Firstly, what type of conversations am I talking about? Here are a few comments you might receive:
‘But what about x?’
‘I’m not sure that will work…’
‘That’s too expensive’
It feels like bad news to hear such comments. But the truth is that they are buying signals! They wouldn’t be bothered to have listened to you or be bothered to start negotiating if they didn’t have a serious interest in buying.
So, objections are good news and there is no need to get flustered. Stay calm, don’t get defensive and go through this simple process!
- Express gratitude for this feedback.
- Demonstrate some empathy for the client – avoid telling them that they are wrong at all costs! There may be a misunderstanding.
- Probe to find out more about their concern. Sometimes there is an underlying concern that the client hasn’t expressed yet. Think about objections as icebergs with 90% below the waterline. Gently probing lowers the waterline.
- Listen and show you understand their perception. More empathy will deepen the relationship with the client.
- Explore alternatives and ideally do this with the client to build a collaborative relationship.
- Demonstrate the value of your proposal and check understanding by the client
- Ask if there are any further concerns.
Sometimes a rival firm has a genuinely better proposition and it doesn’t matter how you negotiate, you won’t get the sale. Arguably, you might have recognised this earlier and avoided wasting time on a lost cause. Assess the likelihood of success before preparing your proposal.
Another tip…at the outset, consider what objections you might get and prepare your answers. You’ll get fewer objections.
Final tip…learn from each pitch so you can make a note of what works and what doesn’t. You’ll get better each time!