Are you contemplating a career in sales? Maybe you’re an entrepreneur that has to handle all aspects of a business. Either way, one of the important skills that you’ll need to develop is the ability to negotiate. There are many things that factor into a successful sales negotiation. One of those factors is a salesperson’s ability to understand why sales prospects object to a deal in the first place. After spending well over 10 years of my life working in hospitality sales and marketing, I believe that I can provide some insight on that issue. Based on my experience, a prospect’s objections can be broken down into five broad categories. Here’s a quick rundown on each one:
Price is one reason why a prospect will balk at closing a deal. Fortunately, in many cases, such an objection can be avoided or overcome. A salesperson can avoid encountering a price issue by engaging in proper prospecting and qualifying techniques. For those that are not familiar with prospecting and qualifying, they are the first two steps in the selling process. Prospecting involves finding potential clients and qualifying involves making sure that those prospects have the ability to pay for whatever product or service your company is selling.
If the prospect has the ability to pay but objects to the asking price, there are several negotiating techniques that a salesperson may try. Some salespeople automatically cut the price without trying other techniques first. I was never of that mindset. In my experience, price objections can be overcome through deferral and value added techniques.
Product or Service Objections
There are also times that a prospect objects because he or she does not like the product or service being offered. In my opinion, this is also something that can be minimized during the prospecting and qualifying phase of the selling process. It can also be overcome at times by presenting a counter offer based on a new needs assessment. A needs assessment is also something that is typically taken care of during the qualifying stage of the sales process.
There is an old adage that talks about the importance of a first impression. Well, that adage rings true in sales. Sometimes a prospect objects to a deal because he or she holds a poor first impression of the salesperson. This poor first impression could stem from a myriad of things including learned stereotypical views, cultural mores or the smell of a person’s cologne. For example, as a woman, I have encountered situations where certain males would not meet with me because of my gender and their cultural mores. They were typically very upfront and honest about it too. In those instances, instead of getting offended, I would defer the account to one of my male counterparts.
Lack of Interest
It is common sense that a prospect must have an interest in the product or service being sold. Unfortunately, some salespeople forget that and start working with an unqualified list of leads. Remember, part of the qualification process is making sure that the prospect has an interest in the product or service. Therefore, if the salesperson has qualified the prospect properly, it is safe to assume that some form of interest exists. It could just mean that the prospect is not interested in the terms of deal. If that is the case, those objections can typically be uncovered and overcome by asking questions.
Lack of Urgency
Sometimes a deal is not made because the prospect does not have an urgent need for what the salesperson is selling. For example, let’s pretend that a timeshare salesperson is targeting newly engaged people. It could be that the couple he or she is targeting has set a wedding date that is over two years away. In that instance, it is highly unlikely that the couple will be interested in closing a timeshare deal within the next three months. Therefore, I’d suggest that the salesperson place that lead in his or her tickler file for follow-up at a later time and focus on prospects that have a shorter action window.
Source: Personal Experience
Killeen Gonzalez has a degree in marketing as well as hotel and restaurant management. She is a former Regional Director of Sales and Marketing. She has since retired from the hospitality industry.
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