Many sales scenarios, from telemarketing calls to face-to-face meetings, boil down to a deceptively simple requirement of the seller: to respond to the potential objections of the prospect. It’s natural for a buyer to be sceptical about a product or service being offered to them, and it’s understandable for them to come up with a list of reasons why not to buy: when you are parting with money, you need to be cautious. Questions such as ‘I don’t understand why this service would be useful to us’ or ‘I can’t see how this leads to a return on my investment’ are common and can be anticipated and countered.
With this in mind, the ability to overcome the objections of your prospect is a key skill for a salesperson to develop,. Getting past objections should be seen as a delicate process, part of the narrative of negotiation that requires all the techniques of the salesperson from storytelling to understanding how to bridge the emotional gap. There is a commonly used series of steps that can help with this challenge.
The LAER process was devised by Carew International as a smart way to approach objections with the aim to achieve an outcome that was beneficial to both seller and buyer. In an article entitled Dimensions of Professional Selling, they broke the approach down into four discrete steps:
Step 1 is to listen.
Don’t interrupt or anticipate the objections. Make sure you take in everything your prospect is saying. If you make an assumption about their issues with your offer you run the risk of only addressing part of their objection. Additionally, the act of listening is a respectful one – by paying attention and making it clear that you are taking in what is being said, you will reassure your prospect that you care about them and have an interest in what they have to say.
Step 2 is to acknowledge.
This is a great way of reinforcing the fact that you’ve been listening. Acknowledge the objections of your prospect by repeating them back to them, thus demonstrating your commitment to understand them whilst also providing your prospect with the opportunity to correct you.
Step 3 is to explore.
Drill down into their objections, unpacking them with the support of your prospect. By asking the right questions, you can get to the heart of where the objections come from and, as a consequence, how you might be able to ameliorate them. At this stage, it’s all about the questions you pose: keep them open and remember to keep listening and acknowledging their responses.
Step 4 is to respond.
This is the moment where you take what you’ve learnt over the previous steps and tie them together. You’ve listened to the objections, you’ve reassured your prospect that you have taken them in, you’ve explored where the objections have come from and now you can finally fill in the blanks by outlining how you can help. Remember, you’re not countering their objections or contradicting their views, instead you’re building on what they’ve discussed and revealing how their anxieties leave a gap for you to fill with your services. It’s not about trying to win them over, it’s about trying to help them understand how you can help. If their objections are unsurmountable, if you can’t find a way of solving them, then they probably aren’t the customers for you. Ultimately, it’s about matching the right seller with the right buyer so both parties end up in the best possible position.
At Chartered Developments, our callers understand that the ultimate goal is a meeting between our clients and the most suitable prospects. We are focused on quality, not quantity – for us the qualification doesn’t end with the data, it continues through that first phone call. Our callers have the intelligence to respond positively to objections and have the experience to know how to effectively respond to them. Get in touch for more about how we can help you generate leads.