Handling objections is a critical skill to increasing sales.
Effectively handling objections requires that you master what you say, when you say it and how you say it. When clients and prospects have all their objections addressed during the sales conversation, the close is a natural conclusion to the sales process. Today, we dive into 3 steps to successfully handle objections.
Step 1: Write it out
The first step to handling objections is to write out your sales conversation. Few people would head out in the ocean to sail without first taking lessons and practicing their sailing skills. So why is it that so many entrepreneurs and financial advisors “wing” what they say and how they say it to clients and prospects? The problem with winging anything is that random actions produce random results. This makes it hard, if not impossible, to determine what is actually working.
Then, we believe that the prospect said ‘NO’ because the solution wasn’t right for them. While this may be true, we aren’t able to know for certain because we haven’t captured and analyzed the correct data. By writing out your scripts, you are better equipped to measure which ones are producing results and which ones need to be improved.
Start by writing out a specific script for each step of the sales cycle. Typically, this will include: prospecting, pre-qualifying leads, appointment setting, handling objections, story selling, referral gathering and closing. The next step is to tweak the script until you get the results you desire in your marketing plan.
Step 2: Practice, practice, practice
Most financial consultants and small business owners believe they don’t have time to practice what they say. After all, who has extra hours in their day? The reality is you don’t have time to NOT practice. One of the easiest ways to dramatically improve your results, in any area, is to practice. One of my favorite quotes says it all, “Amateurs practice to get it right, masters practice until they can’t get it wrong.” If you want to become a top producer in any field, you must master what you say. Practicing with the intent of mastering is where sales mastery begins.
Step 3: Test and tweak
It is critical to pay attention to each step of the process so you can tweak what needs to change, especially when your prospect says ‘no’ or shares another objection.
I recently agreed to support my children’s baseball fund raising efforts. Part of my role included coordinating a raffle and helping the 400+ kids in our league sell raffle tickets. There were over 70 raffle gifts including two grand prize winners who got to bring 18 friends to a baseball game at the pool at our MLB Field. The kids who sold a certain number of tickets could win gifts including an iPad and premier bat. As you can imagine, the children were very excited to win the gifts.
To support the kids, I wrote out a sample script to handle objections and help them sell more tickets. I then had my children test the script with prospects they didn’t personally know. Some prospects clearly don’t like baseball and one even slammed the door in my son’s face. I asked my son, “If a person doesn’t like baseball, what do we need to do?” We agreed it would be better to focus on prizes that didn’t include baseball. Since we had numerous raffle items for restaurants and most people love to eat, we changed the focus to food prizes. We tweaked our presentation both for handling objections and providing additional benefits that would resonate with the prospects even if they didn’t like baseball. The result was a message that produced a closing rate of 95%.
The biggest insight to increase your sales is to pay attention to what is working followed by tweaking the script based on the results. Make sure and take the time to identify and focus on the benefits the prospect wants (not what you want). When you follow these three simple steps, you can’t help but improve your sales!