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Sales Training and Coaching: When is the Best Time to Answer a Prospect's Objection

One of the biggest questions that comes up in sales training is how and when to answer objections when they arise. Thinking about when to address the prospect's issues plays an important role in increasing your effectiveness.

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How do You Know the Most Appropriate Time to Answer the Objection?

There are four times to do it: before the prospect brings it up, while the prospect is bringing it up, after the prospect brings it up, or never. Of course, different situations call for different answers.

1. Answering an objection before the prospect brings it up.
When discussing how your product satisfies the needs of your prospect, it is helpful go ahead and anticipate any objections you think may come up. Before the prospect even brings up your most common objections, it's very helpful for you to address those issues. By taking this preemptive approach you have the opportunity to explain why the "objections" may actually be benefit and you can redirect what the prospect focuses on. i.e. If you have a product priced higher than the competition, use your higher price point as a way to justify the additional value and quality delivered by choosing you. Without even using the sales talk to gauge the prospect's interest, if you find that the same objection is being brought up fairly frequently, it might be best to start bringing it up before them. By properly learning to address an objection before it even comes up you will significantly reduce challenges and increase closing percentages.

2. Answering an objection when the prospect brings it up.
Inevitably, prospects will bring up objections that are unique to them or they may need to discuss a common objection further and therefore bring it up. This is the ideal time to answer that objection. As soon as the prospect states it, they will want to hear your response. There are only a few circumstances where you wouldn't want to do this. Use the objection as a way to to discuss value further and to present more evidence. The objection can be viewed as a clue to what you need to emphasize further in your presentation rather than a roadblock. Also before actually handling the objection make sure you get the prospect discuss their hidden objections too.

3. Answering an objection after the prospect brings it up.
There are appropriate times to answer the objection later, but you should acknowledge their objection and tell them you will get to it. A few of the reasons you may put off a response to their objection could be that it's irrelevant to the topic, if you know the answer would be so long that it would disrupt the flow of the sales talk, or if you're unsure about any facts needed to answer the objection. In that case, you will need to find out those facts and get back to the prospect later.

4. Never answering the objection.
Sometimes, but not often, you will hear an objection that you don't know how to answer, and in some cases, that's okay. One example would be the unanswerable objection, where it may be a matter of opinion that you didn't get earlier. Another, and most common reason to "overlook" discussing an objection would be when it is a trivial or unimportant objection, where the answer clearly wouldn't matter to the prospect as they are bringing up something so petty. In these cases, it's best to not answer at all. As an example let's look at someone in real estate sales. They are showing a home that is a good value and in good condition that matches the prospect's criteria. When someone is objecting to the colors of the walls of a particular room, the matter is insignificant to if they will move forward or not. You can ignore the issue, minimize it, joke about it and so forth, but there is no reason to disrupt the presentations flow or take focus away from the the main value points.

Knowing how and when to answer a prospect's objections is a skill that needs to be learned. There are various ways to do so, but it's important to know when to do so, or you risk losing control of both the presentation and the sale. See an objection as simply someone expressing a reservation about buying your product. It is not a known or a major barrier to the sale, but simply their saying "I need more information" and they are letting you know it. This is where you need to convince them that those reservations are significantly outweighed by the benefits and value they are receiving. The better you understand the needs and concerns they want satisfied via what you are selling, the easier it is to overcome the objection. It's best to decide before going in how you will handle any objection that may come your way. Planning and preparation are keys to success as well as time well spent.

Mark Anthony creates custom sales training programs that teach reps how to increase closing percentages by helping people how to truly tailor each presentation to the personality and motivation of each prospects. To learn more about his 30 years of experience and worldwide list of clients call 888-792-5128 or email