If it weren’t for objections everybody would be in sales. Without objections there’d be no need for companies to pay big, fat commission checks. So, while none of us likes objections, we must accept them as part of the business and make sure we know how to overcome them.
Your main goal when faced with an objection is to turn the objection around into a reason to purchase our service. If a prospect raises the ever-popular “Your rates are too high” objection, counter it by saying, “Our prices accurately reflect the value you’ll be getting from Sunteck. And good value is important to you, isn’t it?”
Occasionally you’ll run into a prospect in the traffic or purchasing department who’s sure he’s seen everything there is to see regarding freight companies. In other words, he’s seen it all. You might hear, “Get right to the bottom line and show me your rates?” Generally, all this person really wants is attention, and to show you how much he knows about our industry. Recognize his expertise and give him all the attention he craves. This is always a better way to handle a tough customer than to put him down. With compliments and kindness you can eventually win him over, or at least wear him down.
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”
– W. Clement Stone
People love to buy but hate to be sold. Objections are inevitable. Not only should you expect objections, I think you should welcome them. An objection is a positive part of the sales process. A purchasing VP who gives you an objection is listening closely. They’re considering buying your service to solve their transportation problems. And most importantly, their objection gives you an opportunity to answer the objection and add one more good reason why they should buy from you now.
Expect objections, but never create them. Prepare a list of the top ten objections your customers and prospects have had with all their motor carriers in the past and then prepare two or three appropriate responses to answer each one.
When faced with an objection, first restate the question or statement.
- “The rates are too high?”
- “You feel your service is too slow?”
- “You’re worried about damage?”
- “You wish we offered next day service to Cleveland?”
Give the prospect an opportunity to confirm your understanding of his objection, and hopefully your prospective client will give additional reasons for his or her objection.
Clarify the objection.
- “I’m curious why you feel that way?”
- “Could you be more specific, please?”
- “Do you need more information?”
Remember this is not a contest. Nobody should win or lose. This should be a conversation where two people are answering questions and gathering information.
After you’ve re-stated the question, and clarified the objection, and you’re sure you understand the objection fully, then answer it. Don’t just handle your customer’s objections, instead answer them. Answer the objection head on, honestly, simply, and succinctly. Handle objections early and often. A direct approach to handling objection guarantees greater sales results.
The right questions at the beginning of your presentation can help prevent objections at the end of it. For example, ask questions to confirm that your prospect has the authority to make a decision by himself to make sure you don’t hear, “I need to talk to Mr. Anderson about this,” right before you’re ready to close.
Be careful about what you say when faced with an objection based on one of your competitor’s services. I handle a prospect’s question, “What makes you think your truckload service to Akron is better than XYZ Truckload Carriers?” by responding, “I’ve never been a customer of theirs. I can only tell you what our customers say about Sunteck’s excellent service to Akron. I can be very specific with you about what Sunteck’s services are like. Then it’s up to you Mr. Prospect, to make a comparison.”
If I’m told that another carrier is also presently under consideration and asked to give an opinion of them, I reply, “It’s a fine company. The key is for you to determine who can give you the greatest value. Who’s going to help your bottom line? And when you run into difficulties, who is going to be there to solve your problems? I am. I’m the person who’s going to provide all of that for you. Through me and my access to all of the resources within Sunteck, we’ll get the job done.”
If you worked for a company that offered objection-proof service, you’d have no competitors. Every transportation company in the country has a shortcoming or limitation. If your prospect finds it, don’t try to prove him wrong. The fact that our service isn’t perfect doesn’t lower its potential value to the prospect, but the fact that you acknowledged the objection’s validity might help you build trust and rapport. Admitting our service’s imperfection also helps give the prospect a sense of control that may reduce his fear of making a buying decision.
When possible, let prospects answer their own objections. Sometimes you can stop an objection in its tracks by asking, “Could you tell me why you feel that way?” If your prospect can’t answer, then you and the prospect know the objection has little or no validity. If your prospect does answer with a more specific objection, you have a chance to eliminate it and move one step closer to the close.
Buying decisions are risky for your prospects. Choosing the wrong carrier can be harmful to the prospect’s career. Objections are the only way they have to help make sure that risk will pay off for them. If you can eliminate those objections, you’ll help provide the reassurance they need to say yes.