Increasing your sales success – client influence and objection handling

Whatever professional service or product you’re selling your success will depend upon your ability to negotiate with and influence your customers. That includes dealing with the objections you’ll naturally face.

Of course you’ll pre-empt objections by discussing the value your offering gives the client. You’ll have questioned them, listened carefully, understood their needs, wants and motivation for change, summarised this and enlarged the gap between where they are now and where they want to be and discussed the implications of doing nothing.

Despite this, objections will sometimes be voiced and you’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance of influencing your customer’s thinking. You will need to understand their views and then provide a compelling case for taking your recommendation.

So how can you give yourself the best possible chance of overcoming objections?

Our success formula is LAPIAC. It is a simple structured conversational pathway which addresses rather than ignores the objection which may otherwise fester and sabotage your negotiations and your relationship. These are the steps:

L – Listen
A – Acknowledge
P – Probe
I – Isolate
A – Answer
C – Confirm / Close

 

Listening – is the foundation of a dialogue. To be listened to, to be considered as having a worthy opinion and contribution to make in a discussion is a basic human desire. Listening builds empathy, respect and your standing in your clients’ mind. And if you don’t listen how will you possibly understand someone?

Acknowledging – is neither agreeing with nor validating the objection. Yet it reduces possible conflict when an objection is voiced. It ensures that the objection doesn’t fester in your client’s mind. It signals that you hear your correspondent, value their perspective, will deal with the issue. and, that they have a valid contribution to make.

Probing – is ensuring we dig deep and understand the real considerations and doubts your client is having. It’s about investigating the reasons behind, and not just accepting, the initial words you hear. Open questioning and prompting the conversation should help you understand your client’s thinking. It’s about understanding what they feel and why they feel this way. If you don’t ensure you understand someone how will you hope to make your point of view understood?

You should be able to identify that the objection is one of only three broad objection types. That should help you identify your approach to handling the matter. The three categories are: no money, no need and no hurry. Once you’ve probed the objection you should be able to identify the kernel of the issue. as being one of these issues.

Isolating the objection confirms whether or not there are any further concerns. You want to know what you’re facing before you answer your client’s concerns. If there are further objections you can repeat the Acknowledge and Probe stages before moving on.

Answering the objection is next; that is if the objection didn’t evaporate as your client talked things through during the questioning of the probe stage of the discussion.

There are various approaches you can adopt during the Answer phase. It may a case of linking back to your client’s objectives and highlighting the benefits of your solution or recommendation, framing any costs in the context of the value you create or a potential saving, or motivating your client to take action now. You should be empathising the client need / desire for your service, dealing with value / cost issues or encouraging action rather then procrastination as appropriate relating to the type of objection you’re dealing with.

Confirming that the objection has been dealt with allows you and your client to put earlier concerns aside and to move on, or if appropriate conclude your negotiations.

Now this is no ‘magic dust’ which will make all objections evaporate but it will give you the best possible chance in facilitating your client’s purchasing decision.