In many courtrooms, objections are either sustained or overruled by a judge. But in a negotiation, the customer plays the judge (and the opposing lawyer, too). Their decision is final, so it’s your job to ensure they make the right call.
As objections are part of most commercial discussions, both in a selling and negotiation meeting so the key is to be prepared. How? By anticipating and planning for them beforehand.
I recently observed a meeting with client whose customer raised an objection early in the discussion. The Account Manager treated the objection as an interruption to his proposal and responded with “I’ll deal with that later.”
This response appeared dismissive, and the customer felt shut down and became disengaged. The Account Manager had failed to identify that the objection was a top priority for the customer, and it needed to be resolved to their satisfaction for the proposal to move forward.
It’s important to remember that objections are raised for a range of reasons, both tactical and emotional. In some situations, commercial buyers will raise prepared objections during a proposal to see if they can gleam other concessions or benefits from a supplier.
When objections are raised, it can be easy to default into negotiation-mode. Often this is due to willingness to provide a solution on the spot, to be proactive to the customer’s needs, and to clear the way to continue with the proposal.
But while appearing to be a proactive approach, defaulting to negotiation actually derails the selling process.
For example, a customer might raise an objection about the price being too expensive, or the margin not high enough. While you may have discounts in your armoury, you don’t want to end up in a discount percentage negotiation in the middle of your selling proposition. Selling and negotiating at the same time is counteractive. Always sell the proposition first, then negotiate the details.
Objections are never going to go away. Here are some tips on how to best handle them.