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21-Aug-02, 05:35 PM (PST)
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"Overcoming Sales Objections with Questions"
I've got this article in a newsletter, i think i should share it with everybody here.

Overcoming Sales Objections with Questions-Your Most Effective Sales Skill

What do you do when your prospect starts raising objections when you are trying to close the sale? What do you do? Most professional sales people will tell you that when the customer raises objections that they are giving you a buying signal and that they want more information from you in order to make their decision.

That’s when the sales game really starts and sometimes it is a game. Generally the prospect will through out a smoke screen like “Your price is too high.” Or “I have to think it over and I will get back to you.” It is very possible that in both instances what the prospect is saying is not what they really mean. That’s where you selling skills come in. You have to become the detective to determine what the issue really is and then to develop an answer to overcome it. Your tool is questions.

Many rookie sales people will start running over a list of benefits and reasons why they should buy from them and take a shotgun approach to something that can only be solved by a rifle precise question. Let’s take a look at “Your price is too high.”

At this point it is not wise for you to draw a line in the sand by positioning yourself with statements like, “Well, that is my price.” Find out what is lurking below the surface by using opened questions (questions that can not be answered with a simple yes or no) but first acknowledge the customers objection. Let them know you heard what they said.

“I can understand your feeling. Maybe I put more into this job than you expected. Can you give me an idea of what you were planning on paying?” Or “Maybe I didn’t understand exactly what you were looking for. What in my estimate do you think is more than you wanted done?” Your questions must be designed to draw the prospect out and engage them in a conversation. You might even want to consider this if the customer really does think your price is too high.

First acknowledge the objection. “I can understand why you feel the price is higher than you expected because you might not have considered everything that needed to be done to achieve a top notch professional job.” Since you have already decided that the customer does think your price is too high, this is where you start overcoming the objection. “I did understand you to say in the beginning that you were looking for a professional quality job, is that right? If I were to provide you with the names of customers who may have felt the same way you do but are very satisfied that they hired me, would that help set your mind at ease?” Give them references. Once done with that, close the sale again. “If you get positive responses from my references is there any other reason why you would not select me to do your job?” If the answer is no, then ask them to sign the bid pending reference checks. Tell them you will be around tomorrow to finalize the deal and then set a specific time by not giving them an easy out by saying no. Give them a choice. I am going to be back in this area around 11:00 in the morning and then again at 4:00 in the afternoon. Which time would work best for you?”

A classic objection is the “I have to think about it and I will get back to you.” Without an effective game plan here you will walk away with your tail between your legs and probably never hear from the prospect again. Ask questions, start a conversation, draw them out. Acknowledge that you heard them. “I understand why you might want to think it over since it is a big commitment. Maybe there is something that I was not clear about when I described what the job would entail. Maybe I can help by answering the question now. What was it about my estimate that you wanted to think over?” It is always easier to try and answer the question now and overcome the objection now rather than later because usually there is no later. This type of approach should enable you to start up the conversation again and help make the prospect feel more comfortable about giving you an affirmative answer now.

Questions are the most effective tool you have to close the sale. Closing questions that are a response to an objection generally fall into three categories, the isolating question, the identifying question and the answering question. Here are some examples of each.

The Isolating Question:

“I’m glad you brought that up. Is that the only concern you have?” “Is this the only issue that is keeping you from making a decision now?”

The Identifying Question:

“Would you mind explaining to me why you feel that way?” “Could you share with me your reasons arguing both for and against selecting my company?” “That’s a very interesting point. Do you mind helping me understand why you feel that way?”

The Answering Question:

“That’s a legitimate concern. But after all it is your home and doesn’t it give you a certain level of comfort to know that we have a strong reputation for quality, service and for treating your home like our own?” “Would you agree with me in saying that it would be better to pay for a quality job now and be sure of what you are getting rather than hiring someone else later to fix the problems created by a less than professional job?”

The bottom line in all of this is common sense and not letting yourself get thrown for a loop if the customer objects to your estimate. Look at it as a good sign, a buying signal, not a signal that says, “I am not interested.” You need to practice asking open-ended questions because sales is a skill just like painting is. The more you do it the better you will get at it. You also need to develop some questions that fit you and your personality. You may not be comfortable with some of the examples that I have used. Well, there is no right answer to this, only a lot of wrong ones. Develop questions that work for you, that enhance your selling style that you are comfortable with before you go “live”. Good questioning skills can make the difference between making your payroll this week or not. They can improve your close rate dramatically and help you make more profit.



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Member since 15-Jul-03
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18-Sep-03, 11:20 AM (PST)
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1. "RE: Overcoming Sales Objections with Questions"
In response to message #0
   I must respectfully disagree with the suggested closing techniques used in overcoming objections. That is not to say that the artist shouldn't defend their work or that they shouldn't accentuate the quality of the work, awards or any feature of their stature of in the artworld. They ultimately benefit the collector in acquiring the work.

But, these techniques have been circulating in the art market for some time, and surely the collector (unless they are a novice collector) would easily recognize the technique.

And although the seminar (from which those suggestions originated) labelled them as being "soft closes", or phraseology focusing on the Collector owning the piece, and the "hard close" focused on the monetary transaction, they should both be considered hard closes due to their manipulative nature.

Take for instance, the hard close focusing on the monetary transaction. Anyone expecting to collect art is going to expect to pay for it. And only the type of individual that believes in obtaining something for nothing would be surprised at the monetary transaction involved!

Having worked as an art marketing consultant in a major market, I found art collectors are savvy and thoughtful in acquiring their collections. And the long-term effect of the hard sell on the Collector is resentment and defiance toward the person who led the manipulation.

The resentment manifests itself in avoidance of that person and results in the loss of future sales. It should be noted that the seminar in question was (if memory serves me) was designed toward "Art Consultants" and their sales techniques in high-end markets mainly on the Hawaiian Islands catering to the tourist trade.

I hope that you find this insight helpful. If your work meets the criteria of collectibility, that is, that it is original, thought-provoking and uses a "leap in the imagination", the collector will recognize it and sales will be made without the unwanted affects in the long-term.

Best regards,

Cynthia Houppert:)

Gallerist, Art Struck Gallery, Blue Ridge, GA, Former Faculty Member - Atlanta College of Art and author of Art Gallery Safari: Bagging the Big One.


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