Today’s post is by Lance Tyson, president and CEO of Tyson Group. Lance is a seasoned entrepreneur known for training sales talent for some of the biggest names in professional sports and entertainment, including Topgolf, the Dallas Cowboys, the Miami Dolphins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lance is author of the best-selling book, Selling Is an Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World.
We’ve all had experiences where we feel a sale is going pretty well, and we feel the momentum gaining. Then, out of the blue, brake lights. Everything comes to a screeching halt. A prospect will suddenly tell you that your price is too high, or that they don’t have the budget, or that they aren’t sure your product or solution really has value.
The job of the sales professional is to take those sales objections and turn them into opportunities. Sometimes, the best outcomes stem from situations where you have to overcome the greatest obstacles.
The Value of Proactive Dialogue
The other day I was driving down the highway when, all of a sudden, another car swerved in front of me and cut me off. My initial reaction was fear, because I had narrowly avoided a serious accident. Then, on the heels of a rush of adrenaline, I became angry at the other driver’s carelessness.
There were three levels to my reaction, with varying degrees of control:
- React. I immediately hit the brakes and honked. This reaction was pure reflex, and I had very little control over it.
- Respond. I considered whether I should find a safe place to pull over and regroup, or catch up to the other driver and flip him off. Ultimately, I chose not to do either, but considering these options required me to evaluate the situation and make some sort of decision, which offered me a bit more control.
- Anticipate. I realized I had just experienced a near miss, and recognized I was still upset. Instead of responding to the other driver directly, I turned my thoughts toward figuring out how to avoid having this kind of experience again. I then took some proactive, corrective action by lowering my speed and leaving over 30 feet between me and the vehicle in front of me. This option enabled me to exercise some influence over my experience, and afforded the greatest amount of control.
Salespeople are faced with the same levels of reaction and control every day. They can either choose to react reflexively when an objection comes up, or they can choose to take proactive control of the situation by having a dialogue that addresses the objection before the prospect raises it.
If, for example, the objection is about price, salespeople can either get blindsided and lose the sale, or they can start talking about value well before it turns into a problem.
How to Resolve Sales Objections
Salespeople often get caught in a trap of reactivity around objections. When this happens, they start throwing better deals at the buyer without truly understanding what the objection is about. This puts the salesperson into a reactionary stance, and turns the negotiating process into a game of Whack-a-Mole.
Cost. Value. Budget. Price. Those words mean very different things to different people. In every single sale, be it complex or simple, there comes a time when you’re going to have to get the prospect to define, explain, and defend how they are defining these terms.
Rather than being reactive, it’s better to have a candid, proactive dialogue about objections. This enables us to get a clear understanding of what the buyer is actually saying, rather than making incorrect assumptions.
To establish a dialogue, follow these four steps:
- Extract the sales objections. Rather than hiding from potential obstacles, good salespeople lean directly into them. Ask the prospect, “What is your biggest concern about this deal?” or, “Is there anything that could derail this?” It’s important to have this dialogue early in the process so you can identify potential problems before they arise.
- Clarify concerns/issues. Make sure you understand what the prospect is really saying. Don’t assume you know – instead, have the courage to ask the tough questions.
- Find points of agreement. Identify common ground, and keep the end objective of the deal at top of mind.
- Resolve the sales objections. You won’t be able to negotiate unless the objections get resolved, so find ways to either remove the obstacles or navigate around them, in order to move forward.
To learn more about how to gain a competitive edge in your selling process, contact Tyson Group at https://tysongroup.com/contact/.