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Solving Stalls and Objections

Stalls and objections!  They ruin sales forecasts, squash quota attainment and mangle commission checks.  The frustration that sales people feel is universal. Unfortunately, many have defaulted to the belief and practice that there’s nothing to be done about sales objections and stalls, other than making the evergreen “just checking in” phone calls or emails. For the record, I believe “just checking in” is one of the most unempowering phrases EVER in the world of selling.  There is a better approach.

Let’s start with some simple definitions of sales objections and stalls.

What Is a Sales Objection?

Objections are overt statements or questions from the prospect that voice or hint at a concern that can completely stop the sale. Objections can also be wrapped in innocent sounding questions.  Here are a few examples:

  • That’s more expensive than your competitors”—This one is easy to understand, although it could be difficult to solve if the ROI for your product or service wasn’t part of the conversation.
  • You can’t meet with the Decision Maker, you need to run it through me” –This objection can keep you from selling to the right person or getting a clear next step or decision.
  • I’m not comfortable discussing our budget. Just put some numbers together and send it over”—This objection means you will be guessing at their budget and potentially negotiating against yourself.
  • We don’t need a meeting to review the proposal. I’ll call you if I’ve got questions”—This objection guarantees that your chances of closing the deal just plummeted.
  • How much experience does your company have in this industry?”—Prospects want to know for a reason. Do they believe if you only have 2 years of experience that you can’t be as good as someone who has 10 years of experience? If you can’t untangle this mindset objection, you’re done.
  • Where is your headquarters?”—Once again, this may not be as innocent as it sounds on the surface. If you are trying to do business in Europe, but your headquarters is in the good ol’ USA, is there an objection that needs to be explored?

Did you notice something about these objections? All of them are comments that SHOULD be addressed during the sales conversation vs. at the end after the proposal.  That’s your first insight about objection handling in the sales process.

SELLect Sales Tip: Objections should be surfaced and dealt with proactively during the sales conversation. If you are surprised by these issues after your proposal, there’s a good chance you will not recover from them.

What Is a Sales Stall?

Now let’s talk about stalls.  Stalls are different.  Stalls are prospects’ attempts to slow down the sale.  Although some are authentic, many are used to mask a hidden objection.  In other words, stalls are sneaky objections.  Usually prospects use stalls to control the sale, if they are unconvinced, to put off making a decision, or to hide the real issue. Here are a few examples:

  • “I need to think it over”—This is one of the worst answers you can get in sales. You must proactively take this off the table with the prospect early in the sales conversation, or you will succumb to the SLOW NO.  
  • “I need to check with others” (the board, my boss, my team)—Oops! Someone forgot to qualify and manage the Buying Process early in the conversation.
  • “I can’t get the Decision Maker to sit down long enough to go over the proposal”—Oops! Someone forgot to qualify the Organizational Commitment and Buying Process early in the conversation.
  • “We’re too busy right now, but stay in touch”—Oops! Someone forgot to develop Urgency and qualify the Organizational Commitment relative to other business priorities.
  • “Call me back in 2 or 3 weeks”—Oops! Someone forgot to qualify that the prospect was ready to make a decision at the end of the Proposal Review Meeting. At this point the only thing the salesperson can do is clarify what is going to happen in those two weeks, work towards shortening the time frame and get the follow up conversation on the Decision Maker’s calendar.
  • “I’ll call you”—There are Dating Books that can help with this one! 😊
  • I could keep going, but this is getting depressing!

Did you notice that many of these stalls occurred because either the opportunity was poorly qualified or the overly accommodating salesperson accepted these excuses at face value?  Here’s your second insight:

SELLect Sales Tip:  Most sales stalls and objection occur because steps were missed in the qualification process or the sales person didn’t set strong expectations!

Would you like to learn how to eliminate stalls and objections before they occur? Email us about our Sales Training Seminars  at [email protected]  or check out SELLect Online if you prefer to learn from your office and on your schedule!

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