Indicators: It seems that as soon as you demolish one sales objection the prospect raises another, and then another.
What this indicates: A string of relatively insignificant objections, thrown out one after the other, usually signals that there is a deeper underlying problem that you have not dealt with. That underlying problem may rest with the person (the prospect with whom you are dealing), or with the organization itself
Before you can make any progress you MUST break out of the pattern of reacting to these sales objections one-by-one, and PROBE to the core of the root difficulty. Perhaps the real core of their objections is not really the product, or the price, or delivery . . . or any of the usual things like that, despite what they may say.
In other words, the series of seemingly-focused sales objection may be cover for a deeper concern, OR even for a lack of authority to buy, or lack of budget. That string of objections, or other kinds of “phantom” objections, could even be thrown out to cover the fact that this organization has run into some serious financial difficulties.
Sometimes, the customer may throw up this string of objections because she’s embarrassed to admit that she doesn’t have as much buying authority as she had claimed. Or that the rules of the game in the organization have changed since you first talked, so her authority has been diminished.
Or it may be that although she does have Authority, Need, and Dollars, she is worried about the economic climate over the next few months.
In some cases, the prospect herself may not consciously aware of just what that ultimate difficulty is, and has only a vague feeling of unease about proceeding to place the order with you.
Remedy: How to deal with the string of objections? First, rely on the five-step for handling any kind of sales objection, hesitation, or question:
(1) PROBE. Explore. Ask questions. Be attuned to subtle signals.
(2) LISTEN THROUGH to what is really at issue.
(3) RESTATE. That is, paraphrase, if appropriate.
(4) RESPOND in a positive, can-do manner.
(5) Move on. Don’t get bogged down.
But in this case of the string of sales objections, you’ll need to be flexible and creative in how you probe. For example, you could begin by confronting the hesitation head-on, in hopes of unblocking the prospect’s root concerns:
“You’re raising a variety of issues, but I sense there’s a deeper concern that’s troubling you. Can we talk about that?”
Alternately: “We’ve discussed a number of your concerns, and I think I’ve dealt satisfactorily with each of them. But when I encounter this many sales objections, that’s usually a signal that there’s a deeper concern operating. Can you help me with what that might be?”
If that doesn’t break through, draw on a combination of intuition and experience, and say something more directive, on the order of, “I sense that behind your hesitation may be some concerns about which way the economy is heading. Could that be at the core of it?”
If the customer concedes that Yes, what you suggest is indeed the root cause, then RESPOND POSITIVELY to it. DO NOT slip into a defensive mode.
Thus, if the concern is the economic climate, you could respond by showing how the savings resulting from installing your product will more than pay for the out-of-pocket expense. Thus the purchase would make sense regardless of the direction the economy takes.
Another possible reason the prospect may be hiding behind a string of phony objections
Sometimes the string of objections is used a cover story to disguise something that the prospect is perhaps embarrassed to talk about . . . perhaps that he or she doesn’t really have the level of buying authority he led you to believe, and is now reluctant to admit it. (Yes, you should have explored early-on whether this person had buying authority and budget, but perhaps they fibbed, or whatever.)
If that is the case, you may need to try to raise your level of contact in the organization, while taking this person “upstairs” with you.
In other words, you may need to get to a higher level of decision or spending authority within the organization.
But, caution: you don’t want to cut out your present contact, or otherwise antagonize them, as, once you have obtained the purchasing OK, you may be forwarded back from above to this same person. You don’t want to have alienated them.