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Business is all about selling- your products, your services or your expertise. In the selling process, something that turns up as predictably as the sun rising tomorrow are objections. Yes, objections are a vital part of the game- they are intrinsic to the whole process of negotiating a deal. Very seldom are you lucky enough to have some one say “This suits me perfectly in all aspects. I’ll take it”. Objections, as is often said, should be welcomed because they indicate a ray of interest. The fact that the potential buyer has a few objections indicates that he is thinking about your product. He is weighing your solution against other options.

Here, in my experience, 7 Objections and how to deal with them:

  1. Price: More often than not, this is one the earliest objections as typified by: ” Your price is too high”.” It costs too much” or ” It’s beyond my budget” . Here they could be saying several things. They may not see commensurate value- in which case you need to demonstrate the value. They may say the initial cost is too high. Or the total cost is too high over a period of time. It’s a good idea to speak of the benefits they derive. Explain the various components and the time frames involved. Don;t forget to ask : “In comparison with what?”. It’s tempting to ask for premium features at rock bottom prices- but who gives that to you?
  2. Need: Is this a genuine objection as in ” We have just signed up with some one and we don’t have a need just yet”?. it could be a ploy to see how interested you are in making a sale. Needs are based on intensity as well as a time frame. For someone the need may be critical while for some one else it may be at best a mild desire. Asking insightful questions is the best way to understand the extent and intensity of the need. Once this is done, examples of how your product has helped others in similar circumstances can get you their time and attention.
  3. Habit: This objection is reflected in statements like “We have always done it this way” and ” We are quite happy with our existing product”. Again asking questions and showing how much more beneficial your solution is can do the trick. I have found that for the most part, the habit objection is more closely related to the need objection rather than the price objection.
  4. Policy: “Our corporate policy does not permit this” or ” We need to get approval from our Head Office in the US” are examples of objections involving policy. These, like the others, may be just a front or may have some merit. Your explaining the benefits of your solution can break the ice and get you more insight as to whether the objection is genuine or a tactic. In any case, it is advisable to understand all that’s involved in getting those approvals. Guard against having to spend time and energy far in excess of the benefit you get by making that sale.
  5. Delivery: Objections can also be raised with regard to delivery. This can have components of time as well as location- for example ” We want this to be launched in 10 locations within the next 2 months”. Be sure of what you can do and cannot. Ask if all 10 locations need to be covered immediately. Is there scope for a phased introduction? Speak of the benefits of such an approach. If genuinely you cannot meet the needs of the client, say so right in the beginning. It is better to lose the order than to get it and not be in a position to execute it effectively.
  6. Status Quo: This objection is built around an existing supplier. While it has some element of the haboit objection, it is more related to the comfort, advantage etc of an existing supplier. ” We have been dealing with them for 5 years” or ” They introduced that system here and have been maintianing it ever since”.  Speak of how you score over the existing supplier. Here focus more on your advantages and do not run down that supplier.
  7. Personal Bias: At the end of the day, there is no rule which says that every one should like you or your solution. At times, buyers use their personal bias ( not in that they don’t like your face) but in relation to size, reputation, image etc ” We prefer to deal with companies of similar size” or “We only buy from MNCs “. Here again, I would say understand the basis of the objection. If you can genuinely offer a competitive solution, it is still worth pursuing the deal. Sell your strengths which could include better knowledge of local conditions or greater familiarity with the market and industry conditions.

As I said before, objections are part and parcel  of the sales process. “Chi disprezza compra” my Marketing Prof. used to say- which in Italian means ” He who criticises buys”.

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This is Post No: 269 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.