Are you having trouble landing new business? Are your current clients asking for discounts? In a time of shrinking budgets, it’s a customer’s job to ask for a lower price. However, it isn’t your job to give in! In this episode, host, Elizabeth Bachman, shows you ways of dealing with objections and getting past ‘no.’ The wisdom that Elizabeth will share is very valuable for you to make the sale. After all, if you don’t have sales, then how will you keep a functioning business, especially at this trying time?
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How To Deal With Objections And Make The Sale
Three Strategies To Get Past NO
I’m happy to have you here with me. Before we begin, I want to invite you to come to take our free assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where your presentation skills are great and where maybe you could use a little bit of help. I am the expert and I want to talk to you about dealing with objections, three strategies to get the sale. Have you ever heard, “That’s great, but it’s too expensive?” How about, “It seems like it would be a good thing for me to do, but I don’t have time?” Maybe you’re the prospective customer and there’s an inner voice in your head that says, “It sounds great for her, but I don’t think that’ll work for me.”
Those are examples of the three main objections that people get when you’re trying to close a sale. I should say that in these days when the economy is a little uncertain, it’s also important for reasons where people don’t want to continue working with you. Maybe you have a customer who’s saying, “I need to cut expenses. I can’t pay you as much,” or “Maybe I work with you, but for less. Could I get the same amount for half price?” That’s happening a lot. I’ve had a lot of people say that to me.
The key is not to quit when that first happens. The key is to think about strategies you can use to get past no and make the sale. I’m going to be giving you ideas that had cost me thousands when I forgot them and saved me thousands when I’ve remembered to use them. When I say objections, I mean the concerns that come up when you’re in the middle of an enrollment conversation. The concern that comes up anytime is someone is asked to stretch out of their comfort zone.
I started with these examples of the standard objections that come up when you ask for the sale. The first two are examples of money and time. It’s too expensive or I don’t have time to do it. The third example I call the success objection. By that I mean that’s when they’re thinking fine for you, easy for you to say, but it would never work for me. People will say the first two out loud. The third one is usually an inner objection and they won’t say it out loud. They’ll think about it.
At least when you’re in the US, Japan, Great Britain, or any of the company countries where people don’t like to say no. When I worked in Germany and Austria, people say no out loud. It’s refreshing. You want to use this when you are an enrollment conversation making a sale. When you have customers who are saying, “I need to cut costs and I can’t afford you anymore,” or “Maybe I can’t use you as much.” You’re still moving your audience to take action. In my book, this is all still presentation skills to get a result.It's the customer's job to ask for a discount. It's not your job to say yes. Click To Tweet
The problem is that when one person asks another to open their wallet, there’s an automatic pushback and this is a good thing because it keeps us from investing in things that we don’t need to invest in. However, for those of us who put food on the table by selling a product or a service, dealing with objections is an important part of life. Since this is such a fundamental part of the enrollment conversation, there have been thousands and thousands of words written about it. Salespeople get past these concerns by pushing and bulldozing a customer into making a sale.
These are the people who give sales a bad name. On the other hand, I see many people who the first time a customer objects they retreat, they take no for an answer. They want to be liked or they might be stuck in their scarcity mentality that when somebody says, “I don’t have the money,” they say, “That’s right. I don’t have the money either. I get it.” Here’s a thought. Especially when times are tight, it is somebody’s job to ask for a discount. It is not your job to give it. It is a judgment call.
When things are tight and budgets are being cut, then indeed it is the customer’s job to look for any place they can cut. If you can convince the customer of the value of what you provide and what you do for them, then you can persuade them not to cut you. That’s what this conversation is about. It’s dealing with these objections and getting past no so that you can make the sale or keep the client. If we don’t have sales, how do we have a functioning business?
My intention is to show you three strategies for dealing with objections in a speech or an enrollment conversation. These are strategies you may not have thought of it. I don’t see these strategies being talked about in the articles I read. These strategies are before you make your offer. It’s something I like to call the “yeah, but,” which is the moment during your conversation when little concerns come up. I will be talking about how to navigate any concerns that may come once you have made your offer.
Counter Objections By Telling A Story
The first strategy is counter objections before they come up. As anybody who has been in sales as a product, service, or an idea that they’re trying to sell or they’re going to try to get buy-in from somebody, we might have the three objections, money, time, or success. It will cost too much to do it. It will take too much time or that’ll never work. However, most people when they present their material or their idea, wait until the prospect objects to coming back to it.
What if you pre-framed it? What if you told a story as you are talking about this service that would counter the objection before it came up? If somebody has an objection, you could say, “It’s like the story I told.” What I’m going to do for you now is tell the story I often say when I talk about how I came to being a presentation skills trainer, how I learned the value of speaking to get results. See if you can find where I’ve put in places that counter objections before they come up.
