The end of the sales year is a time for reflecting, preparing, and, in some cases, a bit of rushing. As you race to meet or exceed the lofty goals you set for the year, a skill that ties into all three of these areas is overcoming objections. As you follow up with prospects and clients leading into the new year, it’s important to be prepared for their excuses and challenges, and ready to respond to them. Below are four ways to prepare for objections that you can put into practice today.
1. Analyze previous objections and your responses.
Whether you’ve been in the business for four months or forty years, you know that after a while, prospects have nothing new to say. They typically recycle the same objections that you’ve heard dozens of times already. If you’re prepared for these responses, you’ll be better equipped to handle them without being thrown off your game.
Look through your notes from previous meetings throughout the year and identify those objections that you’ve been able to work through and those that you have not. This will give you a good idea of where you need to focus your attention moving forward. Role play with your manager or another team member, and walk through the objections that you’ve struggled with this year. By doing this, you will be more prepared with an answer or solution when that tough objection comes up.
2. Beat them to the punch.
The best way to overcome an objection is to take it out of your prospect’s arsenal. Before they have a chance to bring up an objection, preemptively shoot it down. If you think they might say that they’re interested, but busy, start your conversation by shedding that excuse; “I know you’re busy, so I’ll only take up a few minutes of your time.” This prevents the excuse that they don’t have the time to speak with you, and allows you proceed with your conversation. We have a Sandler rule for this: The best way to get rid of a bomb is to diffuse it before it blows up. Take a look at your most common objections and make plans to deal with them up-front in future conversations.
3. Don’t give up after one try.
Selling is never an easy profession, but it’s impossible if you’re easily discouraged. While the number of “no’s” you should battle varies from one industry and prospect to another, you should never abandon your cause after one objection. Instead, think about questions to can ask to continue the conversation. “Let’s pretend I could do that, what would happen next?” “If I said I couldn’t do that, is it over? Now that it’s over, can I ask you a couple questions?” Or, “How would you handle this if you were me?” Those are all questions to could ask to continue the conversation after an objection.
Having these questions in your bag will allow you to feel more comfortable dealing with stalls and objections, give you time to think, and help you to predict how the rest of the conversation will go.
4. Learn from your mistakes.
Fear is the biggest deterrent to success in the selling world. If you’re afraid of failing, you’re starting at a disadvantage. It’s okay to fail, and should often be encouraged. That’s how we learn. Understanding that more times than not you’ll be met with a rejection, is the key to persevering through an initial objection, and learning how to work through them with the prospect. If you’re able to anticipate that your calls won’t always result in a sale, at least the initial call or two, you won’t be as affected by negative responses. Being able to ride the highs and lows will positively impact your effectiveness in the sales world.
As you close out a great fourth quarter, take some time to prepare yourself for the year ahead. By tracking past performance, taking the initiative, remaining vigilant, and learning from your mistakes, you can set yourself up for your most successful year yet.