Handling the Mystery Objection: Now What?
Whoa! You’ve done everything right, you’re cruising toward a major sale, you think it’s in the bag, when suddenly, for no reason that seems to make much sense, the customer balks and the deal goes up in smoke. What just happened?
Most salespeople can only scratch their heads and wonder. An Action Selling-trained professional knows how to find out. Here’s the key: Action Selling defines an objection as the customer’s response to an unasked question.
An objection is the customer’s response to an unasked question.
If you do a good job in what Action Selling calls Act 3, by Asking the Best Questions, you will hear fewer objections when it’s time to ask the customer for commitment. That’s because you will have uncovered and addressed possible obstacles before they surface in the form of objections.
But even the best needs assessment can miss a hidden snag. And because conditions change in the customer’s world, just as they do in yours, a new concern may have arisen since you conducted your original needs assessment. Maybe that new concern is what actually lies behind the sudden mystery objection that threatens to derail your sale.
How do you know, and what can you do about it? Action Selling teaches that when you hear an objection, you should always return to Act 3. In other words, ask open-ended questions designed to ensure that you really understand the objection—and to uncover the true reasons behind it.
You can’t help the customer solve a problem unless you understand the problem. No matter how many questions you have asked, if you run into an objection…you haven’t asked enough questions.
For a vivid illustration of how to use questioning skills to handle objections, see my book Questions: The Answer to Sales.
Action Selling in Action
Ken Prenger is general manager of the Prenger Implement Store Inc., an AGCO farm-equipment dealer in Minster, Ohio. He sells tractors that can cost $250,000 or more. On a flight returning from an AGCO Action Selling seminar in another state earlier this year, Prenger reflected on a deal he had recently lost and thought about what he learned in the workshop.
“Just before I left to attend the training program, a customer told me that he wasn’t going to purchase a High Horsepower tractor from us, even though he needed it,” Prenger tells us. “I was very disappointed because I had planned on the sale.”
The seminar taught that the way to handle an objection was to return to Act 3 and ask some questions. “When I reviewed this customer’s objection on the plane flight home, I realized I had never uncovered the real reason he wasn’t purchasing,” Prenger says.
Prenger arranged another meeting with the farmer, asked the right questions, and discovered that the true reason the customer hadn’t bought the tractor was because he intended to buy another farm this year. “He needed to keep his credit open to make the land purchase,” Prenger learned.
The land opportunity had arisen only after Prenger completed several steps in his sales process, so it wasn’t an issue when he conducted his original needs assessment.
“Since the real concern was that the farmer needed to keep his credit open, I proposed a lease option and explained the benefits of cash flow and not tying up his credit,” Prenger says. “I closed the deal right after I returned from the Action Selling class.
“This sale was a direct result of attending your great program.”
For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
Discover the remarkable power that can lie in a question. Check out my book Questions: The Answer to Sales.