What’s Behind Your Question
Embrace Customer Objections, Don’t Overcome Them
You’re shopping for a new car and you’re about to make a deal. It’s the make, model and color you want. But, you’re anxious; you’re just not sure. Your anxiety exists on several levels.
- That’s a lot of money for a car (you fondly remember your first car, and it cost less than $10,000 new).
- This is a good manufacturer, but are any of the new cars that reliable anymore?
- Would I be better off buying a “certified” used car, and not absorbing the automatic 1/3 depreciation as soon as I drive it off of the lot?
Price, reliability and value. Three very common objections that buyers raise when they buy a car, or anything for that matter. Is the price fair? Is the product reliable? Am I getting value for my money?
Salespeople are trained to overcome objections. Listen to the customer, and then show them in a rational and clear manner why their objection is not valid.
Price is too high? In comparison to similar models, you get the following features, plus you get additional features such as ….., all for an equal price.
Or – Independent surveys have measured our reliability against other manufacturers, and we are rated #1 or #2 in every category.
Buying is an emotional process, it is not a factual process. Sure, there are factual analyses and decisions along the way. Specifications, capabilities, features, wish list and other considerations all play into the process of identifying the product you want and the company you want to do business with. But when that process is nearing an end, the decision to buy becomes emotional.
Curiously, when a customer is raising objections they are usually not doing so for factual reasons. Rather, they are objecting because of an emotional issue underlying their reticence to buy.
Studies have shown that the two highest points of anxiety for a buyer are immediately before they make their decision, and immediately after they make their decision. Is this decision correct? Did I make the correct decision?
The best salespeople work with their customers to explore the emotions and the anxiety underlying their buying decisions. When a customer asks a question or raises an objection, the salesperson should try to understand what is motivating the concern.
One of the best questions to ask is – Tell me what’s behind your question? Or, Tell me what’s behind your concern?
If you ask someone what’s behind their objection, you are asking them to help you understand the anxiety they are experiencing. If you understand the anxiety and emotions driving behaviors, you can better understand the behaviors.
At that point, the salesperson no longer is overcoming objections. Rather, they are alleviating concerns and anxiety. This is an important distinction.
To overcome objections is a point – counterpoint discussion. There is inherently a winner and loser in this type of discussion. Understanding concerns and alleviating anxiety is an aligned activity that creates a mutually satisfactory outcome. There is satisfaction for all parties in this type of transaction.
Next time a customer raises an objection, don’t immediately try to overcome it. Validate it. Explore it. Understand it. Align with the customer instead of “overcoming” the customer.