This five-step model approach in responding to objections and questions: Explore, Listen Well, Restate (if appropriate), Respond, then Move on.
1. Explore. Ask questions to get the person talking about what they really mean by the objection, and why it's important to them. (Why do you feel that way? will do if nothing better comes to mind.)
2. Listen well to their response. You may have heard this objection a dozen times already this week, but this person may put a different twist on it. Don't be too quick in cutting off the Prospect's response in order to interject your response. The more you know about the Prospect's needs and mindset the better you can target your response. Sometimes, the Prospect will actually respond to her own concern, and say something like, Never mind, I think I've answered myself. That's really not so important, after all.
3. Restate, if appropriate. In many cases, it can be helpful to both yourself and the Prospect to paraphrase your understanding of the core of the Prospect's response. For one thing, it forces you to listen closely, so you can restate it clearly. Second, it forces the Prospect to listen to you in turn, to ensure that your restatement is accurate. Further, in some cases, by restating, you may be able to defuse, or take the edge off, the customer's concern.
4. Respond to what they have actually said. There may be a deeper meaning behind the objection, so focus on that. Example
“You say that your firm has already tried using consultants, and isn't interested. But I'm picking up a deeper message that your dissatisfaction was with the work of one particular consulting firm that didn't work out for you. I'd like to explain how . . .”
5. Move on from there; don't get bogged down in your response. Respond to the objection, then go on with your sales call.
If you say too much in response to an objection, you may blow it up into something larger and more significant than the Prospect originally had in mind. If you bog down on it, repeating and elaborating your reaction, the Prospect will think this really must be a major concern, and take that as a reason not to buy.
Conversely, if you treat the objection as a small issue not very important, you are send the subliminal message is that it is just that— minor, not a significant concern, not an issue that could possibly stop the sale.
The content in this post has been adapted from my books, Selling 101 and Sales Training Tutorials. They are available in various e-book and paper editions; see the side-bar here.