In the selling cycle, there’s a big difference between Objections, Rejections, and Stalls.
Objections typically mean that the prospect doesn’t have enough information, or that they have false assumptions (i.e. the wrong information). There is usually an easy remedy to administer. The salesperson can CLARIFY features, benefits, etc., ensuring that the prospect understands the value of owning the product. Gentle probing can quickly identify the mental log jam. Is the objection price, features, use, delivery, terms, etc.?
Objections are actually good things. They tell you that the prospect is in the evaluative process of the pre-trial phase. The best part is the knowledge that there will never be two million objections, but rather a core set of six, or a dozen, that repeat across sales scenarios. Because the same objections re-occur from prospect to prospect, a skilled salesperson will have a ready set of objection handling answers at the ready. Once the Objection is settled, the prospect can move to one of three states Purchase, Rejection, or Stall.
Purchases and Rejections are easy, and mercifully concise. “YES or NO!” This allows you to move to the next prospect. You have just saved your most valuable resource: Your Time. If they have purchased, go to the delivery phase. But regardless of Yes or No, thank your prospect, and then move to the next.
Stalls are a selling nightmare. Who hasn’t heard (or used) the following:
- “Call me in six months time.”
- “We’ve just missed our budget deadline.”
- “Let me think about it.”
Stalls are dangerous because they keep hope alive in the seller’s mind: “Maybe they’ll buy if …”. You will notice that the seller typically doesn’t know the REAL REASON why the prospect is stalling. And who knows why the prospect won’t tell you? Maybe they’re afraid of hurting your feelings? Maybe they’re afraid that you’ll think ill of them for wasting your time?
There are five common categories of stalls: Products, Peers, Priority, Price, and Time.
- Products – Its simply the wrong product. Wrong features. Wrong benefits. Wrong value proposition.
- Peers – Stalls can occur when your prospect wants to buy, but they feel that the purchase would incur the disapproval of their peer group. e.g. Mr. Macho really wants to go on the weekend spiritual retreat, but he’s afraid of what the boy’s down at the gym will say.
- Priority – There are simply more important things to spend the prospect’s resources (time, money, etc.) on right now. They love your product, but these other things come first.
- Price – The price just isn’t right. It could be too high, or too low. Another consideration may be payment terms.
- Time – They really do need time to think about it. There are people that need to “sleep on it” before they commit.
By understanding the nature of the delay, savvy salespeople are more able to remedy the situation.