Here’s how I learned the value of public speaking. I’ve been dedicated to the art of great communication since I first walked on stage at the age of five and when my mom said I was the best bunny rabbit whoever graced the stage of the Hillside School, I was hooked. I went from acting to directing opera singers to running a program for training opera singers to now helping business professionals get results when they make a presentation. All along as an actor and as a director, I wanted to run a company of my own. Several years ago, I got the opportunity.
I was asked to create a summer opera training program in the Austrian Alps. The hills are alive with the sound of music. I was going to spend the summer in the mountains making music. The only teeny-weeny little problem was that I had to raise $100,000 to launch it. To do that, I had to give speeches. Although I’d been on stage and I’d been telling stories my whole life, this was the first time that I had to ask for money for me, my idea, my company, and my dream. I didn’t have results to show yet. This was still an idea. I was terrified to ask for the money and frankly, at first, I was terrible.
What saved me was finding a mentor, a woman who was a speaker-trainer and liked opera, came to one of my fundraising events. She called me up the next day and said, “There are some techniques you could use that would help you get better results.” I had no idea there were tools. There were techniques for public speaking, for speaking to get people to open their wallets, speaking to get donations, speaking to get a sale. I had no idea there were tools and techniques. I was making it up as I went along.
She showed me that I wasn’t wrong. I wasn’t stupid. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I realized I had to get expert help. After all, if your car needs to be fixed, do you open up the hood and wing it? No, you go to an expert. I knew I needed an expert mentor to teach me how to get the results I needed. I didn’t know where I was going to find the money to pay for her. It wasn’t in my budget, but I knew that my commitment to the people who needed my help had to be greater than my fear. I found the money. I scrounged around. I raised the money to hire her. It was the best decision I ever made. That mentor, that speaker-trainer taught me how to get the results I needed.You're actually doing a service by helping somebody invest in something that will improve their lives or the life of the company. Click To Tweet
I raised that $100,000 and the $50,000 it took every year after that to run the company. The Tyrolean Opera Program ran for eleven years and we changed lives. Did you hear how I answered some objections during that story? If you did, shoot me a message on Facebook or LinkedIn or wherever it is you’re reading this blog. If you didn’t know where I did it, then please send me a message and I will show you how I did that. I’ll take it apart for you.
Don’t Ignore The ‘Yeah, But’ Moments
The first strategy is counter objections before they come up by telling a story. The second strategy is don’t ignore the “yeah, but” moments. You know how you hear somebody talking and a little part of you goes, “Yeah, but what about these?” This is the thing that makes for lively conversations with your friends. It’s what makes for good debates, but my business is all about strategic speaking for results. People hire me to help them make presentations that produce a result that moves their people to take the desired action.
The “yeah, but” moments are the little pullbacks or distractions that can build to a big distraction when you make your call to action. Smoothing out the “yeah, buts” or answering the “yeah, but” moments before you are going to make your offer is like smoothing out the little stumbling blocks along the road to making a decision. The audience might not consciously notice it, but it makes the pathway easier. Did you have a little feeling like I was manipulating when I said that last bit leading people down the path towards making a decision?
If you had a pullback, that’s a “yeah, but.” That’s the thing that people object to. The solution is to call it out and answer it immediately. For instance, if I use the metaphor towards leading something on the path to make a decision and let’s call it what it is, it’s the path to a decision to making a sale. I might follow-up with what I said. You might think this is manipulative, but I invite you to focus on the result. If you truly believe that your service, product, and company will do the right thing, that your audience will benefit from investing with you or saying yes to your idea, then it’s your right, privilege, and responsibility to help them make that decision.
You’re doing a service by helping somebody invest in something that will improve their lives or the life of the company. Doesn’t that feel better? Instead of picturing a dark and gloomy pathway that you’re leading somebody down towards something terrible, I’m helping you realize that this is a service that you’re offering. If you didn’t feel resistant to that metaphor, I’ve given you a picture of why a sales conversation might not be a good thing.
Hopefully, I’ve given you an empowering image instead. The key is to address these small concerns before they take root and turn into big concerns. There’s an important part of this which is it’s hard to find the “yeah, but” moments in your own material. You need to have somebody else listen, a trusted associate or especially a speaker trainer. This is a huge piece of what I do with my clients. I help them notice the “yeah, but” moments by putting myself in the mind and position of the audience and see where I might feel a little bit of resistance.
