Overcoming Obstacles in Sales

July 4, 2012 by  Filed under: Sales 

There’s an anonymous quote that says, “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” I love this quote because it helps to change the way we view opposition.

What I find fascinating is that everyone in sales knows that resistance is inevitable, yet most sales professionals believe they ought to be an exception to the rule… so when they experience opposition, they take it personally. This is the most serious mistake a salesperson can make when stumbling upon a client’s skepticism. Regardless of how great you are at sales, it’s ignorant to think you’re an exception to any rule… because the best in sales don’t make it about them, they make it about their clients. And you can’t predict how your clients will respond, you can’t control their challenges and you can’t avoid their hard questions. So, instead of being shut down by it all, you have the opportunity to use these moments as milestones.

Here are five tips to keeping it cool when put under fire by a customer:

1. Remain open, don’t get defensive.

Again, don’t take things personally. If you are able to make it about their challenge instead of making it about yourself, you will have a much better chance at continuing the conversation and affirming the client’s concerns. And this is essential if you hope to establish a credible relationship.

2. Maintain curiosity, ask questions.

If your clients are apprehensive about something you’re trying to sell, ask more questions to really get to the root of their worry. Acknowledging that you want to fully address their concerns can do wonders.

3. Seek to understand, don’t strive to explain.

Too often, when sales reps are challenged, they get flustered and jump into explanatory mode – hoping that by sharing more information, the client will feel more secure. But, throwing more information at a client is pointless if you don’t accurately understand his/her real concerns.

4. Be patient and professional.

If you go into the conversation with one goal: to sell x, y or z to the client – and you get challenged, you will get frustrated that your goal wasn’t accomplished. The key is to make it about the customer from the get-go. Your goal should be to solidify a relationship with the customer, so that you can meet his/her needs as time progresses. If you’re pushy about your product, you’ll end up pushing your client away.

5. Stay present, don’t give up or get grumpy.

If you’re facing resistance, it can be easy to shut down, walk away or give up on the customer altogether. Don’t. This requires resilience, and your client will respect your willingness to walk through the hard stuff.

As Duke Ellington said, “A problem is a chance to do your best.”

By the way, do you want to help your sales team learn to sell more effectively today? If so, I suggest you check our free training and coaching guide: http://wcwpartners.com/free-sales-training-article/

Rick Conlow is CEO with WCW Partners, a management consulting and training firm. Rick has helped organizations increase sales 218%, improve repeat and referral business by 20%, increase customer retention to 99%, reduce complaints by 60% and achieve 34 quality awards. You can reach Rick at: rick@wcwpartners.com or 888-313-0514.

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