This question is not one, salespeople look at or think about often enough. Or at least I didn’t when I was selling cars. If you would have listened to me when I first began selling cars, you would have thought there were hundreds if not thousands of possible objections a customer can come up with, because that is what I thought. And my perception was my reality.
How could anyone possibly prepare themselves for hundreds if not thousands of objections? You can’t, no one could. And this fact was debilitating. It would not only hold me back from selling cars, but it also offered me a built-in excuse as to why it was not my fault if I did not close a deal.
However, I am not the type of person to accept failure or to accept that something cannot be done. I am much more of a “where there is a will, there is a way.” Think about this phrase for a second. It basically says, that if you have enough drive and passion, anything is possible. This includes being prepared for any objection a customer can throw at you.
So, how did I learn how to be prepared for hundreds if not thousands of objections? It is just like how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and my first bite here was to start tracking the actual objections I was hearing, so I created an objections log.
Every time I would hear an objection from a customer, I would write it down. When a customer told me, “I need to speak to my spouse,” I would write it down. When a customer would say, “The payments are too high,” I would write it down. And when they would tell me, “This is not enough for my trade.” I would write it down.
After a few weeks of doing this, I quickly began to realize, there were not hundreds of objections, and there certainly were not the thousands of them that I originally thought. In fact, there are only a few dozen objections, including variants.
“I need to speak to my husband.”
“I need to speak to my wife.”
“I need to speak to my accountant.”
“I need to speak to my uncles, cousins, best friends, neighbor, who is in the car business.”
These objections are all actually the same. They all reference the need to speak with a third-party. And all these objections have one more thing in common. In most cases, and I mean like 99% of the time, they are not real. They customer concerns, objections, or whatever you want to call them are nothing but smokescreens for the customers true objection.
The more I continued to track and analyze the objections I was hearing from my customers, the more clarity I had about them. This clarity revealed a shocking revelation, there are only 4, yes 4, major categories a customer can truly object about.
Now before, I reveal the 4 major categories of REAL objections, I want to introduce one caveat first. My analysis was based upon my experiences in the automotive sales business. These customers, for the most part would come to me, whether it was over the phone, over the internet, in-person. They were looking for a vehicle. If you are prospecting for potential buyers, you could run into customer that do not have a Need for your product and/or they are Content with their existing product. These are objections and concerns for another day. Today’s article assumes the customer has a problem they are looking to solve, and they are in the market to find a solution. Now, keeping that in mind, back to our originally scheduled program.
The 4 Major Categories of REAL Objections
- Money – The money category is by far the most common objection or concern. This includes all financial aspects of your transaction. Everything from: Price, Payments, Initial Up-front Payments, Interest Rates, Finance Charge, Trade-in Values, and much more. However, even though there are several different types of money or financial objections, each one does not require a different method for addressing them. Almost all financial objections can be handled in the same or similar way.
- Product – The product category seems pretty self-explanatory. This is whatever it is that you are attempting to sell to your customer. This includes product, brand, and services. All three of these categories can be handled in the same or similar way.
- Company – The company category can include: the individual company that you work for, like an individual dealership or franchised location. It can also include the parent company you work for, such you work for an individual dealership, however that dealership is owned by a larger group. All of these company sub-categories can be addressed in the same way or at least in a similar way.
- You – Yes, you can be the REAL Objection or concern a customer has. However, if you are good at your job and truly work in the customer’s best interest, this will be the least common objection you run into. However, it is a REAL Objection, and it is one that you must be properly prepared for. Here is a hint: The best way to handle a “You” objection is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Some people might say there is a number five, Time. I am not one of these people. I believe that an objection about Time, is nothing more than a smokescreen like so many others. I will concede that these are some legitimate reasons where Time is a REAL objection, however it is not often. And I take the stance that if I treat it like a smokescreen, that is more than likely I can move past it. However, if I treat it like a REAL objection, then most likely it is going to end with a no sale. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to give myself a shot at a deal, rather than give up.
No matter your opinion on the number of sales objections, you have to acknowledge that it is much easier to prepare for these 4 Major Categories than it would be to prepare for hundreds of perceived possibilities. Start putting your most common objections into these four categories and practicing how to use the tools in your tool kit to address and overcome them. You know they are coming, get PREPARED.
For more about overcoming objections, check out my new book, 99 OBJECTIONS – BUT CLOSING AIN’T ONE. And if you have an objection that does not fall into one of my four categories, please share it with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how we can overcome it!