Deflecting Sales Objections So You Can Make Your Case
Get past the front lines to schedule a meeting
Laboratory owners often need to carefully negotiate their time: Handle the operation from top down, coach new staff, recruit, work at the bench, and all the while, find time for prospecting and new sales. Proper handling of objections from office staff and dentists is an important part of the sales aspect, particularly in that introductory call when you are pursuing an in-person appointment. So when you get an objection, how do you get the conversation back on track to make that crucial appointment or even close that sale? Handling objections is one of the most important and difficult components to making the introductory call, and therefore, one of the most critical parts of your sales process.
It is important to know how to properly respond to the office manager or dentist with benefit statements and questions that will uncover their true objection and give you the opportunity to take the call to the next level. An objection is a push-back, a resistance to agreeing to your request, and it's usually due to the prospect not fully understanding your value proposition (your benefits and features) or often simply conflating your offerings with others.
The good news is that there are only a limited number of objections that you will hear over and over again. It's still a challenge to get to the "yes," even if you master objection-handling, but if you practice these techniques, you will likely increase your number of appointments and sales this month compared to previous months. Here are a few rebuttals to the three top objections often heard. They probably sound familiar.
"I'm Happy with My Current Laboratory"
"Well, then this is certainly perhaps a good time to speak, before anything is going wrong, and all of a sudden you find yourself in a rather unpleasant situation! So what is it exactly that you like about your laboratory?" The purpose of this question is simply to establish friendly and non-adversarial grounds for the next question, which segues with:
"Well those qualities are certainly important. And tell me, what are the top two or three areas in which you'd like to see some improvement, as it relates to perhaps service, turnaround time, quality, or even price?"
Once you have elicited some potential needs and pain-points, you might say:
"I see. We've heard many dentists note similar need for improvement in those areas, and that's exactly why I am calling. At
"I Don't Have Time to Meet Right Now"
Begin by going with the grain, by agreeing: "Yes, I understand. It's likely a very busy time right now, so what I'll offer in that case is to schedule several weeks out, at a time that you think might work best. Take a look at your calendar, and let's pencil something in for next month. Would the 19th or 25th work for you?"
If you are finding it difficult still to get the appointment, it is possible that they are "happy enough" with their laboratory situation, so a meeting is not a priority. Ask questions to get under the hood and possibly identify issues with their current laboratory's quality, customer service, turnaround time, or even price. If after identifying improvements you can potentially make to enhance their laboratory experience, go for the appointment again. If still a no, it's time to acquiesce and ask for a better month to follow up, to check back on the overall satisfaction level they have with their current laboratory partner. Then record quality notes, and be sure to actually follow up. Are you able to show the prospect value through thought-provoking questions and benefits, so that you move up on their priority list?
"Send Me Something"
Is this a brush-off or a genuine request for more information? First, try this universal response, which, if done correctly, will allow you to proceed if the prospect asks you to send them something before you even get into the heart of your presentation: "Well, I can certainly send you something, but I just want to make sure that whatever I send you is specific and pertinent to what you are trying to accomplish there. So let me ask you a couple of questions." They will say OK, and from here, you are back into your probing questions.
If you are later in your presentation and are looking to book the appointment but the prospect is still requesting information rather than agreeing to the meeting, you can try something like:
"I'm sure that cost and quality of work are important to you, as they are to all my clients. If we can meet for 20 minutes or so, I can learn about your practice and what's important to the dentist, to see if there's any value I can contribute as a laboratory partner. Our marketing piece just presents a broad stroke on our services, so let's take a look at some dates. Do you have a calendar in front of you?"
If the office manager is your liaison to the dentist on this phone call and insists on seeing information before meeting with you, make sure to get permission to call back. Hold them accountable to review it with the dentist and get a next step. "After you've have a chance to look at the information with the dentist, I'll give you a call to see if there are any additional questions and perhaps we can schedule a quick meeting. Will you be around Tuesday?"
Notice that every rebuttal ends in a question. Why? Before you can get to that closing question, be sure to ask the fact-finding questions to help you to learn more about your prospect and his or her business so that you can build rapport and become a true solutions-provider for that company. You'd be truly surprised at how effective "Let me ask you a question" can serve as a rebuttal to nearly any objection, especially if followed by something reasonable that proposes a real challenge to their prevailing comfort. Follow that with interesting benefit statements, and you've got two of the most important ingredients for a solid presentation.
About the Author
Amanda Puppo is the owner of MarketReachResults.com, based in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.