We all face questions and objections from buyers. The key to creating a non-stop sales boom is in re-framing these objections as simple conversation starters that lead towards a sale. This method is actually called S.A.L.E. In doing so you will reduce your anxiety and will be able to work through them more effectively.
S = Stop and listen. That’s right. I am saying that the best first step in answering questions or objections is to stop. Do nothing. Say nothing. Just for three seconds. Three seconds is long enough to create some space, some thinking time between the question and your answer, but not long enough to be awkward.
A = Acknowledge the question. When you are selling you want your buyers to be talking and asking questions. That is a sign they are engaged. Silence or apathy is deadly. In order to keep the conversation going, thank them for making the statement. I am not advocating that you agree with them. Just that you acknowledge. A simple statement such as the ones below will do the trick:
- Thanks for sharing that.
- You raise an important point.
- I’ve never thought about it that way.
- You are smart to be concerned about that.
- I appreciate you being honest with me.
Showing appreciation will show the client that you care about the conversation. When you show that you care about the conversation, and value what the buyer has said, they will say more.
L = Ask a question and listen to the answer. Before you answer the question you must truly understand what the client is stating or asking. Use one of the following questions to clarify what the buyer is asking for and to help you better form an answer:
- What do you mean by that?
- How much of a discount are you looking for?
- Why is that important to you?
- Have you seen something else that includes that?
- What do you like about that approach?
- Is that a deal breaker for you?
- How much too high are we?
Continue asking questions until you truly understand the issue your buyer has raised. Only then will you be in a good position to answer it properly. Kevin Poppel from Ag-Power Enterprises always likes to advise his team: “Once the client has stopped talking wait at least three seconds before you say something. That’s the best way to ensure you not only don’t interrupt but you let the buyer completely finish his thought.”
E = Provide an example. The best way to answer questions from buyers is to use the words of your clients. Let’s face it, your buyers will believe your clients more than they will believe you. You are, after all the “salesperson,” trying to earn a living. While most sellers spend their time developing case studies and testimonials to provide outcomes data on their solutions for their website, the best sellers use this data to answer questions and deal with objections posed by clients. Let this become your million-dollar strategy—your killer app, the secret weapon that allows you to exceed your revenue goal year after year.
Here are two examples.
A professional services seller gives this response—after having stopped, acknowledged, and listened—to a price objection: “At ABC Company they were also initially concerned about the price. What they found is that with the reduction in contractors required for data entry from three to one, they were able to save over $100,000 in labor costs in one year. This more than paid for the $24,000 project purchase and provided a four times return on investment in 12 months.”
Lee Harbin at Dolphin Professional Services also stops, acknowledges, and listens effectively when addressing a question about the timing of delivery. He then states “The implementation team at our largest client was originally concerned about our ability to deliver a project of this magnitude as well. What they discovered is that our structure allows us to ramp up quickly with the right resources, ensuring that we have never missed a deadline with them in over four years.”
Use the SALE methodology to keep the buyer engaged through the sales process. Remember, the more the buyers are talking the better chance you have to make the sale and create your Nonstop Sales Boom. The minute they shut up is the minute the sales start slipping away.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.