When we extend the invitation to purchase wine to our telephone customer, many times we hear an objection, or a reason the person can’t (or won’t) buy. Perhaps customers feel it isn’t polite to just say no to the calling person, or maybe—they really are still thinking about purchasing.
What we may hear upon asking for the wine sale is, “I have too much wine in my cellar,” or “That’s just too expensive for me right now!” Depending on the forcefulness of the customer and the manner in which they offer one of these objections, the average telephone sales person will accept the objection and give up the possibility of a sale.
A more constructive approach would be to look at this objection as an opportunity instead of a roadblock. It is an opportunity to learn more about what the customer is thinking and feeling. They have, figuratively, put up their hands and said, “I’m not ready to say yes – I’m still thinking over your offer.” It’s up to you to find out what is behind the objection. Is it real – they really don’t want to buy? Or, are they just not ready yet in the course of this conversation, because they have doubts or concerns that you haven’t yet uncovered?
Be very glad that the customer has raised an objection. You now have the opportunity to engage further with the customer by learning more about what they are thinking. Instead of jumping to answer the objection, which is the instinct some sale speople would apply, consider it a circle of dialogue that can now begin between you and your customer. Here’s what I recommend when you hear an objection:
First, acknowledge the objection. This doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with it. Just acknowledge what the customer has said. Perhaps you’ll say, “I understand, I see,” or, “That’s a great problem to have!” If you jump to answer an objection before even acknowledging it, you have created an adversarial relationship with your customer. You have essentially dis-respected your customer and rejected what they had to say.
In my classes, I often talk about acknowledging what the other person says as a life lesson, not just a sales message. How many arguments or ill will could be avoided if we simply started by acknowledging what the other person – whether children, parents, spouses, friends or politicians – has to say? What you resist, persists. So put the objection on the table – “I hear you say that you need to talk this over with __________” , and you will bring your customer one step closer to you, because you have agreed what you are talking about at the outset.”
And now, still don’t answer the objection. Ask a question!
For some reason, this is the hardest part for my students to learn – it is more powerful to be able to ask great questions than it is to have all the answers in the book. By asking the right question here, you can begin to achieve even more rapport with your customer, and you display that you care about what they think and what their concerns are.
“I hear you say that you have too much wine in your cellar right now. What wines are you collecting?” That’s the question which will give you the information you need to continue the dialogue with your customer.
Figure out the power question to ask when your customer objects, and you are on your way to the sale.
After you learn what’s behind the customer’s objection, now is the time for a power wine description of the right wine for this customer, and another close. Nobody can script this for you – it requires excellent listening skills and an ability to think on your feet about where to go and what to offer when you learn what your customer is thinking.
But I guarantee that if you treat an objection as an opportunity to learn more about a customer, you will ultimately sell more wine.