“Those steel toe shoes are too hot in the summer.”
“That impact wrench is too heavy.”
“That impact wrench is too light”
“That ratchet doesn’t have enough teeth.”
“That ratchet has too many teeth.”
“That screen on your scan tool looks like it might break.”
Sometimes it seems like the objections during your product presentations will never end, right?
In the March issue of Professional Distributor we wrote about first selling new products to smaller customers as a great way to polish and get the bugs out of your sales presentation. In addition to smoothing out your presentation, you will learn the common and maybe not-so-common objections voiced by your sales prospects concerning this particular product. Whether your prospect works in a two-bay corner garage or in a 50-bay multi-brand mega dealer, customers’ concerns about your product will be similar and probably exactly the same. So let’s look at a way to keep those objections to a minimum and close more sales while you’re at it.
Embrace the objection
This is not as hard as it sounds. Simply build the objections into your product pitch. This strategy lets you control how and when objections are presented. If in the middle of your presentation your prospect says, “That screen on your scan tool looks like it might break pretty easily.” You must stop your presentation and respond with something like “Oh no, it is very strong”. No matter how you respond you are on the defense. However, if you build the objection into your presentation you can answer the issue and satisfy what is in the prospect’s mind before they even ask the question. Better yet, you may be answering the serious objection your prospect has in their mind that they don’t ask – a question which is causing them to not buy your scan tool! People are funny: some will simply not voice an objection, even if it is a deal killer.
If you find the strength of the screen is a common objection, made a statement like this early-on in your presentation:
You: “I want you to notice how the screen is surrounded by this rubber bumper, and that the screen is set back in the case. Knowing that a mechanic can break almost anything, this product’s designers did this to greatly reduce the potential for screen damage, and if the screen should get broken it is easily replaceable. That’s a great feature isn’t it?” (This is a trail close, and is a time for you to be quiet until the prospect answers.) By taking the offense you have taken a likely objection and turned it into a positive selling point.
Now let’s look at some additional preemptive ideas to handle common objections.
Imagine you are giving the presentation on a line of steel toe shoes, and almost every time the prospect has mentioned that they get hot in the summer. This may or may not be true, but by inserting your own response to this question before your prospect mentions it, you then own it and can control how it is handled.
You: “You know Mr. Prospect, there are some technicians who think that steel toe shoes can get too hot in the summer, and that is certainly something to think about. I imagine that if you are spending a lot of time in the sun the steel may absorb some of the heat. But simply wearing thinner socks in the summer can solve the problem, and you will still get the protection of the steel toe. Face it: you work with heavy and slippery objects which have a tendency to fall. I think you will agree that the steel protection is a lot better than a week or two off work with a broken foot?”
Here's another one to try:
You: “It is interesting that some technicians think this impact wrench is too light. Company XYZ really did its homework on this point. Working with your hands all day is hard work, so by developing the impact to be a little lighter, but with all the torque you will ever need, this makes your job a little easier … which I think you’ll agree is a nice feature, isn’t it?”
On the flip-side, that impact wrench might feel … heavy.
You: “It’s interesting that some technicians think this impact wrench is too heavy. Company XYZ really did its homework on this point and found that by making the impact a little heavier, they could reduce the vibration and kickback, which will make your job a little easier. I think you’ll agree that’s a nice feature, isn’t it?”
The next couple presentation insertions could answer various objections you might hear concerning ratchet teeth. Just choose the one that fits.
You: “On the subject of ratchet teeth everyone has their own opinion about which is best -- lots of teeth for less handle throw or fewer teeth for more strength. This ratchet has fewer teeth, so each tooth will have more bulk to it, making each tooth much stronger. I’m sure a strong ratchet is what you are looking for, right?”
You: “On the subject of ratchet teeth everyone has their own opinion about which is best. Lots of teeth for less handle throw or fewer teeth for more strength. We know that you will often be working in very tight spaces, and a wrench with many teeth means you can advance the nut or bolt with a very small movement of the handle. I’m thinking that you will like this feature, won’t you?”
No matter how hard you try you will never come up with all the possible questions or objections your prospects may have. But as you present to more customers you should hear most of them, and you can build these into your deal-making presentation.
Some side thoughts for successful selling
Honor their objections
What do you do when someone comes up with a really odd objection? I know that inside your head you may be screaming “That is the dumbest question I ever heard!” … but outwardly you must answer with a smile and a calm logical explanation. Honor their objection with a “That’s a great question” or “I never thought of that” and then politely give them an answer. No one wants to feel their question is stupid, even if it really is.
Answering an objection when you don’t want to
If a prospect has a question or objection that you are going to cover later in your presentation, simply say “That is a good question, which I will be covering later in my presentation.” This way you honor their question but you keep your presentation on track so you do a great job.
NOW GO SELL SOMETHING!
Alan W. Sipe has spent the last 42 years in the basic hand tool industry including positions as President of KNIPEX Tools North America, Sr. VP Sales and Marketing at Klein Tools, Manager Special Markets at Stanley Tools and sales management at toolbox manufacturer Waterloo Industries. Currently Sipe is the owner of Toolbox Sales and Consulting specializing in sales strategy, structure, development and training. Sipe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-910-1063.