I Object! (To the Way You Define Objections) | Action Selling

I Object! (To the Way You Define Objections)

September 2018 – Issue 172

web ecoach - I Object! (To the Way You Define Objections)

A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS

Dear Sales Executive:

When your salespeople run into stalls or objections from customers, how great are they at turning things around and winning the sale? No, stop laughing. Oh, you mean they really are that terrible?

You aren’t alone. More than 90% of salespeople are ineffective at uncovering and then resolving objections, according to research by The Sales Board. This tragic skill gap persists despite the vast sums of money that companies spend on sales training.

I believe there are three primary reasons why most sales training fails to help much when it comes to equipping salespeople to cope successfully with stalls and objections. In previous editions of eCoach I described the first two reasons. Now let’s look at the third.

If you have a question about how to make sales training pay off with spectacular results, click on “Ask The eCoach“.

We are committed to your professional success.

Duane Sparks
Author of Action Selling

I Object! (To the Way You Define Objections)

90 percent 300 - I Object! (To the Way You Define Objections)Nine out of 10 salespeople can’t cope effectively with stalls and objections. Since every salesperson confronts stalls and objections pretty often, you could call that a major fail.

Companies spend billions of dollars on sales training, and practically every sales-training program ever invented addresses stalls and objections at some point. So how is it possible that the situation never seems to improve?

I’ll tell you how: Most sales training gets this subject dead wrong. The training fails for three major reasons. First, most sales training treats stalls and objections as if they were the same problem, calling for the same solution. Wrong.

Second, as I explained in the last edition, the objection-handling techniques taught by most sales training companies do not fit neatly and organically into the sales methodologies those companies teach. To handle an objection, you are required to leave the path that supposedly leads toward a sale and wander off on some detour.

Here is the third reason why most sales training fails to help much: Most training companies do not even define an objection correctly. They’ll tell you that customers object because they get too much information from the internet. Or they’ll tell you that an objection is actually an opportunity—sometimes even a buying signal! When did advice like that ever help anybody?

Here is how Action Selling defines an objection: An objection is the customer’s response to an unasked question.

An objection is the customer’s response to an unasked question.

If you are presenting a solution to a customer and you hear an objection, that means you failed to ask the right question earlier in the sales call. Because the right question would have uncovered the objection before you tried to present your solution. You don’t need to detour, you just need to back up on the path.

Here is how it works in terms of Action Selling’s Nine Acts structure: When you Ask for Commitment in Act 7, and the customer presents an objection, a little voice should whisper in your ear: “This prospect isn’t sold on one or more of the Five Major Buying Decisions. I didn’t ask all of the Best Questions in Act 3. I need to back up, ask more questions, then frame my solution accordingly.”

It’s amazing what sales training can do to make stalls and objections less of a problem—but only when the training treats stalls and objections for what they really are.

Want a full, detailed explanation of the most successful ways to handle stalls and objections? Download our new White Paper. Objection! Is This the Salesperson’s Weakest Skill?

An objection is the customer’s response to an unasked question.

Companies that introduce Action Selling to their salespeople—or Action Selling CRP to their customer relationship professionals—find it remarkable that so many customer stalls and objections turn into non-problems.

BerganKDV, a regional accounting and professional-services firm serving the Upper Midwest, trained its accountants and other customer-facing professionals with Action Selling CRP.

The difference today is striking, says Bergan partner Lee Roberts: “We are far better at helping our clients make good decisions. Using the Act 3 Best Questions Map, we have distilled the number of questions we need to ask to 12. It’s our questioning road map. Clients tell us exactly what we need to know. We avoid 95% of the stalls and objections we used to hear.

“Because we ask great questions,” Roberts continues, “any objections that do exist are uncovered during the discovery process instead of during the solution presentation. If we need to change our commitment objective or modify the solution we want to present, everyone on the call realizes what’s going on.”

For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

For a complete, detailed explanation of the most successful ways to handle stalls and objections, see our new White Paper. Objection! Is This the Salesperson’s Weakest Skill?