In a perfect world, we would be able to just do the work we’re passionate about without having to worry about selling our services. But the reality is that we need a steady flow of business to keep our businesses afloat.
When you work for yourself, you become the resident salesperson (along with the other 5,729,862 hats you wear everyday). No one else is going to sell your services for you, so you need to acquire some basic sales skills to keep your business thriving.
What is a Sales Objection?
In the world of sales, an area many of us are uncomfortable in, an objection is any barrier that prevents a prospective client from buying your products or services. It’s an excuse, a justification or an obstacle that leads a potential client away from you. Identifying and overcoming these objections is crucial to growing your business.
This post will outline how to identify objections that can essentially cost you business. My next post will provide tips for overcoming these sales objections effectively.
Pinpointing the Objection
In order to overcome a sales objection, you need to know what it’s stemming from. The best way to do this is simply by listening. You should listen to what the client is saying and what is going unsaid to get to the core of their skepticism.
You should also ask questions that will get the client to open up about their concerns so you can address the issues head on. Here are some questions to work into your communication with the client:
- What is your biggest concern?
- Can you explain why this worries you?
- What would be the ideal outcome?
- What is your priority with this project?
- What are the primary factors in your decision?
And don’t ignore the opportunity you have with existing clients. Even though these clients were not stopped by objections, that doesn’t means they didn’t have any hesitation before they decided to move forward. Their experiences can offer you a wealth of knowledge that you can use in all of your future sales opportunities.
Common Sales Objections
There are several common reasons why a client may object. Many times, the reason a potential client is hesitant to sign on with you will fall into one of these categories:
- Price: “Your services cost too much. I can get the ‘same’ service from someone cheaper.”
- Fear of Change: “I don’t want to change the way we’ve been doing things for 15 years. Too much can go wrong.”
- Trust: “It seems like you know what you’re doing, but how do I know you really have the necessary experience to do this?”
- Personal Politics: “I told my friend’s brother’s son’s wife I’d use her company for my next project.”
- External Input: “I need to run this by my wife/business partner/friend before I do anything else.”
- Timing: “It’s too much for me to take on right now; I don’t have time to fulfill my responsibilities in this arrangement.”
In many cases, the objection will rest on a lack of confidence on the part of the client, and it can be a lack of confidence in you AND in themselves and their ability to make a sound decision. The risk of moving ahead may be more than the client is willing to take on, and that leads to an objection that stops the sale.
Once you have identified what is holding the client back, you need to take steps to address their concerns and help them move past them, if appropriate. Stay tuned for my next post on overcoming these objections effectively.
Image credit: ricohman