Ever feel like you are playing ping pong going back and forth trying to convince a customer to buy your product or service? The reason for this is rooted in objections and how sometimes we almost ask for prospects to question us. Let’s talk about the three major types of objections or reasons people resist buying and how to overcome them and make the sale.
Hey, everyone. It's Robert Poole with Growing Your B2B Small Business podcast. Have you ever been in a situation where a prospect or customer just doesn't seem to see your product or service the way you do? I think most of us have. Let's talk about what that really is and how we can overcome it. Let's get started.
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Okay, everyone. I hope you're having an awesome day today. In the last episode we talked about how easy it is to get distracted by ideas and things that don't really move our business forward and what to do about them. Today I want to talk about the reasons why clients and customers hesitate to buy and how can overcome those hesitations and reasons to make the sale and grow our companies. To start off, just so we're all on the same page let's briefly talk about the sales process, at least from my perspective.
I did a whole episode on the difference between sales and marketing a while back, but both are integral to the total sales process from generating a customer lead to closing for the sale. I like to look at this process with the hook, story and close model. The hook being something that gets a prospect to stop what they're doing and pay attention to your message. Now, that can be an advertising message they see, it could be a cold call that they have to answer or anything else that stops them in their tracks and gets them to pay attention to you, even if it's only for a half of a second.
I mean, the examples of that would be an ad on Facebook with a wacky headline that makes someone stop scrolling, go, "What? What does that... What'd they say?" Or a strange ad on TV or even a cold call where someone calls the prospect and says something that gets the prospect's attention like, "Hey, I was calling you because your insurance company is overcharging you." I mean, that makes the ears perk up so the cold call goes from just some name on the phone that they aren't even really listening to, to their ears perking up and thinking, "What did they just say?" That's the hook.
The next phase is involving and telling stories that help the prospects start to see that your solution may be a better idea than what they're currently doing. As humans, we think in pictures and we pick up concept best through stories. Those are either stories we've made up in our head based upon past experiences or stories that someone else tells us. We pick up concepts from those stories that enable our brain to conceptualize the new information. Without story and imagery, we're very unlikely to relate to the concept and it's unlikely that that we're even going to remember it so story is critical.
What these first two steps in the sales process, a hook and story, have in common is that they're both marketing. Marketing is really about changing someone's belief about a topic and hopefully changing them to believe that they need your solution. Only after marketing to our prospects can we actually start selling to them. What's the sales part of the hook, story, close? Well, it's the close part, the third part, of course. Some people say offer instead of close but I like close because it kind of reminds us that we actually have to ask for someone to take an action and pull the trigger on buying.
We can't just expect them to do it by themselves. The close, of course, has three components. Urgency, meaning you have to give them a reason to buy now versus procrastinating in the future. You have to show them some kind of scarcity or fear of loss, which basically just means if they don't buy now, the offer'll go away or somebody else would get it and they'll lose out. Something like that. Then finally you have to actually ask them to buy, whether that's an online sales page or asking verbally. But it's amazing, but it's the number one thing salespeople do poorly or, most of the time, not at all: ask for the order.
Why am I talking about hook, story, close on this? Well, if we don't do all three of those correctly, we won't get the sale. The question is how do we move a prospect through that process and what are the roadblocks that's stopping the process, which is what I want to talk about today. These roadblocks, in the sales world they're commonly referred to as objections. We're taught, well, you have to have good rebuttals to counter something that someone says that derails them from the process and gives them a reason not to buy.
Well, the problem with objections is that in a lot of cases, the first two steps, the marketing parts, we're literally telling the prospect to ask these questions or bring up excuses not to buy. It's not that we're saying, "Hey, tell me why you don't want to buy." And of course I've seen that too, but even worse is that all of the hooks, the story, and even the close to an extent set up the prospect to bring up these hesitations and, in their mind, stop the sales process because they consider them deal breakers.
As an example, in your typical sales presentation, in-person or over the phone, video, whatever, most salespeople... At best they use an outline of what they're going to say. Rarely is it memorized and thought out in a script use, which is a whole different subject. But the problem with not having a script is that nervousness and apathy or whatever sets in, and immediately the salesperson starts talking about what? Old school sales training.
They start feature barfing, trying to cleverly turn features into benefits and masquerade them in a benefit and go off on technobabble that's completely loses the prospect's attention and talks way above them. They compound that feature barfing and technobabble by focusing on price and how they're cheaper and better than other competitors. That's basically what a lot of salespeople are trained to do, unfortunately; become experts in their product or service and price quotas, not actually salespeople who are there to solve a problem.
One of the major problems with this approach is it invites every objection and reason not to buy in the prospect's mind. When you start talking about features or benefits, the prospect immediately will start to comparison shop in their mind. They start imagining, "Well, what does competitor X have or what does their product have that your product doesn't have and was that feature available somewhere else?" They started evaluating them from that standpoint. They start comparing your feature to your competitors in a vacuum instead of letting you frame it correctly.
