What does it mean when your “Future Customer” OBJECTS? (Part 3)
Always remember that any OBJECTIONS raised by your future customers (prospects) are just their way of asking questions and seeking clarification. All they really want is more clarity around how you, your product or service, will actually help them to discover an improved solution or better solve a challenge that they are experiencing. As you mitigate or manage each objection, you are actually just supplying them with answers and more insights as to how you and your product or service will “HELP” them. Handling Objections is simply a case of facilitating better understanding.
To be successful at selling, in the long term, you need to stop looking at any future customer as a sales transaction. Instead you need to show up as a trusted advisor. Someone, who wants to find innovative ways to solve challenges and find solutions, someone who wants to form a long-term partnership with their customers, someone, who wants to integrate into your future customers business and ultimately become an additional resource to them.
In the previous example in part 2 of this series of articles, I eluded to a consultative process of selling, to handle objections. In this next example, I want to help you to take this concept to a deeper level, where you can really engage with your future customer, so that they see your commitment to really “HELP” them.
What is Consultative Selling?
Consultative selling is exactly what it says it is. It is a consultative process, where the sales person seeks to gain a deep understanding about their customers and their needs values and expectations, by asking insightful questions.
Instead of telling your future customer what they need. A good sales professional uses an investigative approach, which seeks to completely engage their future customers, with thought provoking and insightful questions, which support them to identify their own challenges or pain points.
When used properly, your future customers will gradually steer themselves into answering their own questions (Handling Objections) and they will feel confident that you, your products or services are exactly what they need.
As a sales professional, your role is not to tell your customers what they need. It is rather a process of positive influence, where you guide them to uncover the best solution, by themselves. This process is one of engagement, effective questioning and one where you allow your future customer to uncover the right solution, which suites their unique needs, values and expectations.
Using Consultative Selling – Effectively
We are all inherently very curious by nature. It is this deep-rooted curiosity that we all exhibit, which is at the heart of any effective consultative selling process. A sales professional, who has mastered the art of consultative selling (Effective – Questioning Selling), is very adept at asking meaningful questions, which guide their future customer to gradually uncover the best solution for their specific needs.
Consultative selling is never about showing that you have the best product or service. It is a selfless process, where a sales professional seeks to uncover the most suitable solution, which will best serve their customer, now and in the future.
Using the Questioning Funnel
Understanding the Funnel Technique
Start by asking “OPEN ENDED” Questions
The funnel questioning technique uses a simple process of asking open-ended questions, to ensure a broad understanding of the objection, which have been raised.
What are open ended questions?
Open ended questions start with “WHAT, WHICH, WHY and HOW” and seek to encourage engagement from your future customer, whilst allowing you to get a broad understanding of what their actual objection or question really is.
Secondly use Open-Up Questions
Secondly ask “OPEN-UP” questions to help you to dig a little deeper in respect of a specific idea, so that you can not only gain a better understanding yourself, but you also help your future customer to gradually answer their objection themselves.
What are Open-up Questions?
Open-up questions are simply questions, which help you to dig a little deeper around a specific subject. They use the TED technique, which stands for TELL me more, EXPLAIN and DESCRIBE.
Further Probing Questions
Thirdly we use further probing questions, which could be open ended or open up questions to probe a little deeper to ensure that you gain more understanding, but more importantly these questions support your future customer to think about their objection and in many cases by answering the questions they see that their objection is unwarranted.
Use Close Ended Questions
Finally, we use “Close Ended Questions” to draw out complete understanding and to confirm how your future customer feels about the objection. If at this point your future customer still has not completely mitigated or eliminated the objection themselves, by using the questioning funnel you will have drawn out a complete understanding around what the actual objection or question is and you will be equipped to create a complete solution that will, handle the objection.
Using Questioning-Funnel to Handle OBJECTIONS
One of our clients is an agency that creates and hosts a number of different Expos. They serve clients in various markets, by providing industry specific events, which bring targeted customers to their exhibits.
One of the objections, which they encounter on a regular basis is as follows:
Prospect: Your expos sound great, but the number of visitors to your expos, is below the minimum we require to invest into something like this.
Sales Professional: “WHAT” is your expectation regarding attendance at any event, where you will exhibit?
Prospect: We never exhibit at any event that has fewer than 15 000 visitors to the show.
Sales professional: “TELL ME WHY” 15 000 visitors is the magic number for you to exhibit?
Prospect: Well our experience shows that any event that has less than 15 000 visitors, does not attract enough of our target audience to warrant us exhibiting.
Sales professional: Probing a little deeper – Of the 15 000 visitors that you see of the minimum, how many of those are your target customers?
Prospect: About 5 % of the visitors at those events are normally our ideal customers.
Sales Professional: So in other words, if you could be assured that at least 750 visitors were your ideal customer, would that be a suitable number of potential customers for you?
Prospect: Yes we need a minimum of 750 potential customers to make any expo worth our while.
Sales Professional: Well as I showed you previously, this expo is a very targeted exhibition, which invites a large number of your perfect prospects. In fact when we examine, who your perfect prospect is, we see that although the overall attendance will only be around 10 000, you will in fact be exposed to more than 2000 of your perfect prospects.
Please listen to a recorded testimonial from one of our very satisfied customers, who exhibited last year. They have a similar customer profile to your own.
Would you be happy, if you managed to achieve similar results to what they achieved by exhibiting at our expo?
Prospect: That sounds excellent. What do we need to do to get the ball rolling?
As you can see, by following the “FUNNEL QUESTIONNING” process as outlined above, it not only helps you to uncover the actual objection, but it also supports your future customer to eliminate or mitigate the objection themselves.
In part 4 of handling Objections, we are going to examine another tool, whixh will help you to manage, mitigate or completely eliminate any objection.