Sell Well - Grow Well
Cracking the toughest part of selling
Jigar Parekh, Head - Prudent Empower, Ahmedabad


One of the toughest parts of any sales presentation is handling the objections of clients. The success ratio or the closure ratio during the sales call is directly related to the quality of the way objections are handled. No matter how good you prepare your sales presentation and how well you present the product features to the client, but if you fail at handling the objections of the clients effectively, then it would be difficult to lead the sales call towards closing. In this two part article, Jigar takes us through how to successfully prepare for and then handle objections, and thus boost sales productivity.

What are Objections?

Objections are the questions asked by the client regarding the product or regarding their doubts about the products. Objections are actually a part of any sales call. Before any successful closing on an average any advisor will have to handle 4 to 5 objections. It means if you do not face these objections, chances are least that you will be able to close the sale. These 4 to 5 objections are in fact the steps towards the success.

When client is giving any objection it means he has at least some interest into the product and he needs either some more information to clear his/her doubt or needs to build some more confidence to trust you as an advisor. In most of the cases when clients are not interested they do not give any objection, instead they try to avoid the situation by saying that they would get back to you. It means as an advisor or distributor you have not been able to impress him/her with your product presentation.

It is very much necessary that we get the objections to lead the client towards buying the product. Some of the statements which normally we hear from clients which in most of the cases imply that he is not interested are;

  1. I will get back to you.

  2. I will think over it and will call you.

  3. I need to talk to my CA/partner/husband/wife/father for this.

In such cases we must try to get the real objection out from client's mind to take the call into the right direction by asking the right questions.

Most important ingredients for Objection Handling

I have asked many advisors across various workshops in various cities about the kind of feelings they have when they hear any objection from client. I ask the IFAs to describe the feeling into the one single word emotion. Most common answers I keeps on receiving are; Frustration, anger, irritation, sad etc. When I ask them what is the first thought that come across our mind then the common answers are; may be client is not interested, client doesn't want to buy the product, client is not intellectual enough to understand the product, client is giving the excuse for not buying the product, client is trying to get rid of us etc.

Most of the feelings and thoughts which normally come across to average advisor are negative. And these negative feelings are the real cause of the failure in handling the objection.

One of the best definitions of sales I have heard is that from Zig Ziglar, "Sales is the transference of the conviction from one mind to another mind."

It means, two very important ingredients of the sales are,

  1. The conviction regarding the product must be 100% into the advisor's mind.

  2. Good communication skill to transfer the same conviction to client's mind.

Now whenever we have the negative feelings like irritation, frustration, sadness, anger etc., and guess what happens to our communication skill? Yes, our communication skill gets adversely affected resulting into the failure in transferring the conviction about the product.

Many a times I have experienced this fact that in spite of having a very good product/market knowledge advisor is not able to close the sale simply because a small objection affects his/her emotions negatively resulting into poor communication skill. So it is very much important that we must feel and remain positive. That can be achieved when you keep on expecting all the time that client is very much interested into your product, but he wants some more information regarding the product/market before actually buying it.

Objection Handling, the guerrilla advisor way

True guerrilla advisor takes each and every objection and converts it into the opportunity to close the sale. There are few very specific guidelines which guerrilla advisor follows to handle the objection successfully.

Guerrilla advisor understands that the objection could be either real objection which can be handled by sharing the relevant information and data, while on other hand objection could also be psychological where client is though interested but is giving some objection because of the fear of the failure. This happens because the pain arising due to making a mistake is actually much more than the actual loss generated out of that mistake. So client wants to make double sure that he is not committing any mistake and for doing so he keeps on asking the questions just to ensure that you as an advisor are truly confident and trustable. This kind of psychological objection can be handled by creating the atmosphere of trust and confident.

The basic principle behind all the guidelines followed by the guerrilla advisor is, "The way you say something is more important that what you say."

What you say represents the objective part of your reply such as data, facts and figures which helps in dealing with the real objection. While on the other hand "how you say" represents the subjective part of handling objection to deal with the psychological fear of making mistake.

How to handle Real (Objective) Objection

To handle the real objection successfully, we need to do a little homework before pitching any product or asset class to any client. I have observed over a period of time that, any product or asset class at any given point of time has 4 to 5 major objections. With changing market cycle objections may change but at any given point there would be mainly 4 to 5 objections.

Step 1: Prepare the list of probable Objections

For each product or asset class, before starting to promote it, we should prepare the list of such probable objections.

For example, while pitching the equity fund to the retail investor the list of probable objections would be very limited and as follows

  1. Equity is very risky, I want safety. My bank FD gives me 8% guaranteed return why should I look at equity?

  2. Market may correct anytime, I will wait for the correction.

  3. Our market is majority driven by FII flow, what if they do a heavy selling?

  4. Market seems to be at all time high, it can't move much further.

  5. I am intelligent and educated, I don't need mutual fund, I can buy the stocks directly etc.

There could be few more based on the changing market scenario.

Step 2: Prepare for each Objection

Once you have a list of all the probable objections, prepare the ideal combination of the answer that suits the most along with the good data, example and stories. When you are prepared in advance for each objection, it would help in maintaining the positive mindset when you hear any of them, as it would not be a shocker for you.

There are two important aspects which advisor needs to keep in mind while preparing for any objection. First, you must have good arguments and hard hitting dialogues. Second, you must have a proper material in terms of report, data or some material which you can use to back your arguments and hard hitting dialogues. I call such material "a sales enabler".

For example, when you counter argue your client's objection regarding the equity investment being risky by saying, "In long term not investing into equity is riskier because the inflation will eat up the purchasing power." And not backing this argument with relevant data or facts it would not be very effective.All the strong arguments must be backed by some visual evidence in terms of some examples of how inflation can erode the purchasing power. It could be a graph showing the value of Rs 100 rupee before 10 years and after 10 years due to inflation, showing real life bills or some items purchased in past and its current cost etc.

Another example: If someone is saying that FII may move out of market and it can result into the market crash. Most of advisor counter argues by saying that FIIs are not speculator but investors and they come for the long term investment. This argument is good but it must be backed by the financial year wise data of FII net inflow into the Indian equity market since last 20 plus year. This would validate your argument.

This sounds very simple, but I have often seen that advisor who is good at arguments and dialogues misses out on using the sales enabler and on the other hand advisors who uses the enablers misses out in winning the attention of client due to lack of strong dialogues. You must have a compilation of good sales enablers for each probable objection beforehand. The argument along with the sales enabler will help in dealing with the real and psychological objection both at a time.

In nutshell, be prepared in advance for all probable objections with the answers, data and visual sales enablers is important part of handling objection.

In next part we would discuss the 5 powerful ideas to handle the objections effectively.

Happy Selling

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