As you strive to close sales, you'll likely find that most customers simply aren’t ready to make a purchase right away. They'll blow you off, drag their feet and cite their objections, offering multiple reasons for their hesitation.
But you shouldn't simply accept those reasons and slip away. Instead, recognize that your job is to overcome those objections. If everybody were ready to buy right away, sales would be easy and anybody could do it.
Here are six things you can do as a salesperson to accelerate the sales process even when prospects show uncertainty and doubt:
1. Identify the deal-breakers.
When customers hesitate to make a purchase, there is usually something specific that holds them up. Your first step is to find out exactly what is causing them to second-guess their decision. Ask what their "deal-breakers" are. Without this critical information, you will have no idea how to position yourself to overcome their objections. Knowing their breaking point will help you figure out if a deal is even possible, and what your bargaining chips are in the ongoing negotiations.
2. Concentrate on the small victories.
Getting customers to say "yes" to even just one thing is a huge achievement. Successful salespeople use this foot-in-the-door approach to seamlessly persuade prospects to commit to the sale and work around buyer hesitation.
First, do not let your prospect off the hook by allowing him or her to just agree to receive more information. Encourage the prospect to join a webinar or attend a product demonstration. Offer to send educational materials and schedule a follow-up call to see if there are any questions or comments. For the prospect's “yes” to be meaningful in terms of a future sale, he or she must show at least a small level of commitment.
3. Retry the 'needs discovery' step.
The needs discovery process is arguably the most critical step in the sales cycle. Without knowing what your customer’s problems are, you will have no idea whether or not you can actually help him or her out. It makes sense, then, to revisit the process if you are struggling to close the sale.
The good news is that if a prospect is taking the time to speak with you, he or she has a need that desperately needs to be filled. Your job is to figure out what is really causing the pain. Understand how this person's business operates. Ask about his or her current processes and which products are already being used. Throughout this process, pay careful attention and ask plenty of questions. Once you find out what this prospect's needs truly are, you will have a better chance of convincing him or her to become a paying customer.
4. Prove your credibility.
A good way to prove to customers that you are a valuable partner is by showing how you have helped similar customers in the past. Provide marketing materials that show your past successes, including testimonials and reviews, awards, certifications and case studies. By documenting the impact you have made on other companies, you will prove that you are the best option for them, too.
5. Leverage other decision-makers.
Consider how many people your product can positively impact, and who among them has the authority to execute a purchase. When end-users in an organization encounter a problem, they seek out solutions. Then, they pitch their managers on the idea of purchasing a product that may help solve their problem.
At that point, however, the manager may need buy-in from an executive. Finally, the purchasing department will need to determine the project’s budget and sign off on the transaction.
If you are talking to only one or two of the people involved in the decision-making process, the odds are that you are missing somebody important. Consider engaging every decision-maker in a buying organization until you find at least one person who is as excited and motivated to execute the sale as you are. Once you have this person as your ambassador, making the sale becomes much easier.
6. Know when to cut your losses.
It's important to keep in mind that many prospects will have legitimate, insurmountable objections. Each customer has different needs, and your company simply may not be positioned to meet them. If a customer has deal-breakers that you cannot work through, or you have run into roadblock after roadblock, it may be time to move on.
If this is the case, cut your losses as soon as possible. This will save your business time and be more considerate to the prospect. Whenever possible, refer this person to a competitor who will better suit his or her needs. This will help the prospect out and build karma and goodwill you can cash in on if you are a better fit in the future.
Selling to hesitant buyers is a challenge, but with the tips above, you will find yourself overcoming objections and closing more sales than ever before.