Every sales rep dreads hearing prospect objections. From “Your price is too high,” to “Call me again in three months when I get my budget back,” it can sometimes seem like all prospects and prospects want to do is find reasons not to buy from you.
This is a frustrating situation for reps, especially when they feel — as the best do — that their product or solution could actually help the prospect and improve his or her business. So what’s the disconnect? If your offering can actually make life easier for this prospect, why is she spending so much time finding reasons to reject it?
I believe this dynamic happens when salespeople jump to a demo of their solution at the wrong time in the sales cycle. Most sales reps want to start the sales process by showing a demo and talking about product features. From there, they try to convince the prospect that their solution is the best.
In my view, salespeople need to start instead by identifying a problem the prospect has, and then defining how that problem is impacting their business including how much it is costing their company. Conceptually, this is a very simple thing to do. First, define what the problem is. Then, quantify how much the problem is costing the prospect. For example, the problem could be lost cross-sell opportunities, which could represent $100,000 a month in lost opportunity. In other words, you’re making a business case to justify the prospect’s investment in your solution (which, obviously, will help the prospect solve the problem and increase their sales by $100,000 a month).
Why is it important to center the sales conversation on the business case instead of your solution’s features? Because a focus on features distracts prospects from their problems and pain points. When you start with the demo and features, you’ll get responses like, “Can we make this button blue instead of red?” This isn’t the kind of question that’s going to advance the sale, because there’s no focus on value. The value is not whether the button should be blue or red; the value is how your product can solve a real business problem for your prospect and result in real economic impact.
When prospects watch a demo, they’re on the lookout for why your product or solution won’t work. Even if your product could actually help them, they’re not ready to hear that yet. That’s because you haven’t walked them through the problem or pain point, which means they have no emotional nor financial attachment to solving that problem. However, if you start by identifying the problem and quantifying it, you’ve set yourself up to say, “What if we could solve that and save you half a million dollars? Is this worth spending more time to discuss?” If you’ve taken the time to lay this groundwork before showing the demo, they’ll have a different reaction when they see the demo. They’ll be thinking, “How can this solution help alleviate my pain?” rather than, “Why should I not purchase this solution?” It is a transformation in the mindset of the prospect.
Once the prospect is invested emotionally and economically, then you’re essentially preempting objections. When we work with clients to create ROI calculators, we frequently talk about the importance of getting the prospect to “own the numbers.” Put another way, the prospect has to understand how much the problem is costing his or her business. This is why an ROI calculator is an invaluable tool when it comes to building a strong business case. By the time you’re discussing how much your solution will cost, you’re in no danger of getting stuck in a debate about whether your particular features or benefits are “worth” a certain amount. Instead, the conversation is about how much the investment in your solution will offset the prospect’s problem.
In short, the best way to overcome prospect objections is to prevent them in the first place.
Have you ever used a business case to prevent prospect objections? How well did it work? Share your thoughts in the comments section.