Share this page on:
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle BookmarksMyspaceTumblrRedditGoogle ReaderDiggDeliciousBlinkListStumbleUpon

How to respond to complaints properly and thereby selling more

There is not a single vendor who can start forming a conclusion until the customer has revealed what he's thinking during the sales process.

You might have someone who says that ”this is more than we can pay.” Congratulations - your job has just begun. This is when you should start acting like a pro and, like the true professional that you are, you have already prepared yourself. What you have done is to figure out any possible complaints in advance and provided them with a complete response and then you’ll simply turn the opposition into an opportunity.

If you are prepared in this way, the opposition won't have the same emotional impact on you. Instead of being afraid that the opportunity is gone, the customer has suddenly given you a foundation to build on. Nice isn't it?

Objections are a rule
It doesn't matter how good your offer is - there will always be objections. To begin with, there are several reasons why the customer doesn't want to buy. It may be that they have become hesitant and need more information. They may want to be even more convinced or more confident. That's when objections will pop up.

The first thing to do is to find out what lies behind the opposition. Maybe it's intentional business tactics. They want your product, but they want a lower price and for you to get a bit nervous so you’ll want to lower the price by yourself. The customer may have to think about it some more, perhaps he/she has more options to look at and consider. It may be that the customer wants to test himself/herself in the acquisition and is looking for arguments for not buying to see if what he/she believes in feels right or wrong.

People are different, as you know. Some act directly and others need a very long process. This is something that only practice will teach you. You can sit across from a real happy-go-lucky person who just stares hard at you while you're presenting your idea and you’re absolutely sure you'll walk away empty-handed when he/she suddenly lights up and wonders where he/she'll sign – or vice versa. You can have an amazing connection and understanding with a customer and everything appears to be carved in stone but when you call on Monday like you agreed, he/she has made himself/herself unavailable. But that's what's it like to be a seller – you get new surprises every day!

Here are some common objections and how to treat them:

• If it's about money
The client says he/she can only afford a certain amount. End of story.
In this case, you can do a lot of things. You can change your offer by adding something to make it worth the amount you want, or remove something to get down to the amount the customer wants to pay. Examine the reasons, too. Maybe it's about the fact the customer just can't afford to pay that much right now. Attempt to change the terms of payment in this case, or offer payments in separate installments. You can also tell the customer that the price cut they want is okay, but then he/she has to commit to more purchases. You may sign a contract for more future deliveries.
It's up to you to find out if money really is the issue here. If the customer just says it's too expensive, ask what he/she compares it with. This will force your customer to define the objection, that he/she just can't blurt things out like that. It may be that the customer has already decided to buy, but wants to gamble a bit and see if he/she can get an even better – and cheaper - price. The important thing is that the customer gives you something else if you agree to lower the price. Maybe you can write a longer contract or request that the customer becomes a reference for your company. If you are pressured and feel you need this order and the customer is adamant, blame your boss and go home and think about whether you can accept the lower price. Don't just say yes on the spot. It just shows that your margins are negotiable anyway.

• If the customer wants more of the same product for the same price
Accept what you can accept, but add something to the deal. “If I give you what you want, will you sign now?” In this position you require a counterpart.

• If the customer hesitates
Find out if the person really has the power to order. Repeat your benefits to the customer. Ask what else the customer needs to know to order now. Show the customer that you can't wait, there are others who want to buy now.

• If the customer says it's the wrong time - that the budget is already set or not planned yet
Make a joke about it. Say something like: “That's so typical. I always meet with people one day before the budget is set, or a day after.”Then add; “But let's say that I had come at the right time, which had been the main points of this project?”

• If the client says he/she doesn't need your product
Ask what he/she likes the most about what he/she has. He/she might respond that it's fast and reliable. Then ask what it would mean if he/she got it even faster. The customer can answer that it would mean a lot and then you can begin to present your solution. If you still don't get the order, you have at least gathered some good solid information about what the customer really appreciates about what he/she has today. You can turn this information into a part of your future sales pitch.

• If the customer says he/she'll think about it
Respond with a question: “If you were to rate what I've just told you about from 1 to 5, how high would you rate it? ”If the customer then says less than 5, you should ask what you can do to turn it into a 5. Maybe you can offer just that thing to make up the score.

• If the customer says he/she'll need to talk to others in order to make a decision
Ask what questions he/she needs to be able to answer when he/she does. When the customer tells you, ask the customer what he/she intends to answer them with. Help him/her with the answers.

The most important thing you can learn about handling objections is to be prepared with the answers. You do this by collecting objections over time. What did the customer say last time you felt unsettled and what can you learn from it? What will you say next time ?

Homework: Work on addressing objections by practicing with your colleagues, your wife/husband and your children. You will have a lot of fun with this and at the same time become good at doing it professionally.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.