To Overcome Sales Objection: Be SHARPE
The formula for overcoming sales objections.
I was recently working with one of my own inside salespeople, reviewing some recorded calls. In one call, his tone of voice was great, and his energy was high. He used a good curiosity-building hook and asked questions that the got him into a pretty honest dialogue with the prospect. Just as he was about to go for the close, the prospect threw out, “I like what you are saying and believe we probably need it, but I’m just not sure our people will change their sales habits.”
Like most salespeople, my rep impatiently unleashed a monologue about how our past clients saw huge success, doubled their sales, and blah, blah, blah. In short, his response had nothing to do with the prospect’s concern, because he wasn’t curious enough to uncover what the prospect really meant when he said, “I’m not sure people will change their habits.”
So, what do you think my rep should have said? If you said something like, “What is it that makes you think they won’t change their habits?” you are a winner!
I get it. Objections can be daunting, but they also present opportunities: a chance to refine your pitch, deepen client relationships, and seal deals. PRECISE Selling’s SHARPE framework is a systematic approach to handling objections, making them less intimidating and more approachable.
Why objections matter
Before diving into the SHARPE method, it’s vital to understand objections’ essence. They’re feedback. Every objection, whether price-related or product-focused, provides insight into your prospect’s mindset, needs, and concerns. And if you get an objection, congratulations – it means you haven’t put them to sleep. Instead, they are interested (or respectful) enough to at least share a bit about what they are thinking and feeling. That’s a gift.
The following is the SHARPE framework explained:
Salespeople are often eager problem-solvers. But jumping in immediately can make prospects feel unheard. Pausing creates space for understanding, allowing you to mentally prepare a structured and insightful response. And whatever you do, don’t interrupt. Because nobody likes an “interrupter.” Next, don’t nod your head and give them that face like you know exactly what they are talking about. What’s worse than when you are trying to explain something to somebody, and you can tell they already shut down because they think they already “got you.”
This step isn’t just about the act of listening; it’s the art of comprehension. Ensure you grasp the nuances of their concerns. Are they worried about the product, its cost, or perhaps its integration into their current processes? Remember, it’s not just the words they are using to express their concern, it’s the meaning behind the words.
Clarification is king. By inquiring more about the objection, you achieve two things. First, you ensure you understand the objection fully. Second, you make the prospect feel valued. Questions like, “Can you tell me more about that?” or “Why do you feel that way?” can be enlightening. Let curiosity drive your questions. If you don’t know what they mean, you aren’t going to offend them by asking them to open up.
- Importance of Preparedness: Every seasoned salesperson has a mental (or literal) list of common objections. “Your product is too expensive,” “I need more time to think,” or “We’re happy with our current solution.” The key is to prepare tailored responses for each, ensuring you sound confident and informed, not rehearsed.
- The Art of Persuasion: A crucial aspect of the response is balancing logic with emotion. Use facts to highlight your product’s value, but also appeal to your prospect’s emotions. Share success stories, showcase testimonials, or delve into the product’s unique selling points.
Pack it up
This step is where you solidify your response. Once you’ve addressed the objection, reiterate key points and check for understanding. Ensure your prospect feels that their concerns have been addressed thoroughly. If they’re satisfied, great! If not, re-assess and re-engage.
A smooth transition is pivotal. After addressing an objection, guide the conversation back to the main topic. Phrases like “By the way” can be effective. They allow for a natural progression, keeping the conversation flowing and maintaining a connection.
Practical Application of SHARPE
Now, let’s put SHARPE into action. Imagine a scenario: You’re selling advanced veterinary equipment. Your prospect objects, “Your equipment might be advanced, and I think it would help, but our team isn’t trained for this.”
- Stop – Give them your full attention.
- Hear – Understand their concern about training and adaptability.
- Ask – “Are you worried about the initial learning curve, or long-term adaptability?”
- Respond – Once you uncover the real objection, share testimonials of other clinics that successfully integrated your product, emphasizing the training and support your company offers. Give a specific timeline and resources to make the implementation and training easy.
- Pack it up – “Given the training, in-service and support we offer, do you feel more confident about the team adapting?”
- Exit – “By the way, in which room will you be putting the equipment?”
Making objections your ally
In sales, every interaction, including objections, paves the way to building trust and fostering relationships. The SHARPE framework offers a structured approach to ensure you handle objections proactively and professionally. By mastering this method, you can transform objections from deal-breakers to deal-makers, strengthening your sales game. See you at the top!
Brian Sullivan, CSP, Founder of PRECISE Selling, has spent decades deciphering the nuances of effective sales techniques. He believes that at the heart of every sale lies genuine connection, understanding, and mutual growth. To make your sales team PRECISE, go to preciseselling.com.
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