You have done everything in your power to give the customer a memorable presentation. You have developed a relationship, established trust, shared in the emotional reason why the customer is buying jewelry, asked the proper questions to determine what is important to the customer in the selection of jewelry, demonstrated the product based on the information learned and have finally asked the customer to buy. Then it happens, the customer gives you an objection. The customer states that he/she needs to look around a little bit, that your store is the first place they have shopped, or they need to talk to the spouse. Believe me it happens to everyone – rejection! Apparently, somewhere in the sales presentation, something went wrong.
The ability to save the sale after rejection is another extremely important factor in what sets the professional apart from the average salesperson. The techniques I have detailed in previous articles will certainly set you apart from the average and get you into the higher reaches of success. However, mastering the fine art of saving the sale will allow you to achieve elite sales professional status.
What we have to recognize to save the sale are the reasons that our customer isn’t going along with the presentation as we have laid it out. Since a sale is made based on trust and value being established, then it also must hold true that a sale is lost due to a lack of either trust, value, or both. Somewhere along the line we have missed the mark. Whatever happened, our job now is to figure it out and to solve our customer’s reason for rejecting our presentation.
The single most common type of rejection is an objection. If you have been in sales for longer than a New York minute, you have heard, “I need to think it over,” “I need to shop around,” “I’ll be back,” and “we’ll talk about it and let you know tomorrow.” Objections are as common as the hair on your head. When a customer gives you an objection they are telling you that they are not convinced, something else is going on that the customer may not feel comfortable telling you. In many situations, a false objection is given as their ticket to get on the “Be Back Bus.” Many salespeople give their business cards to their customers in the hope that they will actually come back in to see them. In reality, a business card could very well be a one-way ticket giving your customer the ability to leave, with no assurance that they will be coming back. Granted, in some cases and especially in the jewelry business, customers do come back. The point I want to make is that as long as you have the customer in your store put forth your best effort to save the sale.
The real frustration is that up to 60% of all objections given are in fact false reasons for not buying. Customers have learned that it is very easy to get rid of a salesperson by giving them the typical “I’ll be back” or “I’ll think it over” objection. I have never walked up to someone who is deep in thought, asked him or her what they were doing, and gotten the reply “I’m thinking over Joe Salesperson’s presentation from earlier today.” It just doesn’t happen that way. The customer has given you a false reason for not buying in order to get off the hook.
Further, I contend that as much as 70% of the time when the customer gives you a false reason for not buying it very well may have something to do with the price. The customer is simply embarrassed to tell you that the price was too high or that the price was more than he/she wanted to spend. I find this to be particularly true in cross gender buy/sell relationships. The man with an ego doesn’t want to tell the sales lady that he can’t afford the piece of jewelry that she was presenting. Therefore, the customer makes up an excuse not to buy. A major factor in your success in the sales game lies in your ability to handle and answer all types of objections. Whether it is handling direct objections, or your ability to uncover what the true indirect objection is, you have to learn to handle them all.
In some cases the salesperson actually causes the customer to become confused and then the customer gives an objection. I find that many salespeople in the jewelry industry tend to talk in industry jargon, or industry specific terms that the customer doesn’t understand. Should the customer not understand a word or a phrase that the salesperson stated, many customers won’t admit this, they will simply say; “I’ll be back” or “I need to think about it.” Believe it or not, many customers don’t know the difference between 14 karat and 1 carat. Some customers don’t know what a semi-mount is or the difference between Tiffany setting and channel set. In other words, if you as a salesperson are delivering presentations using your industry jargon without explaining to the customer what you said, you may be causing the customer to give you an objection or false reason for not buying.
I want to eliminate right now a concept I have read in several books on sales with which I totally disagree. It is suggested to ignore the first two objections a customer gives because they are probably not the true reason the customer is not buying. However, in my mind there is nothing ruder than a salesperson ignoring anything that a customer has to say. We have already discussed that people want and need to be heard. Yet we have some sales trainers out there telling us to ignore our customers. I agree that the first couple of objections may be false reasons for not buying. However, it is only an assumption and not necessarily the real reason. I absolutely and totally disagree with ever ignoring anything that a customer has to say. While this strategy may work some of the time, I don’t believe it works in the largest percentage of presentations. Let us say the first objection your customer gives is the true reason that they are not buying. You would be making a vital tactical error by ignoring their objection.
It is also true that you may receive not one, but numerous objections throughout the process of completing the sale. Your customer may just have several concerns about your products and services. These will all need to be addressed in order to complete the transaction. I certainly wouldn’t purchase anything if I had unanswered questions or concerns about an item or service. Realize that you will encounter objections, and that your customers have the right to have the objections answered in a caring and professional way.
We will be discussing two different types of objections in this series of articles, 1) the stall, and 2) the specific objection. Your quest, in order to handle the objection and to save the sale, is to identify the type of objection that the customer has given you and to solve the situation.
A stall may or may not be true. A stall objection can be identified as the examples I gave you earlier, “I’ll be back,” “I need to think it over,” or “I need to bring my spouse back,” among dozens of others. Be very careful though, because a stall could very well be a true objection. If the customer really does need to bring their spouse back in before making the decision, that is a specific objection. You need to be very clever and use specific techniques in order to discover the true reason for not buying while being careful not to intimidate the customer.
A specific is probably true. A specific objection is defined as the customer telling you certain information that they are concerned with, which is probably true. For example, “It’s the wrong color,” “The length is too short,” “It’s the wrong size” or “It’s the wrong shape,” could be specific reasons the customer isn’t buying. However, these examples could also be a stall and not truly the reason they aren’t going along with the deal. It’s up to you to figure out which it is.
You will find that in most cases once you discover the objection is a specific reason for not buying, it is usually due to a poor needs assessment. You could have found out what color they needed, what size they wanted, or the shape they had in mind by asking more or better questions during the needs assessment. Your customer may even have an objection to the price of the jewelry.
I think you will agree people think that the price of everything is too high until value has been established. The lesson to be learned about price is that any money issue is a specific objection. However, an objection to the price is potentially an objection to one of two completely different issues, either value or budget. The customer may not find enough value in your product, or you haven’t created enough value, for them to trade their money. If this is the case, they will need to have more value added in order to make the purchase. Remember, everything is too expensive, until value has been established and that value is simply perception. On the other hand, the customer may find the value in the jewelry, but simply not be able to afford it. If they can’t afford the price of the product you have shown, it would then be an objection due to a lack of budget.
The strategies and techniques for handling price objections based on value or on budget are completely different. You must first determine which of the two price objections you are dealing with. Many sales and/or profits are lost due to an assumption that the customer is objecting to value when in reality it is a question of budget. You may lose the sale completely or think incorrectly that you need to discount your products if you assume that your customer’s objection is budget when actually the customer has an objection to, or doesn’t see the value in the item.
There are several methods to handling objections, both stalls and specifics. Through following these steps you will be able to determine if your customer is giving you a stall or specific objection and what the true objection is. Once you have learned this information you can then “fix it.” By fixing it I mean you will be able to address the customer’s concerns, quite possibly eliminate the reason they are objecting and make the sale. Next month I will detail specific strategies on how to handle objections.
Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.