Tuesday, January 14, 2020
A conversation with my child:
“You can’t do this; it is not fair. It’s my birthday money,” screams Laurynas, my 5-year-old, also known as the Negotiation Master in our household.
Me: “Well, do you think it was fair when you poured all our shampoo down the sink?”
Laurynas: “But I was planning on buying some toys with that birthday money!”
Me: “Yes dear, I know. That was my plan too. I thought it would be so fun to go shopping with you and let you choose a toy; but, now we will have to buy new shampoo instead.”
Laurynas: “But, if you spend my birthday money on shampoo, I will be so sad…”
Me: “I am sorry it’ll make you sad, that’s the last thing I want to happen. To be honest, this whole situation makes me sad as well.”
The World’s Best Negotiation Coach: Your Kid
At each my workshops, I repeat: “your kids are the best coaches on negotiation”. They know how to trigger emotions, they have patience and strong argumentation. Most importantly, they never lose hope of finding their way through.
Kids practice their negotiation skills every single day, which most of us as parents experience. Following their best practice, so should we.
When asking a prospect to buy your product, you’re essentially asking them for their money. It seems like a simple task, but for the majority of salespeople it is actually quite tricky. Why I hear you ask? In most cases, salespeople don’t have a strategy in place when customers say ‘no’.
- How do you build your proposal for a negotiation strategy?
Of course, there are plenty, but arguably one of the most powerful tools to enhance your team’s negotiation skills is objection handling.
1ClickFactory Best Practices for Sales Objection Handling
At 1ClickFactory, a company which is primarily focused on helping Microsoft Dynamics partners to upgrade customers to the newest Dynamics 365 versions, we‘ve composed a list of the most common objections as to why customers choose not to upgrade to the newest version of their software:
Our existing software works just fine
Upgrading is too expensive
I don’t see the economic value of upgrading
I don’t have time to train people on any new changes
We are not on BREP
Whenever we hear a new objection, we add it to the list. Further, for every single objection we hear, we have an internal workshop/brainstorm on what open-ended questions could help us to have an enlightening conversation with our partner. We want to understand the emotional reasons they have for not wanting to buy our service or product.
If you don’t have such a practice in your company yet, well… you should. The time for New Year resolutions has already passed, but it is always a good day to start the important stuff, right? Start building your own Common Customer Objections list now (don’t worry, it shouldn’t get too long: the good thing about the IT industry is that the number of objections is quite limited).
Why a Customer Objection List?
Building a Common Customer Objections List, together with a set of structural discovery questions, is the ultimate tool to facilitate an internal workshop with colleagues around improving negotiation skills and helping salespeople to:
- Build questioning (discovery) skills
The primary role of every salesperson is to uncover the business drivers as to WHY the project has to be funded. But equally, it’s important to understand why someone would not buy from you.
As always, there is a right way and a wrong way to ask these sorts of questions. Often, salespeople ask closed-ended questions, which is not necessarily bad, but it doesn’t engage the prospect to share more information.
Knowing the most common objections in advance, as well as having pre-prepared open-ended questions, should prepare your salespeople to have intelligent and enlightening discovery sessions around customer objections and thus, be able to reduce the pressure of a situation before meeting a prospect in person.
- Improve active listening skills
Yes, that’s right: listening, not talking (this can be a challenge for the extroverted sales crowd). In effective selling, listening is indeed far more important.
I recommend having a rule of 3 and a good exercise for the team: after hearing an objection every salesperson must ask at least 3 clarifying questions before coming up with a suggestion, advice or an argument as a standard policy in your organization.
- Seek out objections deliberately
Hearing a “No” is one of the scariest things to salespeople. Therefore, we might often refrain from asking a number of questions to hear feedback on our proposal. But the truth is, if you don’t proactively ask for objections (e.g. Is the price for upgrade to Dynamics 365 in the range of your expectations? Is the timeline OK? Is there anything that would stop you from moving forward with the upgrade to Dynamics 365?), you may be very surprised later to learn that new reasons for objections keep arising. This not only impacts the sales cycle, but also puts closing the deal at risk.
If you are a closer, act smart, early, and often. Don’t wait for objections to pop up, but rather deliberately look for them from day one. The good news is…objections handling is relatively easy once you get comfortable with it. And, practice makes perfect.
Interested in learning more sales tips on how to increase your Dynamics 365 sales? 1ClickFactory, which is a Microsoft appointed ISV Development Center, is organizing training and workshops for Microsoft Dynamics partners, helping them to acquire knowledge faster around technological as well as business changes.