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Manage Any Customer Resistance
by Debbie Allen, CSP

Sales resistance should be viewed as an opportunity, not a roadblock. Your prospect is letting you get to know him or her better, and helping you to uncover their needs, wants, and concerns more effectively. A prospect who shows resistance to something is actually participating in the sale and connecting with you at some level, instead of moving away from it. When handled correctly, this opportunity can be turned into a positive, long-lasting customer relationship.

Consider any saleís objection, resistance, or complaint as a way to get better. When a customer resists, it is simply a nudge for you to move in another direction. You are being told to take another road or see it from another viewĖyour prospectís point of view. With nonverbal communication, your prospect is saying, ďDonít go down that road, letís go my way instead.Ē

Resistance can take on many forms, such as questions, statements, and body language, and can mean many things. Occasionally, it is difficult to understand the exact reason for the resistance because people use excuses to cover up their true feelings. Prospects donít like to say NO. Your prospect or customer is actually doing you a favor if they are honest and straightforward when they tell you how you let them down. This is helpful feedback that will allow you to improve for the next opportunity.

If the reason for the resistance is incorrect or insufficient information, determine where you may have gone wrong and why. Did you give incorrect or incomplete information? Did you give too much information that left the prospect confused? Did your prospect resist due to not understanding or a breakdown in communication? Did your prospect resist because you added pressure to the sale?

Whatever the situation, go back and re-evaluate your prospectís resistance to buying. Learn from their resistance by gathering more information, following up with correct information, re-evaluating your selling strategies, and/or improving your own communication skills. Really listen and carefully observe both verbal and nonverbal communication with your prospect. Clarify the basis of the prospectís resistance so that youíll travel down the right road next time around.

Selling isnít always smooth sailing, and if you see enough prospects, youíre bound to run into your share of objections. But if you took away the objections, salespeople would be reduced to nothing more than glorified order takers.

Nobody likes rejection, and itís natural to feel some disappointment when you hear someone say NO. Yet the only surefire way to avoid rejection is to never ask for anything. And if you avoid rejection altogether, that is just what you will get-nothing.

Nevertheless, you must find an internal reservoir of strength, confidence, and security in your identity as a professional, and you must convey all of that to your prospect as an equal. Because thatís what you are-a sales professional!

The best salespeople are never pushy and donít resort to hard-selling strategies. They understand that to be effective, they must allow the sale to take its own course and move at its own pace.

Great salespeople want their prospects to BUY, not to be rushed, pushed, or SOLD. They also understand that their prospects may have doubts, fears, and temptations that may cause them to avoid confrontation the majority of the time. Great salespeople understand this and quickly welcome questions and objections from their prospects with confidence, knowing that they have the ability to solve any problems or concerns. It is your job as a salesperson to be open to rejection and to solve problems.

Teach yourself to accept the fact that the prospect saying NO is not a reflection on you personally. So donít be too hard on yourself. Most prospects are merely saying NO for their own personal reasons or they simply donít want to make a decision at all. The best salespeople know that their prospect wants them to be convinced, sincere, and reassuring, and to help the prospect act rather than to avoid or postpone a decision.

The main obstacle in approaching the issue of rejection is not how the prospect thinks of you, but how you think of yourself. It can be difficult to bounce back from refusal and frustration, but you can when you have complete sales confidence. Learn to move away from rejection and on to the next sales opportunity. Your self-confidence will be strengthened by the next sales victory.

Sales professionals deal with objections in almost every sale. The reason some objections occur in the first place is because of poor sales presentations, so to reduce the risk of objections be sure to give a thorough sales presentation. The more complete the presentation, the more clearly the buyer will understand your offer, which, in turn, will provide them with more reasons to make a positive buying decision.

One objection that frustrates most salespeople is, ďI want to think it over.Ē In this case, the prospect simply doesnít want to make a buying decision, and itís not necessarily because they object to you or what you have to sell. By telling you what they wonít buy, the customer is also leading you in the direction of what they would buy if circumstances were right.

Objections also occur as a result of unconvincing sales presentations. A truly convincing presentation can melt away all remaining resistance. Deliver a convincing sales presentation by first boosting your confidence and developing a strong self-image. Secure your position by developing unshakable confidence in your products and/or services, and showcase them with enthusiasm.

Another way to reduce objections is to realize that some objections are raised with enough regularity to become predictable. Be ready for them before they occur. Simply by thinking through some of the objections your prospects may voice, you set yourself up to respond with awareness and confidence.

Realize that your answer to every objection doesnít have to be 100 percent satisfactory. With this in mind, if your prospect doesnít like every feature of your product, donít assume youíve lost the sale. Your competition wonít have a perfect product either.

Objections are simply expressions of interest. Ignoring objections, problems, and/or concerns wonít make them go away. The good news is that customers donít expect you to be perfect all of the time. They do, however, expect you to be honest with them all of the time. If you simply ignore problems or concerns instead of putting them out on the table and dealing with them, you will lose your customerís trust.

Take action quickly. Donít be afraid to return a customerís call when you know they have a problem. In fact, return the call promptly! If you donít, you could be turning a small problem into a much larger one. Once that happens, the customer may never do business with you again. Worse yet, they may tell more customers about the bad experience they had with you, and you donít ever want that to happen to you.

Donít dwell on an objection. Once you believe that an objection has been satisfactorily answered, move on quickly. Donít reply with ďWell, what do you think now?Ē or ďDoes that settle your problem?Ē You donít need confirmation; just assume it.

Let the prospect provide the needed objection so that they can form a logical conclusion around their emotions or attachment to what you are selling. Repeat their comments and thank them for their observations. Allow them to understand that there is no pressure to buy, and allow the customer to take control over the buying decision. Make them feel good about voicing their opinions or objections. When you gain your prospectís trust, you begin to remove objection barriers that hold the customer back from buying.

Bio: Debbie Allen is one of the worldís leading authorities on sales and marketing. She is the author of five books including Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and Skyrocketing Sales. Debbie has helped thousands of people around the world attract customers like crazy with her innovative, no-cost marketing strategies and secrets to sales success. Her expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Excellence.

Bio: Debbie Allen is one of the worldís leading authorities on sales and marketing. She is the author of five books including Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters and Skyrocketing Sales. Debbie has helped thousands of people around the world attract customers like crazy with her innovative, no-cost marketing strategies and secrets to sales success. Her expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Excellence.

Copyright Debbie Allen. All Rights Reserved.

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