Do You Know the Emotion Behind the Objection?

Prospects have many reasons (you might think excuses) for not buying your product or service. Many of these objections, however, are actually emotional defenses, and before you can overcome the obstacle you must recognize the emotion behind it. To help you analyze why your prospect doesn't want to buy from you, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does the buyer feel neglected?
This is a prime danger of taking regular customers for granted. You could well walk in expecting a sure-thing order only to find that your customer isn't sure he or she wants to deal with you anymore. Why not?

The buyer may feel that the amount of steady business that his or her company has provided merits more of your time and attention then you've been giving lately.

The buyer may feel that his or her job depends on dealing with a supplier who can be trusted to deliver what was ordered when it's supposed to be delivered., who will still be available after the order is signed.

If you've determined that neglect is the emotion behind the buyer's objection, the best thing to do would be to let the customer get all those feelings outside in the open. Once the buyer has made you aware of your shortcomings, he or she may still give you the order-once promised to do better in the future.

2. Does the buyer feel that you're not showing enough respect?
To some buyers, salespeople who just "drop by" are telling them that they aren't important enough for an actual appointment.

Make sure you show respect for your customers' time-especially in the initial stages of developing an account-by taking the time to set up an appointment for your call. Later, customers may indicate that its okay to stop by any time you have a useful idea to share with them.

3. Is the buyer afraid of doing something new?
Fear of taking a new course of action is a common emotion. Staying with a known product or service is a secure investment.

When this fear is the emotion behind the objection, you must show the buyer-tactfully, of course-that not trying new methods or products eliminates the possibility of benefiting from them. Especially if the buyer has been burned before by a new-and-improved product that turned out to be neither, you may have to prove that your product or service will really do what you've said it will, that its value is worth its cost.

4. Is the buyer afraid of abandoning the old?
Closely related to the fear of taking a new course of action is the fear of abandoning an existing one-especially one that represents a major start-up investment-even if its proving unsatisfactory. A company that has already made a significant investment in its existing program will probably be hesitant about dropping a similar sum on a totally different alternative.

If you realize that the prospect is not going to abandon what it has, you still don't have to abandon the company as a client. Look for ways that your product or service can help solve some of the problems created by the existing system. But take care not to sound too critical of what could be the buyers ( or someone in top management's ) pet idea. Don't tell the prospect to dump the existing product and switch to yours. Instead, explain that you are aware of the problems and that if the prospect will allow you to explain your alternatives, you'll be able to show how your product or service can help them correct them.

Making an honest attempt to understand the emotions behind sales objections helps you to position your product or service in a way that makes it easier for your prospect to say "yes".

Neil Greenberg is a sales maanger with a DC based e-commerce company.

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