Half of the objections you get in a sales conversation are not real– they are simply the customer’s way of testing you out and buying time to make a decision, says Jason McElhone, director of inside sales at MarketSource. In a webinar hosted by XANT, Jason covered how to overcome objections and how to phrase your sales pitch to overcome objections and even prevent objections from being raised in the sales conversation.
Cold Calling Is All About Objection and Rejection
Having made hundreds of thousands of cold calls in his sales career, Jason is accustomed to hearing objections from customers. This doesn’t mean you need to give up. The few customers who do answer the phone and get into a conversation have a higher chance of converting than using any other communication method, said Jason.
“Ninety percent of my day is a failure. Meaning, nobody’s in, nobody’s interested, nobody’s got any money, nobody’s there to pick up the phone. We all know connect rates when it comes to the telephone are 10 to 15% at best. When it comes to email, if you can get a 3% response rate you’re lucky. 97% of the time, and I send thousands of emails every single week, is a no. Nobody’s home, nobody’s interested. The important message here is very simple. Do you have what it takes?“ said Jason, during the webinar.
Many sales reps will be discouraged by the rejection and leave the profession, adds Jason. Although Artificial Intelligence has made significant progress in the sales technology field, sales reps still deal with a high rate of rejection and many leave the profession, adds Jason.
He suggests a tried and tested method to phrase your sales pitch in a way that allows you to prevent objections from occurring. Here are the steps to take.
Asking for Help
There are quite a few objection handling methods that work, said Jason, however one with highest chances of success is the one where you ask for help from your prospect. Asking for help is a way of disarming your prospect and puts them into the ‘yes’ mode.
“Hey, it’s Jason here over at MarketSource. You know, I wonder if you could help me out for a moment.”
Getting Permission to Speak
The ‘help play’ is just another way of getting permission from your prospect to take some time and deliver your sales pitch.
“Getting permission not only puts the prospect into yes mode, but it creates a mutually beneficial environment for two professionals. When you do this, it totally changes the course of the phone call,” adds Jason.
Half of All Objections Are Not Real
Half of all objections are not real, said Jason, giving the example of anyone walking into a store and being greeted by a salesperson offering to help. Most of them will politely decline. Not because they wouldn’t need the help, but because they are conditioned to do so.
“Half of all objections are not real. (…) They’re not lying to you maliciously in most cases. It’s either a knee jerk reaction, or they’re testing you out. We used to call it poking you in the chest. ‘I’m not interested.’ ‘Let me think about it.’ You know what? Every guy that’s called me this week sounds the same. They’re buying time to make a decision– ‘Do I want to invest in Jason, do I want to give him the floor or not?’,” said Jason.
“My opinion is, if half of the objections are not real, and they’re not, why invest yourself and your ego in particular into trying to overcome them? You shouldn’t, and I don’t,” he added.
Mindset: You’re a Solver, Not a Seller
A more productive mindset when dealing with sales objections is to think of yourself as a problem-solver, added Jason. Sales professionals need to understand that their role is to help the customer, and only a fortright conversation can accomplish this goal.
“My mindset is I’m a problem solver. They don’t care about me, they don’t even really care about the benefit until it makes sense to deliver it, and that’s after a couple of objections. What they care about is themselves. I’ve got my problems. If you expose the problem, and you’ve got to have guts to do that,” said Jason.
Three Simple Motions to Handle Any Objection
Jason also presented his method of handling an objection and getting a meeting with a customer, despite being initially rejected.
- Getting Help
First, you’ve got to get permission at the beginning of the phone call.
“Oh, hey Sara, it’s Jason here over at MarketSource. You know, I wonder if you could help me out for a second.”
99 times out of a 100 she will say, “Uh, sure, I’ll do what I can, what’s up?” “Great Sara, I really appreciate it, thank you.”
- The Value Proposition
The second step is to put forth your value proposition and tie it into their needs and problems.
“Listen, the reason I’m calling you today, Sara, is that most businesses in the community are sick and tired of the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.” He or she is going to say, “Yeah.” If they don’t say it, they’re definitely thinking it.
“It just so happens, Sara, that we’ve put together a solution that could lower your premiums by as much as 37%.”
- Handling the Objection
Two thirds of the time you’ll get a soft objection: “Eh, it sounds interesting, but I’m busy.” This is why you need to come back by exhibiting empathy.
“There’s such a thing called a three-second rule. Just aknowledge their opinion, and then say nothing for three seconds. After the three seconds are over, you can reiterate your value prop,” said Jason.
“Not a problem Sara, I really appreciate that feedback.”
“Again, Sara, you and I both know that healthcare costs are going through the roof. It just so happens that I’ve got a solution that could help bring them down by as much as 37%. Sara, why don’t we go ahead and grab some coffee. I’ve got another meeting to get to, why don’t we grab some coffee next Wednesday or Thursday I don’t know, say 9:00, at the Starbucks on the corner. Which of those two days are going to be better for you?”
Even if the objection is repeated, rephrasing the value prop and telling a short story about how you helped other customers usually helps break down the barriers, says Jason. This is because most prospects don’t really care about the product itself of the company that’s selling. They care about themselves and how this is going to solve their problem.
Watch the full webinar with Jason McElhone and Gabe Larsen here to hear more about objection handling.