July 2018 – Issue 170
A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS
Dear Sales Executive:
How good are your sales reps at handling stalls and objections? I’ll bet they’re pretty bad. In fact, it’s probably their weakest link.
The Sales Board’s data shows that 90% of all salespeople are ineffective at dealing with stalls and objections. If your company is typical, that means nine out of 10 of your reps are leaving money on the table.
It’s an old problem, and sales training hasn’t helped much. I believe that’s because salespeople have been learning the wrong methods. It’s time to replace old ideas with better ones.
When it comes to stalls and objections, I believe that current sales training programs fail for three major reasons. In this edition of eCoach, let’s talk about the first one.
If you have a question about how to deal more effectively with stalls and objections, click on
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We are committed to your professional success.
Author of Action Selling
Stalls Vs. Objections: No, They Don’t Have the Same Solution
Everyone who has spent much time in a sales role has heard plenty of stalls and plenty of objections. Every sales training course you’re likely to encounter offers advice about how to overcome them. The trouble is, almost all of that advice is wrong.
I believe there are three main reasons why 90% of salespeople remain unable to cope effectively with stalls and objections, despite all the training that companies throw at the problem.
The first reason is that sales training programs address stalls and objections as if they were the same. Therefore, nobody tells you that it is crucial to distinguish between the two because they are not the same, and they require different responses. Unless you know that, you are going to fail.
Here is the essential difference:
An objection arises when there is a specific reason why your prospect does not intend to buy from you yet. The reason always relates to one of the five key buying decisions that every customer makes in the course of every major sale: Salesperson, Company, Product/Service, Price, or Time-to-Buy. An objecting customer might challenge you on your price. Or they might be more sold on a competitor’s company or salesperson. Or they might question the need to own the product you are offering.
While an objection ties to a specific buying decision, a stalling customer does not have a specific reason for declining to make a commitment. Stalls may come in a thousand forms, but they all mean the same thing: “I’m not quite sold yet; I need you to sell me some more.”
Here are examples of the two different animals:
Examples of Stalls:
“I want to think it over. Call me next week?”
“We’re tied up with budgets right now.”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t checked the references yet.”
“Send me a proposal and a brochure.”
“Let me run it up the flagpole with my team.”
Examples of Objections:
“Your price is too high.”
“I prefer your competitor’s product.”
“We’re loyal to our current supplier.”
“We don’t need the product until this fall.”
“I’m not sure your product is a good match for us.”
Trying to cope with stalls and objections using the same approach is dead wrong. As long as you do that, you will fail to handle either successfully.
Attack stalls and objections with the same approach, and you will fail to handle either successfully.
Handling stalls – Because your prospect does not have a specific reason for stalling, it is never appropriate to challenge a stall. For example, when a customer tells you she wants to think it over, do not say something like: “What, exactly, do you want to think over?”
Challenging a stall pushes the customer to think up reasons why she is hesitating. If she has no specific reason for stalling, your challenge forces her to come up with one. Once she gives you a reason, she will be inclined to defend it. Now you are antagonists—the last thing you want.
Since all stalls mean the same thing (“I’m not sold yet; sell me some more.”), the correct response to a stall is to give customers exactly what they are asking for: Sell them some more. How? See the link to our recent white paper on the topic below.
Handling objections – To repeat, objections always relate to one or more of the customer’s Five Buying Decisions (Salesperson, Company, Product/Service, Price, or Time-to-Buy). When a salesperson Asks for Commitment (in what Action Selling calls Act 7) and the customer presents an objection, a little voice should whisper into the salesperson’s ear: “This prospect isn’t sold on one or more of the Five Buying Decisions. That means I didn’t ask all of the right questions earlier in the sales call. I need to go back to Act 3 and Ask the Best Questions.”
When objections occur, you must back up to Act 3 and gather more information by asking better questions. Then present a solution to the objection and ask again for a commitment. In other words, to respond to an objection you’ll simply follow Act 3 through Act 7 of Action Selling.
Treat stalls and objections as the very different things they are, and you will have far more success dealing with both.
In the next edition of eCoach, we will look at the second of three main reasons why most sales training fails to eliminate difficulties with stalls and objections:
Download our new White Paper that describes the best ways to handle stalls and objections in more detail. Objection! Is This the Salesperson’s Weakest Skill?
Action Selling in Action
BerganKDV is a leading regional accounting and professional-services firm serving the Upper Midwest. Since Bergan introduced Action Selling CRP to its customer relationship professionals (accountants and others who interact with customers), the company has far less trouble dealing with stalls and objections.
Here are some comments from Bergan partner Lee Roberts:
“We always start customer meetings now with the same question: What’s changed since the last time we spoke? In many cases, if there is an objection it surfaces right away. The same applies to stalls.
“If we get a stall or objection,” Roberts continues, “it usually arises because a competitor has told the client that they don’t need a certain product we offer. In reality, the competitor wants to create billable CPA hours rather than provide automation that will avoid billable hours. When this happens, we use Action Selling methodology to neutralize it. We go to Act 3 and ‘Ask the Best Questions’ to help us and the client understand the consequences of not solving the problem. We use leverage questions to turn up the heat on the issue so the client is even more motivated to implement our recommendation.”
For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
Want a more in-depth look at the best ways to handle stalls and objections? Download our new White Paper. Objection! Is This the Salesperson’s Weakest Skill?