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The 6 Steps to Successful Selling -- Step 5

by Robert Garment, Executive Editor | March 31, 2006
Last week we continued our examination of the six steps to successful selling. You can see the earlier articles by scrolling down to the bottom of the News and clicking on News Archive.
Last week we covered Step 4, The Presentation. This week we move on Step 5, Overcoming Objections and Negotiating.

The 6 Steps of The Sale
1. Planning and Preparation
2. The Introduction or Opening
3. Questioning and Probing
4. The Presentation
5. Overcoming Objections and Negotiating
6. The Closing

Step 5 -- Overcoming Objections and Negotiating

Step 5 - Overcoming Objections and Negotiating

-\tDealing with Objections and Roadblocks is a critical part of the selling process - when an objection arises, the sale is essentially "broken," and if you can't fix it, you've lost the sale.

-\tSince you've probably already made your best sales pitch, you may feel you don't have much ammo left. But you have to say in control and calm - this is also the most delicate part of the process - if you sound tense or anxious, your customer will hear it in your voice, and may read that as you're desperate, and what you have to sell isn't all the good, or it isn't good in this particular case.

-\tThe objection could be any of a thousand things but whatever it, try probing again with a question such as, "What make you say that?" or "What can I modify that would make you comfortable in terms of [the issue at hand]?"

-\tSome objections result from misunderstandings - think quickly if you might have left out or poorly presented a key piece of information that is causing the objection. Some are used to veil other misgivings which you need to expose - for instance, "It costs too much," could be caused by the fact that the customer doesn't really understand the value of your product or technology.

-\tSome objections are negotiating ploys - the customer is simply looking to get a better deal. You should keep something in your "back pocket" you can pull out and offer to sweeten the deal. You'll have to use your judgment, but if should frame this concession as "OK, here's the one thing I can do you for" and mean it. If the customer thinks you've gone as far as you can, he may take the deal because he believes it will not get better.

-\tTry to avoid using the word 'but' - it's inherently confrontational.

-\tOne technique that can work for you is turning an objection in to a positive. For example: the prospect says he thinks it's too expensive, you might say: "I think what you're really saying is that you have no problem with giving us the contract, but you'd prefer the payments staged over three years rather than two? - well I think we could probably do something about that..."

-\tAnother technique when an objection arises is to ask if there are any other problems. If the customer confirms there in only one main sticking point and everything else is fine, if you can resolve that issue, the customer has to agree that you've sold him.

-\tBy this stage you may have seen some signs that the prospect is what is sometimes called "buying warmth." They relax, make jokes, talk about the future, about time-frames, etc.

Now it's time for Step 6 - The Closing