We’ve all been there.  After a series of meetings, presentations, phone calls and reviews, it comes down to the final  CLOSING meeting where you’ll  get the customer to agree to your solution/offer and give you a written PO or agreement to proceed.   It’s at this point that the prospect sometimes asks you to “sharpen your pencil” and give them a better price.  AAARRGGHHH!

Price Objections can take many forms.  You may be told “your price is too high”, “the competition has better prices”, or “we’ll have to rethink this deal, it’s over our budget.”  My favorite is when the prospect looks shocked and says something along these lines: “Really? You’ve got to be kidding! You’re completely out of the ball park with that price!”

It’s at this point that the trained professional salesperson actually begins to earn his commission, because this is precisely when the REAL selling occurs.  Everything else led up to this point, and now it’s time to Handle the Objection and close the deal.   This is also the point where 90% of lost sales occur.

Today’s article will give you a new approach to handling these objections.  Read on….

Handling the Objection

Most of us have been through a sales training exercise where we were trained how to “handle” the customer’s objections.   We were given a list of the 12-15 most common objections, and we were given another list with what to say to “handle” them.   Our job was to match the correct answer to the correct objection, and like magic the objection would disappear.  POOOFF!

The problem with this training is obvious.  What works in the classroom rarely works in the real world.  Your prospective customers are not rats in a maze, and the stimulus-response approach to handling objections is rarely effective.   How arrogant we are to believe that all we need to do is press the correct “button” and the customer will respond exactly as we intended.

I also have a problem with the phrase “handling the objection.”  In actual fact, WE the salespeople do not “handle” the objection.  The only person who can handle an objection is the person who created the objection in the first place.  We never “handle” someone else’s objection….they do.   The best we can do is to assist them in looking at their objection from a different point of view, and invite them to consider making a change.   We can’t “confront them” or “force them to change” their opinions by overwhelming them with our superior knowledge and skill.

You can never win a new client if you create an adversarial relationship.  The sales professional understands that selling done correctly is a “WIN-WIN” scenario.  Even If you manage to pressure your prospect into buying something they really don’t need or want, they will not be happy about it.

This gives a whole new slant on the issue.  In actual fact, any “objection” given by the customer is simply an indication that you dropped the ball somewhere earlier in the sales process.   You don’t “handle” objections.  You listen to them, acknowledge them, clarify them and deal with them.   And you do all of this from the position of RESPECT and EMPATHY.

The Price Objection   

The reason your client has a problem with your price is quite simple:  you haven’t proven to them with sufficient clarity that your product/service is worth it.    You haven’t proven the VALUE of your product or service, so they can’t agree to your price.

(insert chart)

In my sales career, I’ve sold products at almost every price point.  I’ve closed transactions ranging from $20 all the way up to $50 million and all points in between.   And I guarantee that in every case the purchaser understood and agreed with the VALUE in the deal or they wouldn’t have agreed to the price.

if you need to brush up on “Value-based selling”, you can download my 2008 article by clicking on http://www.connexiagroup.com/files/newsletters/74_Feb2008.pdf.

Here is the most important point to understand about value:

We often incorrectly assume that our value is the same as the prospects.

This is where many sales break down.  We spent all that time learning the features, benefits, and value of our product or service and we’re happy to “sell them” to our client.  We can’t wait to tell them all about our products and their benefits.  We know that as soon as they hear our  pitch, they will be lining up to buy!  Problem is, they don’t see it the same way we do!   They hold different values than we do, because we are all wired differently.

You may “know” that anyone of your clients would love to own a brand-new sexy red Mustang convertible, but if you try and sell that to grandmother it just won’t fly! (well usually).   You “know” that everyone needs your software to manage their finances, but would it really appeal to someone who can’t afford to pay for their next meal?

Always check what you assume to be true, and don’t project your assumptions onto the other person.   Value is only important if it is articulated by your prospective buyer.   They really don’t care about your value, only about theirs!  Once you understand what is valuable to them, you will begin to understand how to present your offer more intelligently.

Learn to understand fully your customer’s point of view,  their world, and their definitions of what is valuable BEFORE you try and sell them anything.  If you do this correctly, you will rarely have to “handle” a price objection.

Good selling !

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