with, “I totally understand your concern, but let me explain to you this very cool feature my product has”. Eventually, some prospects will object again, and it’s likely the rep will use another ineffective technique -Justification. A prospect insists on your product or service lacking phone support and you shoot back that phone support is just not viable in this day and age.
In both these techniques, reps treat the objections as a hurdle to be surpassed before closure, not as genuine issues that need to be addressed.
By analyzing how top reps handle objections better we found that there were 4 clear actions that they did more consistently when faced with objections. They are:
Listen, Acknowledge, Verify & Address (LAVA)
Listen - Listen to the prospect’s objections without interrupting them. Sales reps often interrupt when an objection is raised, assume that this is what the prospect is about to say (Heuristic Bias) and provide ready-made answers. Our data shows that when talking to Top Reps customers spend 20% more time stating their objections. This is because these reps listen and allow the customer to complete their objections, before interjecting. Listening to the prospect allows you to understand the objection better and also shows that you care.
Acknowledge - Acknowledging the objection shows to the prospect that you have been actively listening. It also helps you prepare for your response. Acknowledging can be done using mirroring. Repeat the last few words (or the critical words) of the objection.
If a prospect says “I think this is way too expensive for us at the moment”, acknowledge with “I understand that you think the price is too high, in the current situation”. There could be two objections here and acknowledging them may help you see which one is more important (price or current situation)
Verify - The objections raised may be a smokescreen for something deeper. A price objection need not be about price, but the prospects’ inability to see value in the offering. This is an opportunity to probe further and verify the real concern.
Is the price too high because its over what the prospect had budgeted, or because somebody is offering a similar product/service for less?
Verifying the true cause of the objection will help you address your objection in the most convincing way. Our data shows that Top Reps follow up objections with probing questions almost 2 times more than the average rep.
Address - Once you have understood the objection it is very important to address it. Sometimes it's simple - objections about price can be tackled by ROI calculations straight out of your sales playbook (Reps using Salesken.ai would get these cues in real-time!). Sometimes, you may not have a ready answer. Even then it’s important to address the objection. You can say you do not have an answer and will consult an expert to get back to them. For objections like missing features or unsupported payment terms - you can accept that you cannot completely resolve the prospects concerns.
Either way, it’s very important to ensure an objection is addressed before the conversation is over.
We looked at our data and saw that the top reps address stated objections almost 50% more than other reps. It’s hard to determine if every answer was convincing, but just the act of addressing an objection seems to be a good sales practice.
Sales reps dread objections and view it as an obstacle to closures, but our data shows that the prospects who eventually convert raise a minimum of 3 objections. So the next time you face an objection, keep your fear at bay and use LAVA to seal the deal!