Objections come in different sizes and shapes which makes objection handling a difficult skill to master. You will get different objections when prospecting than you will when presenting solutions and you need to be able to handle the common ones in a smooth and skillful manner. A tough objection when attempting to set meetings is the dreaded, “We’re happy with our current vendor” which might also come in the form of “We’re good right now” or even “We don’t have any need.” In this article, I’m going to provide you a 3 step process for handling these.
Let’s be clear. There may actually NOT be any need. They might actually have a solution in place that is superior to anything else out there. While these situations MAY exist, they are rare. The sad fact is that in many cases, your solution IS better but you never got the chance to find out for sure. Objection handling is often a case of additional communication of the facts.
It’s a problem that is often precipitated by poor sales techniques. Why does this happen? In a nutshell it’s caused by the prospect not believing they have any problems with their current solution vendor that warrants attention. Logically, if they knowingly had a problem with their current vendor, they’d probably be calling you instead of you calling them!
In a recent workshop, I asked this question: “Who believes that there are potential customers out there who have problems that you can solve but that the customer doesn’t even know they have?” As you might expect, every person in the room threw their hand up. They are 100% right.
The overall strategy here is to find some problems. If there is no problem, there is no opportunity. Sometimes I get pushback from people on the use of the word “problem” noting that their product or service provides an “opportunity” for the customer to do better than they are right now rather than there being a “problem” necessarily. While I don’t disagree, we’re really just looking at the same coin from a different side.
Northbound’s sales development program is named “Goal Aligned Selling™” because our entire methodology revolves around helping the customer achieve their goals. When a customer perceives a gap between where they are and where they’d like to be, “tension for change” is created. Only when this tension for change exists, will the customer be motivated to explore a possible change to the status quo. The diagram above illustrates the concept.
Naturally, a very direct way of course is to just ask the buyer what problems they have. You could come right out and say something to the effect of this.
You: “So, what problems do you have with your existing vendor?”
It’s not likely, however, that the customer is going to a) know all the problems they have or b) serve them up to you on a silver platter. Instead you’ll hear something like this:
Customer: I really don’t have any. Thanks for your call.
A better way to approach this is to use this 3 step strategy:
1. Establish what the customer is trying to accomplish in the key result areas.
2. Probe for areas where there might not be 100% satisfaction.
3. Help them see that they might be able to do better in the key result areas than they are right now.
Executing this strategy can be quite challenging and requires more detail than I have for this post. I will follow this up shortly with some specific ways of implementing this strategy with your prospect.