We all know when we’re recounting our material when we’re talking about the stuff that we know and we’re confident with, there are a lot of little mini assumptions that we make. It takes fresh ears and fresh eyes to find these moments. This is a benefit from my many years in the performing arts. As an actor, it’s your job to put yourself into the mindset of the character you’re portraying. As a director, you put yourself in the mindset of all of them. As a presenter, whether it’s within a company, onstage, or it’s one-on-one, it’s your job to make it about your audience. Put yourself into their mindset and try to imagine how they are going to take in the information that you’re giving.
Don’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer
The third strategy is the one you probably tuned in to read. What do you do when you make an offer and the potential customer objects? Some people call it overcoming objections or you could think of it as a game. Think of it as a way of asking for more information. An objection means that they don’t know enough. They aren’t informed enough. I don’t think of it as a competition. I think of it as engaging in conversation. If you find yourself being derailed at this point in the process, remember, it’s a process.
When you’ve pre-framed any possible concerns by telling stories that show that there aren’t problems and you can refer back to the story. When you’ve resolved those little “yeah, but” moments, you still might need to go deeper into the concerns your audience may have. Don’t forget sometimes you might be surprised. I spoke with a client who knew exactly what she wanted and she knew she wanted that support from me. She said yes right away. I was all set to engage in concerns that deal with the objections.
I was ready for her to object that it startled me for a second. I took her credit card and we’ve got some cool stuff coming up. Here are some things you can say. On a scale from 1 to 10, how committed are you to taking action or solving this problem? That’s important because if there is anything below an eight then it’s probably not important enough. It might be a need that you see, but if it’s not a need that they perceive, it’s not high up on their priority, they’re not going to buy. You’re going to say thank you and keep the relationship going. Keep them in a nurture campaign.Address the small concerns before they take root and turn into big concerns. Click To Tweet
Another thing to say is if we were to work together, what would you see yourself getting and then make sure you use their words. Get them to say what the benefit would be to work with you or to use your company and then use their words to come back. You said that you wanted to be a better speaker. You said you wanted to get better results. You couldn’t use their phrasing and they will take it in because it’s their language. You could also follow-up with, “Before I share the investment with you or talk about the price, do you have any further questions?”
You always want to make sure that you’ve got their answers. You want to make sure that you’ve dissolved any concerns they may have before you get to state the price. Another great thing you can say is if they state their concern is, “Can I ask you a question about that?” Remember, this is a chance to continue the conversation. Lucky you, you get to go deeper and help someone get past their internal blocks. I’m using trainer language here, but this also works with selling a product. It works in selling an idea within your company. It’s still about addressing the concerns of human beings that keep them from taking the action that you believe is best for them.
If you say, “Can I ask you a question about that?” that opens the option to discuss further. Be sure you get a yes here. Make sure that they have bought in to continue. The concern will probably be about money, time or success. If somebody has success objection like, “That’ll never work for me,” or “That’s only for those who are richer, better looking, have more training,” within a company, “That might be for a big company, but not for us.” As a coach, what I often say is, “This is the best chance for you to get past your gremlins. What if this was the day you took a stand? What if this was the day you stopped your fears from getting in the way?” It’s not about signing up with me. It’s about you realizing that you can invest in yourself through working with me.
This is about you and so on. This is coaching and trainer language. If you’ve got questions about how to use this around a product or within a company, contact me and we can go through that. You can ask them, “If time wasn’t an issue, would you do this?” If the answer is yes, then start finding ways to make it work. If they’re not sure, keep digging. Remind them of the reasons for what they said they would get when they wanted to work with you. Money, that’s the one that comes around the most. You can always say, “If money wasn’t an issue, would you do this?” If yes, then start finding ways to make it work.
I had a conversation with a client of mine who was trying to convince her boss to do something that was going to help the program and the company. The boss said, “We’ve been doing fine.” The thing that worked with them was my client said, “If we don’t take this action, we may be okay with the customers we have. When they’re done with the project, they’re not going to sign up again. We’re not going to get new people because our competitors are making this change and we are not.” When she phrased it in terms of the cost of not taking action, she got what she needed to do. If they’re not sure if money is the issue, keep dinging. Remind them of the reasons they were interested. Use their words.
There’s so much more I could say about this. Remember, objections and concerns are a natural part of an enrollment conversation whether it’s within a company, you’re speaking to a group, or you’re speaking one-on-one. The first strategy is to address those concerns through stories. The second thing is crucial is to be sure that you can answer the “yeah, but” moments. The third is don’t take no for an answer. Keep digging and finding out what the real reason is and treat it as an opportunity. If you’re interested in pursuing any of the topics that we talked about, please take my free assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. It takes about 3 or 4 minutes and you can see where you are rocking your presentation skills and where maybe you could use a little bit of support. Thank you for joining me. I’ll see you at the next one.