When you’re looking to sharpen your sales techniques, it’s a great idea to start with objections.
Objections crop up all the time in B2B sales – the more complex the solution, the more objections there are. Although experience will teach you about the most common objections to your product, all possible objections could fill an encyclopedia.
With that in mind, your sales techniques can’t stop with memorizing individual answers.
You need a whole framework for handling objections no matter when or where they arise.
Luckily, there is just such a framework.
It’s called LAER, and it will make your life as a sales professional easier.
Whether you’re an old hand or a complete newcomer to sales, LAER will help you manage your prospects’ objections on the fly. It also empowers you to keep your sales techniques organized.
Here’s how it works.
In inbound sales, we never want to be perceived as talking over the prospect. The first step is to listen to the objection. That means doing so openly, honestly, and with clear interest – even if you can tell that the objection is not well-founded, assume it comes from a good place.
Sales techniques in the Listen phase include:
- Reflecting what the person is saying by repeating and rephrasing the major points.
- Listening actively by acknowledging the prospect’s words and maintaining focus.
- Showing friendly body language, including open posture and strong, steady eye contact.
Everyone wants to be acknowledged, and that goes double for your B2B prospects. They may not be world experts on the topic at hand – and you might be – but they bring their insights and perspective to the process. It’s up to you to validate that.
In the Acknowledge phase, use the information you just learned to maintain rapport.
While reflecting, above, clarifies points and demonstrates understanding while a prospect is talking, you go a step further when you acknowledge. Ideally, you can succinctly summarize the crux of the prospect’s objection in this phase. You begin to tackle it in the next one.
Even if your prospect talked for 15 minutes, a good acknowledge is just a sentence or two.
You can practice this and related sales techniques by listening to recordings of actual interviews and discovery calls. Take in the information, exactly as it would be spoken, and reflect it back in no more than three sentences. This will give you more flexibility in a live discussion.
In the Explore phase, you want to get to the root of why your prospect thinks a certain way. Now’s not the time to correct them but simply to root out the thought process that led them to a given conclusion. Without doing that, even your best advice might bounce off, unheeded.
The key is open-ended questions.
Asking open-ended questions is one of the classic sales techniques all professionals have in their toolkit. Prospects might not always know exactly what they’re thinking, but they always know best about themselves. Questions without a simple, one-word answer are the best way to get at the facts.
Once you feel you truly “get it,” you can move on to the final phase.
During the Respond phase, you offer a neutral recommendation to address the objection.
The success of this phase depends on two factors:
- The understanding of the objection you’ve developed through your questioning.
- Your ability to convey trustworthy information based on prospect requirements.
With that in mind, the Respond phase is about more than your response. It hinges on whether the prospect feels your company’s perspective is a reliable one. The more helpful, value-packed content you’ve provided to the prospect up to that point, the better your chances are of continuing the conversation.
Keep these three vital sales techniques under your hat, too:
5. Listing Objections
In most cases, about three to five objections will make up 90% of those you encounter in a given month. So, it’s always a good idea to keep a handy list of the objections you’ve heard and list the possible responses you could offer in each case. This little bit of study primes you to succeed later.
Of course, having answers on paper isn’t always good enough. Roleplaying is like holding a “live fire drill” for your sales techniques, where one team member acts as the prospect and the other practices the responses. Observers can offer invaluable feedback, too.
7. Product Drills
If you’re in B2B sales, don’t leave all the clicking and button-pressing to the sales engineer. Your knowledge of a product will be seen as a reflection of that product’s value. Find ways to spend time with it and at least master the interface, even in a simulated environment.
Objections are a fact of life. With these seven sales techniques, you’ll respond quickly and well.