And it's not just when you're having a conversation with a prospect. If you found the lead through advertising or something other than a cold call, you're doing the same damage by focusing your sales manager or... Excuse me, your sales message on features or benefits and pricing. Again, sort of begging for objections to form in the prospect's mind. Good salespeople actually try to address these objections in the prospect's mind before they can fully formulate, much less verbalize them.
The problem with poorly designed marketing is that if you do what you're supposed to do and let the prospect talk in a sales presentation, they're going to beat you to the objections and then you're on the defensive having to respond. It's better, of course, to knock down the objections before they even become objections. Let's talk about objections in general. I mean, the three major reasons behind them and some of the ways you can avoid the prospect considering them at all.
First, I've heard this from tons of salespeople over the last 25 years in sales and marketing, but you've got to get over that idea that every conversation is different and you can't be prepared to answer every objection with a previously thought out and scripted answer. Just like scripting your sales presentation and calls, salesmen will keep fighting [inaudible 00:07:28] this concept over and over again since I've been in marketing and sales.
A lot of salespeople think, "Well, every person and every conversation is different so you can't ever prepare for every objection." I mean, I understand where they're going from but they won't even write down the objection because they think there are just too many and it's simply not true, in my opinion. I mean, 99% of products or services probably have less than top 10 common objections and most likely they have less than five.
I mean, some of the obvious ones, common things like they basically don't trust the company or the sales representative, they don't think that the perceived value is great enough to part with their money, they don't understand how your solution helps them, they don't believe our solution can actually solve their problem or they don't even know they have a problem. So what do we do? The first step, we have to isolate these objections. If you don't know what they are, you can't really prepare for them.
You want to sit down and brainstorm all the ones you can think of and keep track of them. I mean, it's rudimentary but put them in a spreadsheet and when you get 10 or 20 after some experience, look for the similar objections that are basically the same thing that create that category so if it's a money objection, a pricing objection, if it's a timing objection, things like that. Next, all objections really have a psychological basis behind them. There's a reason in our brains while we think the way we do about objections.
It makes it a lot easier to address these if you really know where they're coming from and how the brain's functioning. I totally give credit to Steve Larsen and Russell Brunson on this idea of a lot of things... You can intuitively know a concept, but you may not be able to put it into words or organize the thought very well. They both talk about how you can categorize the psychology of all objections in the three categories.
It wasn't until I first heard this from them that I realized this was true and what a wonderful framework what was for attacking those beliefs before they turned into deal breaking objections, so kudos to them for coming up with that. First, when you look at objections or roadblocks people have to buying, they're really all about beliefs about buying your product. From our perspective as the salesperson, they're considered false beliefs meaning you don't believe that they're true, what they're thinking.
I mean, what is a false belief? It's simply an idea in the prospect's mind that doesn't line up with what you know to be true. I mean, have you ever had a prospect think your product is just like your competitors but you know that it's vastly superior and different in so many ways? That perception the prospect has is an example of a false belief, and this is where that idea of three types of objections comes into play.
Steve and Russell teach that the type of objections are either vehicle related internal or external beliefs. I think this is really a great way to categorize them and make it easy to rebut them or change them by thinking about them in those terms. What's a vehicle based objection? The vehicle is the product or the solution that solves a problem. If they have a vehicle type objection, that means that they don't think that the vehicle will actually work to solve their problem.
For example our company, SalesDouble, does cold calling and lead generation amongst other things. If someone doesn't believe that cold calling is an effective way to generate business, that's a vehicle related objection. I believe that it's a false belief as we've proven over 20+ years that it was and still is an effective means of marketing and generating new prospects. But from the prospect's point of view, the vehicle doesn't work. We know it to be a false belief, so it's much easier to handle that objection when we know where that objection is coming from psychologically.
The second category is more internal belief based objections. Basically, these are beliefs about themselves or their ability to use the solution you're offering. The example might be, again, cold calling. They might think, "Well, cold calling may work for others but I'm too scared to make cold calls and I don't know what to say. And even if I had somebody else to cold call, I can't make cold calling work because I don't know what I'd say in a followup call or an appointment, or I'm not organized to keep track of the leads and appointments somebody else sets for me. I mean, what will people think if I do this and it doesn't work?" They're all related to them and their ability to do something.
The third category, again, are external based objections. These are beliefs about factors that the prospect perceives are sort of out of their control. Things like money, "I don't have the resources. I don't have the time, I can't take the time to do this. It's impossible. It's too hard. It's going to be too time consuming." That sort of thing. "My wife won't let me do it." The classic sales line.
