Preventing and Handling Objections
In the process of generating new clients for your consulting business there may be
situations when you are confronted with objections from your potential clients. They often appear in the form of a statement, a challenge, a negative response, and/or a question.
An objection is a legitimate concern about you, your consulting business, your service, price and/or timing. Helping your potential client develop understanding and interest throughout your sales process can actually uncover potential objections early enough to turn them into opportunities to build value and credibility. You can uncover objections as early as possible in the process by the questions you ask. This will give you the opportunity to prevent them by sharing the information your potential client needs to feel comfortable. All too often consultants actually create objections because they focus on issues of no interest to the potential client or use examples not relevant to the potential client’s interests, concerns or needs. Tailor your process, your presentation, and your examples to focus on the potential client’s issues, wants, and needs. Another effective method for preventing objectives is to build them into your approach as a competitive advantage.
No consulting methodology will completely eliminate objections. The need to deal with them will always exist. The first step in handling objections is to identify all of them. If your potential client says your price is too high or the timing isn’t right, show empathy, ask open-ended questions and encourage your potential client to elaborate.
Do not assume the first stated objection is the real one. It may or it may not be. When you keep answering each objection without being certain you are dealing with the real one, you're engaging in the mental game of objection ping-pong with your potential client. You will spend too much time and energy in this activity to be productive. Whereas, asking questions will get you closer to the real objections while giving you time to think about how to address your potential client’s concern. Objections can be highly emotional so deal with them gently. When you have finished listening to the objection do not launch into an immediate rebuttal. Rephrase the objection into a question you answer.
Your attitude about dealing with objections sends an important message to the prospect about your confidence level and your belief in your product or service. If you are overly defensive, red flags can be raised in the potential client’s mind. Avoid arguing and stay calm. Taking an adversarial approach may satisfy your ego, but it won’t do anything to help the sale. Listen carefully before attempting to refute an objection. Even if you are right, be careful. You may win a debate but lose a consulting project!
Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has been the first choice among business partners for creating successful business consultants and coaches. For more information visit www.resourceassociatescorp.com or contact RAC directly at 800.799.6227.