One of the most common questions for both new and experienced entrepreneurs is how to effectively overcome objections. After all, you’re asking people to give their time, money, or both to invest in _your _product or opportunity. Whether you’ve got a friendly audience or a skeptic, objections are common. If you’re new to working in this career, it may feel discouraging, or even overwhelming.
The way you respond to each objection will depend on the individual, your relationship with him or her, the specific problem, and your own knowledge and experience. However, here are 5 steps you can take (and one bonus suggestion!) to ensure each conversation moves the prospect forward and strengthens your relationship.
It sounds obvious, but sometimes in your excitement for your product or opportunity, you forget to pause and truly listen to the other person’s experience.
Maybe they need to tell you about a different time they made an investment and it ended up poorly. Perhaps they’re in a difficult time in their marriage and feel the need to focus on their personal life right now. Possibly they just need a friend to vent to about their busy schedule and lack of time for their hobbies.
Listening effectively is the first and most important step. Because before you overcome their objections, you have to understand them.
Some people are convinced by statistics and awards and public acclaim. But most people want to know why this matters to YOU.
How has this business changed YOUR life? Why is this product YOUR favorite? We ask this question a lot around here, but that’s because it’s so critical. If you can’t talk compellingly about your own experience, why should someone else bother to explore the opportunity? What could they hope to gain?
Timing is important here. You don’t want to listen thoughtfully to your prospect’s tale of financial woe, then launch into your gleeful account of how your business paid off your student loans. But when the time is right, and when they ask about your story, be prepared to tell it authentically and with emotion.
People don’t like to appear ignorant. It can be hard to tell someone -- especially a friend or someone whose success you admire -- that you’re unsure about something.
The same is true of your prospect. You may be explaining your product or business process for the tenth or hundredth time. But, this is the first time he or she has heard your presentation. Be sure you’re explaining specialty terms, and check in often to make sure that your prospect understands.
If a prospect is resistant, it’s up to you to find a creative solution. First of all, make sure you understand the question beneath the objection. For example:
“It’s too expensive” might mean “How much will this cost me in the first month or the first year? How do I offset that expense with my own sales?”
“I’m too busy” might be hiding “How do YOU juggle this business with your toddler and other obligations?” or “How much time do I really need to devote to this?”
Once you’ve identified the actual question or problem, you can figure out a creative solution. Maybe you tell them about upcoming specials that will cut down their startup investment. Perhaps you offer to schedule weekly “power hours” so you can each devote the time to work, and make it a priority.
Think creatively and invite your prospect into the brainstorming - after all, it has to be a solution that works for both of you.
This is a biggie when it comes to recruiting business partners. One of the biggest hurdles that prospects face is insecurity. Starting a business is a skill that seems foreign, intimidating, or requiring special training or experience. People think they won’t be good at sales.
But most people have already demonstrated the skill sets in other parts of their life.
Organizing? See how you managed your family’s trip planning, or finances, or juggle your kids activities with your other obligations? Done.
Networking? You’ve made friends your whole life, from school up to the present moment. From gym classes to book clubs to church socials, it’s not about being obnoxious, it’s about connecting.
Sales? Have you ever held a job? Did you have to have an interview and present yourself and your capabilities to the person making the decision? Well, then you’ve succeeded at a sales pitch.
The list goes on, but consider your prospect and find a way to show her how she’s already succeeded in the area where she is most intimidated.
If you’ve run through these techniques and your prospect is still on the fence, it’s time to ask the big bonus question.
What would you need -- need to know, need to prepare, need to understand -- in order to say yes to this opportunity?
For some people, they won’t be able to give a good answer, and this might be a sign that they’re just not a good fit for your business.
Others may be thoughtful, and offer a specific answer: I need to get my daughter into preschool two days a week. I need to get my spouse on board with the time and money required. I need to find a way to make time in my schedule.
Once you’ve got this answer on paper, you can work with your prospect to come up with a winning strategy.
And just like that, the objection has been overcome.
What are your biggest tips and techniques for overcoming objections? Share with your fellow #TRAKstars!