Coping with rejection

First, think of it as an objection, not a rejection. It’s not that final yet. And let’s embrace and welcome objections. Points of disagreement help us to know that the buyer is at least interested.

An objection at this stage means:

  • We have not chosen the right benefits for that particular buyer
  • We have failed to get full agreement at each stage

It means that we have failed to sell effectively.

Objections should not come as a surprise. We need to anticipate objections and plan how to handle them. If possible, we need to build the answers to objections into our sales presentation.

We also want to keep objections small. That means checking continuously that the buyer understands and agrees with all points made so far, so they can raise small objections or ask minor questions early on rather than save them all up to the end. A good salesperson asks for the order, sale or commission early and often to see if any objections remain.

When an objection is raised, we must first of all decide what sort of objection it is. Ask yourself:

  • Is it a real objection?
  • Is it an excuse, a smoke screen?
  • Is there a hidden objective? Are they really just trying to barter down the price?

The smoke-screen

Confronted by a smoke-screen objection our objective should be to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

There are various techniques that enable us to do this:

Simply repeat it (with a slight tone of astonishment) and pause. We should at this stage be in control of the situation, and able to be frank, without being belligerent. In effect, we are throwing out a challenge to the buyer to substantiate the objection. If it is really only an excuse, it is likely to evaporate.

Switch immediately to another topic, and ignore it. By ignoring it we are saying that we recognise it to be an excuse and we hope it will not be raised again. If what we thought was a smoke-screen is in fact a real objection, you customer will repeat it. In either event we will have made progress.

The stall

Confronted by a stall, our objective should be to prove that nothing will be gained by delaying but that something will be lost. We need to confirm with the client that there are gains that have been discussed. We then need to get them to accept that a delay will be costly.

The price

Confronted by a price objection, our objective should be to get agreement that what we are offering is value for money and that the client’s need for our product is greater than the need for the money or for some alternative. One options to propose reducing your offering in order to cut the price and ask which bit of the service they want you to drop to come in at the price they seek.

Use "yes, but" to agree that you may seem expensive but there are excellent reasons for you being value for money, and why the client, in particular, would benefit in important and specific ways by using you rather than someone cheaper.

What about hidden objections ?

Ask whether there are any other objections. Ask whether the objection raised is the only objection. Above all, listen to every single thing the customer says. The customer is certain to give hints if there are hidden objections.

The most effective way to handle objections is to anticipate them and to tailor your presentation so you overcome them step by step.

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