Okay. I mean, this is great to understand the psychology behind different types objections, but what do we actually do about it and how do we overcome them? First, in general we need to address all the common objections as quickly as we can in the marketing process. The longer we wait, the more difficult it gets. We don't want to wait until we're at the close to try to handle these things. We also need to make sure that we have well thought out answers to knock down these objections, and preferably written down and memorized if you're talking to someone in person.
I mean, if you try to wing it, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of doing it. Next, we've got to help them shift their beliefs to align with ours. We need to create pain in their mind by holding onto the old false beliefs. If they do that, then this is going to happen. Then it's the Tony Robbins pain/pleasure thing but in addition to causing pain in their minds, now they need to associate pleasure with a new belief, the one that we want them to have.
One thing I would say too is you've got to be careful because you don't want to directly attack the false belief. If you can do it in a way that doesn't make them feel stupid, like if they... If you're attacking the way they currently do something and you think, "Oh, that is completely stupid. You're an idiot for doing that." Then you lose them right there because all the rapport's gone, so don't attack the belief without doing it in a very subtle way.
Be subtle about it and tell a story. Let them infer and feel like they're changing their beliefs, that they're in control. They're much more likely to change if it's their idea. How do we actually do this? I mean, we have to help guide them through the process to buy into our new beliefs through stories, through case studies and other demonstrations that illustrate how there's much more profitable and better beliefs available and that they can dump the old beliefs and get a new one.
Some specific examples for each of the three categories: first, again, vehicle based objections. Example might be, again, "cold calling doesn't work." What do we do? First, we want to acknowledge and validate their belief. We don't want to make them feel stupid, in other words. We want to say, "Hey, that's an understandable and reasonable way to look at it, but let me tell you a story about someone similar to you that didn't even really believe in cold calling, as well. They kind of shifted eventually to realize that it does possibly work."
Then we show them the new vehicle, which is much better at solving their problem. The story again. And what about internal beliefs? Maybe "I can't cold call effectively." Again, acknowledge and validate their belief as reasonable. Or you have a client [inaudible 00:14:27] thought that. Tell them a story about someone who realized that it wasn't true. With proper mentorship and training, it's a skill that can be learned. Reinforce the success in shifting the identity that a cold caller had in the story.
If you don't have a case study, make up a hypothetical one. I mean, you're not lying if you don't infer that it's an actual client. You're just illustrating a point through a story. Then finally, the external belief like "I can't afford it" or "I don't have the financial resources". Again, acknowledge and validate it and say, "Hey, I totally understand where you're coming from. That's a lot of money or that's a big commitment, whatever."
Then, again, tell them a story about someone you know was right where they are and that couldn't afford what they needed to do, or they thought they couldn't. Then use the same story or a different one to show how that person got creative and came up with the money because it was a smart decision and a smart investment. If you're listening, in all these examples there's really some trends.
Number one, acknowledge and validate. Use a story to show someone who was experienced and they experienced the same thing as a prospect and then use that same story or a different one to illustrate that someone changed their beliefs and how it paid off. All three of these types can be handled in the same way. So where do we actually address these objections in the process? We know we need to do it early as possible but the answer is we need to do it as many times as we can in every stage of the sales process.
If possible, we even need to address the same objections several times with different stories and language because not all prospects are going to relate to all the examples. In the marketing stage we need to address these objections by doing things like... In whatever campaigns you have, whatever ads you're running, whatever communications you have via email or social media, et cetera. I mean, focus on the most common popular objections.
When people are first paying attention the most and during the hook, use stories and social proof that rebut some false beliefs in that sense. Don't mention features and technobabble and other things that are basically egging them on and begging for objections. Everything should be geared towards shifting away from those old beliefs. We need to continue this process and address them in the close or the offer stage. Again, focus on the beliefs you want them to have.
Show them how replacing those old beliefs will improve their life and their situation. Ask them to make a change, i.e. ask for the order and give them help in changing by using urgency and scarcity to move them to action. Reinforce that they made the right decision and welcome them to their new identity. These are some of the suggestions on how to effectively handle the most common objections we see and stop the roadblocks to the sale.
Takeaways in summary for this episode... I mean, first we need to identify those objections and there are generally less than 10 and, like I said, most of the time less than five. Figure out if they're a vehicle internal or external based objection from a psychology standpoint and then program your marketing and your whole process by changing anything that begs for an objection and preempt these things by addressing in the marketing, the sales stages. Help them get over to that switch to new beliefs with sales and closing. Then finally help them switch to new beliefs with the sales and closing process, but using urgency and scarcity. I hope this was helpful. Thanks for listening today, and I'll talk to you soon.
Thanks for listening today. I hope you learned something that you can implement right away. I know your time is valuable and it's really an honor to serve you. Please subscribe and rate the show in your favorite podcast platform and give me your honest feedback. If you're interested in learning more about how to grow your B2B small business, please call my office at SalesDouble which is 866-231-6776. Talk to you soon.