When a customer begins to express objections (or as I prefer to call them concerns) during the selling process this can be very, very good news!
Firstly, they may be genuinely considering your idea and as they are thinking about it some possible hurdles spring to mind.
And secondly as you will see far too many salespeople give up at the first sign of resistance leaving those of use who are comfortable handling customer concerns with the business!
There are a number of ways to deal with concerns expressed by customers. The first important point is that you mustn’t panic. It is quite rare for a sale to go through to completion without the customer expressing at least one concern!
The fact that a customer has raised a concern does not mean that they are not going to go ahead. Relax- the sale is not lost!
Professional sellers understand that customers raising concerns is just part of the selling process and they prepare to handle them with persistence. This puts them into a different league.
A piece of international research into the reaction of salespeople to customer concerns revealed that:
• 44% of salespeople gave up after receiving the first customer concern
• 22% of salespeople gave up after receiving the second customer concern
• 16% of salespeople gave up after receiving the third customer concern
• 10% of salespeople gave up after receiving the fourth customer concern
This leaves just 8% of the salespeople still selling after the fourth concern.
The other startling conclusion from the survey is that 73% of the customers voiced five or more concerns before being sure enough to place an order!
Combine the figures together and the research tells us that just 8% of the salespeople will win 73% of the business that’s available.
It is therefore vital that unless you want to join the ranks of the sales no hopers that you need to get really superb at handling customer concerns. Being able to do this will place you into the top few percent of all of the salespeople competing against you.
Truly great salespeople enjoy eating customer concerns for breakfast!
As stated earlier I view customers expressing concerns as a good sign. They can mean that the customer is really starting to think about going ahead and are starting to consider the practicalities involved.
Or they can indicate that there is some aspect of the product or service that the customer is seeking more information about. You can reframe all expressed concerns as being requests for further information. The customer is looking to you, the salesperson to answer this request.
How you initially respond to the customer’s concern is important. You want to appear calm, professional and unruffled but also grateful and even delighted that they raised the concern. For example, after hearing the customer express a concern say,
“That’s a good point. I’m glad you brought that up.”
“That’s an important point and it’s the initial reaction of some of our best customers.”
“I’m really glad you raised that point”
Once you have initially responded in this manner you can then move onto handling the concern in a variety of ways.
Drill further into the concern
It is often necessary to drill further down into a concern to understand it more fully.
You can ask, “I’m sure you’ve got a good reason for raising that concern. Can I ask what it is?”
This will result in the customer expanding upon what lies behind the expressed concern so that you can deal with it more effectively.
So rather than get concerned about concerns – learn to love them!
Simon Hazeldine is the bestselling author of four business books that have been endorsed by famous business leaders including Duncan Bannatyne from BBC TV’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ and multi-billionaire founder and CEO of Dell Computers, Michael Dell.
Simon is in demand as a keynote speaker; performance consultant and facilitator in the areas of leadership, organisational performance and sales force effectiveness. He has a Masters Degree in the Psychology of Performance and extensive international business experience.