May 4, 2023
Master The Art Of Overcoming Customer Objections
Overcoming customer objections is a critical skill for all account managers, particularly in highly competitive markets. Resolving these concerns effectively can significantly impact the bottom line. In fact, a recent study found that top-performers are 10 times more effective at overcoming objections than their lower-performing peers. In this article, we explore strategies and tactics to help you master the art of overcoming objections and achieve greater success in your career. In the end, it often comes down to the art of the question.
Active Listening, Empathy & Emotional Intelligence
Active listening is crucial for building trust and rapport with your customers. By genuinely listening and acknowledging their concerns, you demonstrate your understanding and strengthen your relationship. Examples of effective active listening techniques include paraphrasing, asking clarifying questions, and maintaining appropriate body language. Great listening skills, coupled with the ability to empathize with your customer, is key to overcoming objections. Coach Andrew Ettenhofer urges his clients to proactively listen to their customers’ objections, as they provide good feedback to consider and learn from. In many cases, the objection raised is not the “real” objection – it is often masking a much deeper concern or fear. That issue could be a known business challenge, like features and vendor reliability. Objections might also be more personal and emotional issues for the individual, like fear of failure, or the need to succeed to support advancement within their company. To maximize the chance for success, you will need to not only address the objections on the surface, but also get to the underlying root cause.
Ask Open-Ended Questions & Uncover Root Causes
To uncover the root causes of customer objections, ask open-ended questions that encourage them to share more information. Examples of open-ended questions include:
- “Can you please elaborate on the specific concerns you have?”
- “What would be an ideal solution for you in this situation?”
- “If you found the perfect solution, what type of business opportunities could be unlocked?”
Additionally, focus on uncovering the underlying buyer issue behind the objection. According to Coach Andrew, objections are not always related to price; they can also stem from factors such as timing or specific fears. Understanding these underlying concerns and taking the time to get to know the customer’s perspective and circumstances can significantly contribute to overcoming objections and building strong relationships. Try to understand what this purchase might mean to them personally. Consider questions like:
- “How does this solution impact your personal goals for this year?”
- “If this product delivers on expectations, how will that impact your day-to-day role?”
This deeper understanding will enable you to address their concerns more effectively and offer tailored solutions.
Understanding Common Types Of Objections
Objections come in many shapes and styles, but there are some common types. When Coach Andrew works with clients, he highlights the importance of training and rehearsal, specifically looking for common objections. By proactively anticipating objections, account managers can better prepare themselves to address them effectively and navigate the sales process with confidence.
Here are some of the most prevalent objections, a common underlying concern, and some suggestions for questions to help you uncover the root cause.
Lack of perceived value and concerns about product/service effectiveness.
Customers may question the effectiveness of your product or service, or they may not see the value it can bring to their organization. This type of concern can be an indication that they are overwhelmed with workload in their current state, and their desperation to resolve it. To address these concerns, ask questions like:
- “What are the main challenges you face that our solution can address?”
- “Would you like to hear about a similar company that faced the same issue and how our solution helped them?”
Fear of change, disruption to current processes, and compatibility/integration issues.
Change can be daunting, and customers may worry about potential disruptions to their existing processes or compatibility issues with their current systems. This could be an indication that they or their staff might be less experienced, and the importance of having a solution be more turnkey. Try asking:
- “How do you currently handle this issue in your existing processes?”
- “How can we work together to find a solution that addresses your concerns?”
Timing or budget constraints
Customers may have objections related to timing or budget constraints. This often indicates that your customer may not have either the business case for the purchase established, or the budget allocated to follow through with a purchase. To better understand their needs and explore alternative solutions, consider asking:
- “Has the organization aligned around the business case for this purchase?
- “Who/how/which function or unit is funding this project? Has the budget been released from finance?”
Uncertainty about the vendor or company
Trust is essential in any business relationship. This type of objection can often be a reflection from a past vendor that failed to deliver or perhaps went out of business. If a customer has concerns about your company’s expertise or reputation, try asking:
- “Do you have any questions about our company’s expertise in this area?”
- “Would you like to speak to other similar companies that have utilized our product?”
Need for internal approval or consensus
Sometimes, customers require additional information or the consensus of other stakeholders before deciding. In these situations, ask questions like:
- “Can you help me understand your internal decision process? Is that process complete?”
- “Other than yourself, who else will be part of the final decision?”
Overcoming objections is a crucial skill for success in account management. By understanding common types of objections, actively listening, asking open-ended questions, and demonstrating value, you can confidently navigate these challenges and achieve greater success in your career. Reach out to a coach and practice the art of powerful questioning, so you can continue to improve your ability to hear the “why beneath the why”.
Book your session with Coach Andrew Ettenhofer or another TaskHuman leadership coach today!