Every year, during the Executive Forum and Fly-In, a delegation of member executives from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) travels to Washington...
We hate to think that we could be the cause of the objections we get from customers, but in many cases we actually are the cause. This costs us sales and takes up time. One of the objections we often create ourselves is the dreaded response of “I have to think it over” from customers. After watching hundreds of salespeople close a sale and do their best at overcoming objections, I have found that many accidentally create the “we-have-to-think-it-over” objection themselves.
Ironically, the salespeople create the objection that prevents the sale from happening, and then they have to come from behind in overcoming objections. One of the best techniques for overcoming objections is to prevent them from coming up in the first place. The following are five ways we inadvertently cause objections and techniques that will help overcome them.
Many times we create the “think-it-over” objection by saying things the customer does not understand. If you use industry jargon that customers are unfamiliar with, they naturally will need to think. Few customers will tell you they do not know what you are talking about; they will just refuse to make a decision. If your presentation contains industry jargon, model numbers and technical details, you may be causing some of your own objections. As a test, try doing your normal presentation to a friend or relative who is not in the water equipment industry. Ask them to make a note of any words you use that they do not understand. Carefully replace each of those terms with more understandable terms in common usage and your objections will decrease.
Use Everyday Examples
In addition to explaining features and benefits, be sure to use everyday examples to which your customer can relate. If you are explaining TDS, for example, you might say “it is a measurement of things in your water that are not water.” Another example that may confuse customers might be, “This is our RM2000 model with 2 cu ft of resin and electronic probes and a 30-gpm flow-through rate.” What does that mean to an average buyer? It is good if you take out the jargon, but it is even better if you simply say, “This system will make sure you get fully conditioned water no matter how many people are using water at the same time in your home.”
The more they can relate, the more they understand and the less time you will spend overcoming objections.
Too Many Choices
When you start to close a sale, just sell the model you know that is the right one for the client. Do not show a lot of models or options—too many choices mean they have to think it over. Offering too many choices means you will be spending your time overcoming objections that would not have existed had you offered fewer options. Remember that you are the expert—tell them what they need and keep their decision simple.
No Reason to Act
Unless we give customers a good reason why they should buy right now, why should they? They were drinking the water before you got there and they will do so after you leave. Your presentation has to include a reason why today is the best day for them to make a decision. You may be creating situations where the customer wants to think and you are spending a lot of effort overcoming objections when this critical ingredient is missing from your presentation.
No Prepared Solutions
We recommend that you have 10 or 15 solutions prepared and rehearsed for overcoming each common objection. Without this preparation, your rate of success will be much lower. You might consider writing a page for every objection you have trouble with and then write out good suggestions for handling it. Then practice, drill and rehearse these solutions until you are confident with each one. Ask yourself how many rehearsed ways you use to overcome a common objection like, “we have to think it over.”
Try this simple test: A customer has just said they want to think it over. How many ways can you write down that you have practiced, drilled and rehearsed for overcoming objections? If you do not have at least 10 solutions that you are confident with, a little work in this area will help you dramatically with overcoming objections.
It is harder today than ever to get into homes to do a sales demonstration. We all need to work hard to be sure we are not causing objections and be prepared to overcome the ones that do come up.