For years, BANT (Budget – Authority – Need – Time) has been a sales qualification framework for lead generation, which is now a mantra to any salesperson. However, clients are much more informed than ever before.
Therefore, understanding and factoring different buyer types is quite significant to the sales process. The Eisenberg Buyer Modality, by Bryan Eisenberg, gives an insight to how buyers approach purchase decisions and their behavioural habits during a purchase.
Source: The Eisenberg Buyer Modality
If the buyer remains true to their modality, salespeople have a competitive edge to customize their sales approach to better connect and face objections effectively.
However, the frustration comes about when you hear objections which are typical knee-jerk reactions from busy people who don’t yet see the value in working with you. Here are five of the most common sales objections many teams encounter and a few means to get around them:
‘Your services cost too much. I can get the same service from someone cheaper.’
Perhaps the ‘mother’ of all sales objections, the price-based excuse for avoidance is one that all sales persons—from rank amateurs to gurus—face on a frequent basis. More often than not, denizens of the commercial landscape are embroiled in budgetary warfare with a spectrum of internal and external stakeholders that render bottom-line concerns the biggest impediment for successful lead conversion. In this respect, the sales person is required to confidently pace the prospective client through the monetary constraints facing each sale, whilst ensuring all aspects of cost are justified with factual value statements.
In some cases, the price of your product or service may tread beyond standard prices in the market, and when it does, it is imperative that valid reasons behind such variations are brought to the fore. More often than not, premium pricing schemes are accompanied by a unique selling proposition that a client would not be able to substitute from any other provider (and something which a potential competitor would not readily be able to emulate). In addition, create emphasis on how much he or she could save and the value for money factor. It is pivotal that you as a sales person understand the overall prescription of the product or service that you intend on selling, whilst educating yourself on the hues and contours that render you a true ambassador of your sale.
- Fear of Change
‘I don’t want to change the way I have been doing things for 15 years. Too much can go wrong. ‘
Change! The bane of the comfortable-as-is and boon for the enterprising! The inadvertent harbinger of success or failure in spite of preparation and forethought! To change is to question the status quo and take decisive measures to alter the way things are and the way things are done. For these reasons—and many others—change is usually perceived as a daunting endeavor that is enshrouded by uncertainty and pivoted out of the usual line-of-sight.
The unwillingness to change is a frequent reason fronting most instances of indifference given to opportunities ‘to change’ and thereby, to improve, the existing state of affairs. If you intend on being a trailblazing salesperson, you must be able to drill through the thick armor of uncertainty, or doubt, of fear, that constricts the decision-making of potential clients.
Make it less fearful for clients by demonstrating past examples of change; show how potential customers have adapted to those changes for the better; advocate progress. Remember, client testimonials are a great way to highlight the capability of your proposition.
‘Seems like you know what you are doing, but how do I know you really have the necessary experience to do this.’
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”, quotes Stephen Covey — a veteran businessman, educator, and keynote speaker.
Trust takes times to build and as such should be nurtured with equal parts of honesty, transparency, and consistency in approach. Engage your prospect with a touch of personalization, do not withhold any information, and be forthcoming to share resources that strengthen your pitch (i.e. case studies and customer references). Such actions will help to take away some of the uncertainty and build client confidence and a good rapport.
‘It’s too much for me to take on right now. I’m too busy – call me again in 6 months.’
A familiar sales objection and a common safety net that prevents a full-on leap into action by a prospect, wrong timing is an excuse that has the potential of knocking any deal out of momentum. If lack of time is cited as an issue by the prospect, chances are it will still be an issue in the ensuing quarter, six-month period, or year. Whilst it is imperative that you value and respect your clients’ busy schedule and commitments, there are a few tidbits of counter-strategies that can prove to be useful in swaying their interest to your benefit.
One of the most time-tested methods is to politely request a very brief meeting; it may be through a Skype-call, a phone call, or a visit. It is always prudent to maintain sales literature at your disposal that you can share with the prospect, and always ensure that it is personalized to their cause. A little gesture of personalization on your part will do wonders in convincing the most dissident of clients. Do be assertive and take initiative, but with ample respect. Start by listing all of the benefits in working with you and how easy it is to get started. Make the decision to hire you a ‘no brainer’ or simply an easy one and you will remove this objection.
‘I have to speak to my boss about this before deciding.’
Authority comes into play when a third party is involved in the decision-making process. In such a situation, the power paradigm is shifted away from your prospect and encompasses the views of a wider audience (e.g. a boss, family member or mentor). In response to this, you would be best served to find out the needs, concerns, and fears of the collective decision makers and design a compelling offering that instigates a ‘yes’.
Reasons to Object
To soften the effect (objection) of an impact from a prospective client on your sales approach, there are ways to block that punch and still make the sale.
The responses to the common objections will give you a way to pierce through the reactions. The key is to understand what is stopping your prospective client from making a decision in your favour. Therefore, as a salesperson it is imperative to analyze and discover some of the underlying reasons:
- Addressing the wrong buyer modality. This occurs when the salesperson has a different temperament and sells to the wrong buyer modality. For an example, instead of approaching a ‘Spontaneous Buyer Modality’ with a time-sensitive offer, the salesperson uses client testimonials and statistics to make the sale.
- BANT related problem. This could be due to more important current issues that take precedence over your solution, budget allocation is over the limit, communication barrier with the real decision maker etc.
- The customer truly isn’t interested. Try to determine what your potential client is really concerned about. Get as clear as you can on the reason to object or indecisiveness. But, always remember not to push past the prospect’s point of comfort because there comes a certain point where ‘no’ means ‘NO’.
Robert Clay — founder of Marketing Wizdom — reports that 92% of sales people give up after four rejections and 44% give up after the first ‘no’. This is a very powerful statistic for any sales team to improve on effective sales management and performance. If you are persistent salesperson, this is good news on a bad day. Here’s why:
- Most of the competition is out of the game
- Helps to understand and learn from sales objections
- Equip with professional selling skills
- Opportunity for coaching sessions to run through few mock calls
- Provide training to handle objections and solidify their messaging
Once you understand the buyer modalities, it will be easier to draw an accurate picture of how buyers are activated. The value addition lies in behavioural patterns of the buyer, not simply in character traits. The better you can anticipate your prospect’s objectives, the better you respond to sales objections and tailor-make your approach for lead generation.
Addressing common sales objections will help you to either close the deal or disqualify the lead from being a sure fit. Although you find it loathing to remove prospects and shrink your sales pipeline, on a positive note you are salvaging valuable time—which can be invested in more amiable sources. It is far better to spend time on a handful of your best prospects than spreading yourself thin across dozens of leads.