What happens when you hear an objection?  Do you freeze?  Do you run?  Do you get defensive?  There are many ways to respond to objections – and most will kill your sale!  But when you listen to the objection and respond appropriately, the sale will live on!

My energetic and unbelievably talented colleague, Colleen Francis of Engage  Selling just posted her two-step formula for responding to objections on her blog today:

Here’s a proven two-step formula that can help you handle any pricing objections your prospects throw at you.

 Step 1: Shut up!

 Whenever you’re faced with a difficult question or objection, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath, make eye contact with your prospect and silently count to three.

 It is amazing how many clients will answer their own objections, or at least give you some much-needed information, when you simply say nothing. Don’t be afraid of silence. Practice it until the three-second pause becomes one of the most effective tools in your arsenal.

 Step 2: Ask questions.

 You can ask up to three questions before you have to answer an objection – provided you ask the right questions in the right way.

 The key is to acknowledge what the customer is saying and then offer them a compliment before asking your question.

 Which questions should you ask?

 Once you’ve acknowledged the objection, ask them a question that is both direct and phrased to elicit more information. Try the following.

 Prospect: “Your price is too high!”

Sales professional: “Thanks for sharing that. How much too high are we?” or “You’re right; we are more expensive than most. How much were you hoping to pay?” or “I appreciate your honesty. Is our price a showstopper?”

 Prospect: “I need a discount!”

Sales professional: “It’s good of you to be looking for the best deal. How much of a discount do you need?” or “Making sure you’re getting the best deal for your company is a good idea. If we can’t budge on the price, does that mean it’s over between us?”

I agree wholeheartedly with the two step approach.  One caution:  Be careful NOT to ignore the emotion that the customer is displaying when they share the objection.  Match the intensity of the emotion with your response/question.  Or there will be a disconnect.  In fact, this is so important, the next Sales Pro Inisider post will address intensity and emotion.

For today, Colleen Says “Shut Up”, I say “Be Quiet” for at least 3-5 seconds when you hear an objection. Then open your mouth and the discussion with a good question to learn more about the objection.