Ethical sales training part 5

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Handling objects and Closing. 

This is step 4, Handling Objections.  We had “Contact”,  “Qualifying”,  “Presentation / Conviction”  stages. 

sales training
Agreement

This can be a somewhat tricky stage, particularly if you are an ethical person and are committed to doing what is best for the customer. On the other hand, if all the previous steps, particularly “Qualifying” were done properly, this can just be where you are tying up loose ends, or confirming the conviction that was built in the other stages.

Sales training and handling objections

From the perspective of your company, it is almost always going to be adventitious to get the prospect to agree to buy while you are there, or during the phone call or Zoom meeting.  This is even true if the prospect has just gotten to this place on your website: you really don’t want them to leave the site before they “click to purchase”.  

 For the unscrupulous person, this can be the point where the “pressure” comes in, or the fear tactics are applied, if you are selling insurance, or  the limited-time-offer gets presented, or the piling on of extra offers.   By extra offers, what I mean is something many of us have seen, and what is called “the stack” in the online world. Where additional programs and services are tallied up to a very high value, to entice you.

  But let’s get back to what should be happening at this stage of the sales training process.

Really, if the presentation is put together correctly, you will have already asked the prospect if they wanted to buy your product a few times already.  (We will cover this more in “closing”).  As you remember, if you do a presentation correctly after almost every important point you will be asking for the order or at least getting a “yes” to a minor close.   

In any case, at some point you have finished your presentation, and you ask for the order. 

Sometimes, when you ask for the order, they will just say okay, let’s go, or whatever way they say “yes”.  But if they don’t say yes, and they say something like:   we want to think it over,   or I have to talk to my wife, husband, partner, boss etc.   or they say thank you we will get back to you, or we would like to get some other quotes, or it costs too much,  or  something else. 

The idea of handling objects is to determine if they are really missing some information that they need to have, or they don’t quite trust you, they are just hesitant, just need to slow down, or if there is a valid reason they should not buy.  We will call a valid reason for not buying a “Condition”.

 
We first want to find out if we are dealing with an objection or a condition. Let’s use these definitions:
An objection = a request for more information or they want to digest or confirm information they have heard.
A condition =  a valid reason for not proceeding with the sale. 

In one case they are just asking for more information or confirmation of existing information, maybe not directly or even consciously,
You have told them you are fairly priced and safety conscious, but they don’t quite trust you, or they never thought about a certain aspect until you mentioned it.  Maybe you have explained a certain benefit or aspect of your service to them, but they don’t understand it, but they don’t want to appear foolish in asking for clarification.  Maybe they really have all their questions answered, but they were thinking they should need to talk to many companies or simply that they expected to take a week to decide.   

These are just examples of why someone may not want to buy right away. They may just need to slow things down. 

A condition may be things like:   They really can’t afford it.  They have already committed to purchase another product, they don’t have any credit, they don’t own the property, they cannot legally enter into the agreement, they are not actually the decision maker.  Frankly, most conditions should have been smoked out during the qualifying stage.  If qualifying was done correctly there should be very few valid reasons why they can’t buy. 

Assuming we don’t have a condition, what has to happen is you need to determine the actual reason they are not ready to buy right now, and then satisfy that objection in a way that they’ll hear it.  

As we have talked about many times in this sales training, through effective communication we are helping the prospective customer reach a decision that is good for them (and us), but if it is not good for them, we don’t want to proceed with the sale.

They may ask you a question about something that you explained perfectly because, really, they just want to slow things down. They just want to check.  So, in many ways this stage is just a secondary presentation, but it has a different objective. 

If it’s an objection, and you have qualified properly, you should be able to overcome it. You should be able to satisfy the objection because the objection is just coming from wanting to slow down. They’re not quite ready or they did not understand something.

Just like planning your main presentation, the process of handling objections needs to be thought out in advance. When you first start out with a new presentation or a new product you may not know what the objections will be.   So, you may have to just “do your best”, the first time. But once you hear an objection that you don’t know the answer to, it is your job to think it through and come up with the best way to address it. Just like you did in the initial presentation/demonstration.  Also, the more objections you can anticipate, the ones you get EVERY TIME, they should simply be included in the presentation in such a way that they are “answered” and agreed to (the bridging questions or minor closes) as part of the main body of the presentation. 

It’s just how it works, right?  But when you go through this process and you realize, I couldn’t answer that objection.  The thing to do is go back and you talk with the rest of your team and ask, how do you answer this objection?  It is just like the song writing example, it is written and perfected before you perform it.

So that’s the idea of objections, and the important point here is first determining if it is an objection or a condition. So in any case, after you’ve answered all the objections, now you’re at the point where there is nothing else to do but make the appointment, sign the check, issue the purchase order, in other words, you ask for the order

Now, we’re still at an overview stage, we’re not down in the weeds, down in the details, but through every part of this, you’re actually doing closing already

Does this all make sense so far?   Should we move forward? 

So those are what’s called minor closes. You want to make sure that you’re not just going ahead, and the people are lost 10 miles behind you.  You’re also kind of confirming that they got that important point.

One of the things that might be in your presentation is, if it is appropriate, is you show them all your insurance documents, the current copies with the current year and so forth. Maybe reference letters.  So, in doing this demonstration presentation, you would be saying after you showed them in the insurance documents, you would use a minor close or a bridge question. You’d say, something to the effect of; do you feel good about the fact that we’re insured or is this the kind of company you’d like to work with, where we haven’t just told you we’re insured, but we’ve shown you the documents? So, the person says yes. When they say yes to one of these minor closes or bridge questions, you know that it’s checked off. It is not going to come back to haunt you later.

In this process we’ve talked about, that there’s a certain number of questions, a certain amount of information they have to have to make a sound decision but maybe when you were explaining that point, they weren’t paying attention. They heard their phone ding or saw a car drive by, and they lost you there. But that’s a point that they must be confident on for them to say yes later on. So, you want to make sure that they’ve heard all of these points.

So you might say, I just explained to you what we do when we take a tree down, including stump grinding and so forth. Was I clear about that? Do you have any questions about the details of the process?  They may say “No, I get it. I see how much work is involved” .

Or you might say, does that sound like what you expect? Did I explain that clearly?  Is that the way you would want it done?  Is that what you were looking for? When they say yes, now you can move on.  But if they look puzzled or say no, then you need to go back.  Maybe they did not understand it, but they weren’t going to interrupt you to say, I don’t know what you mean by “we’re going to grind it below the surface level”. They didn’t stop you to ask that question, so you give them a chance to ask and to confirm they did understand any important points of your presentation.

You’re making sure they heard what you said. You’re making sure they understood what you said AND how it’s relevant to them, and you’re giving them the chance to ask a question in case it wasn’t clear.

I’m going to say that right now. So have I made that clear? Am I making sense? 

Don’t say: Do you understand?   This phrasing can make them feel dumb,  always ask in a way where it was your fault if they didn’t understand.  Because after all it is your fault.  It is your job to explain things in an understandable way. Does that all make sense?

But asking if I made that clear, did I present that in a clear way? Was that understandable, the way I presented it? You’re always taking on the burden of any miscommunication or bad communication. You’re never laying it on them, you’re never saying, you should have understood that, (you dope).

Do you understand that? Like, what are you, stupid? That’s not said, but that’s kind of what it could feel like. Of course, I understand that. So, these are minor things.

Next, we will talk in more detail about “closing”, a key concept in sales training.


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