No thank you. No way. Not happening. Absolutely not. As if.
There are plenty of ways to say "not interested." There are also plenty of things worth turning down—your sales pitch shouldn't be one of them.
And yet, no's are inevitable. Objections are part of the process, according to Linda Bishop, president of Atlanta-based Thought Transformation. "Rational people do not automatically agree to everything they are asked," she said. "And buyers are rational."
The key is to keep the conversation going: Establish a relationship, listen and give as much thought to the prospect as to the product. Below, Bishop and Gregg Emmer, vice president and chief marketing officer of Kaeser & Blair Inc., Batavia, Ohio, share their techniques for turning an initial objection into a sale that benefits both parties.
1. Ask questions, and listen to the answers.
The conversation doesn't have to end at "no." In fact, it shouldn't. View the objection as an opportunity to learn more about the prospect's needs, an excuse to ask questions and a chance to fill in the blanks-not as a setback.
"I have [learned], and taught many others, that an objection is a request for more information," Emmer explained. "It helps you focus on the specific area the client still has questions about, and avoids time wasted on covering areas that are already accepted by the client."
Ignore the instinct to get confrontational at the word "no." Prospects are real people and should be treated as such, Bishop reminded. "You should be curious, not confrontational," she said. "To overcome objections, you must persuade the buyer to change their mind. Change will only happen if the sales professional understands why the buyer decided to decline."
Different prospects will have different concerns so your approach may vary. As a general rule, take the time to understand a prospect's objection by means of individual inquiry. "When you're selling, it is easier than anybody ever wants to believe to make other people feel angry, stupid or think you are dismissing their perspective," Bishop pointed out. "So, with that in mind, ask questions. Collect information so you can respond intelligently, instead of instantly."