It's so much easier to avoid stalls and objections than learn how to handle them. If we could do that it's just gonna make for a better sales call, better relationships with our clients and prospects.
Over the course of my years with Sandler and working with thousands of salespeople and sales managers, a consistent area of concern you always see is, sales people, want to improve their stall and objection handling skills. When a prospect says things like "We're not quite ready", "Your price is too high", or "We've decided to stay where we are." I could go on. It just seems like that's a big focus of a lot of sales organizations. And I remember going back when I was a VP of sales before joining Sandler, at a large consumer products company, we didn't have a formal sales process. But the one thing we worked on, to improve on as a team was objection handling. And once I learned the Sandler methodology it taught me instead of learning how to handle stalls and objections, why don't we really understand why they happen. And learn how to avoid them.
In order to do that, we have to solve the right end of the problem. Not treat the symptoms, but treat the cause. So if we're trying to prevent objections rather than overcome them, what do we need to think about in terms of our own attitude?
There's no such thing as a sales person handling a prospect's stalls and objections. There's only one person qualified to do that, and that's the prospect. And I think that one of the biggest problems, in general, is that, most sales people, most companies don't have a system for selling. And when you think about it, whether it's an accounting department or accounting leaders. I mean, they can refer back and have their generally accepted accounting principles. Manufacturers have processes and six sigma. Human resources have regulations in case law stipulating what to do and what not to do. But sales professionals, we don't have anything. You get people from all over the world with different degrees, different backgrounds, different experiences. And they all come to the sales job with all this various information in how they approach things and different philosophies and different majors. And then we expect them to sell in a particular way. It's impossible without a system or structure.
In manufacturing, they don't say, hey how do we prevent the line from completely breaking down, and being a disaster or how do we fix that when it happens. They say "How do we prevent it?" How do we build that so it doesn't break down? And, of course, if it does, there's tools, tactics, and strategies to handle it. But in sales, without that system or process, you're not gonna have, not only the attitude, the mindset, but the tactics and strategies to even think about avoiding them from happening.
Another reason that stalls and objections occur is because sales people don't qualify before they present. Most of these stalls and objections happen because we're guessing and we're not finding out the right answer before we do something, right? It's quite like a car crash. When a car crashes, the team that goes out to examine the site, doesn't go to the spot of the crash itself. They go back to where the skidding starts to determine what happened. They even have a system for the process for examining. So, to mention the point about qualification, if we don't do the right things up front, we can expect a crash in the sales process towards the end, ie; stalls and objections.
What are some of the right things to do on a call to prevent stalls and objections?
Develop a system to follow. We need a framework so we could manage that call from the very beginning. So I have a chance to get you a hello, get the guard down enough. And follow the Sandler methodology, so the stalls and objections don't occur.
Number one: Learn how to we establish trust and report, so the prospect will get their guard down, be open and honest. I always like to define trust and report. Because it's kind of a ... You know, you ask a million people, you have a million different definitions. My definition is, my ability to get information from the prospect. Where they'll share with me and answer the questions I ask.
Number two: Getting mutual agreement on what we're gonna cover, the framework for the meeting, my need and ability to ask them questions and target the questions to specific areas of their business that I maybe can help them with. Obviously, answer questions on their end. And just as importantly, lay a couple of outcomes that a typical meeting would have. And again, in establishing trust and report by always letting them know if it's not a fit, we can part friends at that point or if there is, we've got some next steps.
Number three: Our questioning strategy in finding emotional drivers which we call pain.
Number 4: Once we get that, we go into the investment or budget step. Because, when you think about it, a prospect has to invest three things with us. Not only money but, they have to invest their time and resources. And maybe the ability to get in and out or relationships. So that's an important thing to cover.
Next step, understanding decision, people, and process.
Finally going into fulfillment where we would present our solutions and then, post-sale, avoiding any back outs, delays, and implementation. And even generating referrals.
The Sandler selling system has 7 steps they are in that order for a reason. The first two, bonding, report and contracts are setting the stage so that you get the right answers and you don't have any miscommunications, or really objections or stalls when you get to the middle three steps, which are the qualifying steps. So you gotta figure out their need, their budget and how they're gonna make a decision before you present the solution, which is in fulfillment. And then again, David Sandler did something really interesting which is, most people when they get the check, they get the heck out of there before anything else goes wrong. And he said "Hey, stick around for another five minutes, and prevent stalls, objections, backouts, buyers remorse and stuff like that afterward. Really every one of those seven things is put in there and in that order to prevent stalls and objections, right?
Learn first hand how the 7 Steps of the Sandler Selling System work by attending one of our Sales Bootcamps. Go here to learn more about them.