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TRANSFORMING OBJECTIONS INTO SELLING POINTS By Charlie Cook You've been working with a prospect, moving closer and closer to a sale. Just before you clinch the deal, they decide to go with a competitor's product or service. They may say that your firm is too small, or you charge too much or they decided to work with a friend in the business after all, or all of the above. How do you keep this from happening again? Catherine called from real estate agency in town with a similar problem. Her firm regularly competes against national real estate chains and one of the most common objections prospects give is that Catherine's company is too small. Given that the average sale price of a home is $1 million in town, with some properties selling for over $10 million, losing a listing hurts. Its natural to want to avoid potential objections and hope a prospect never brings them to light. You hope you can make the sale without your prospect ever balking because your firm is small, expensive, located in an unusual place, or whatever. Many small businesses are, well, small. You may need to charge substantial fees to make a good living from your work and most people have a friend of a friend in the business. Unfortunately no matter how much you try to avoid them many prospects will bring up objections and you can lose their business. How can you overcome these common objections? Use prospects' objections to your advantage and transform them into selling points. In the sales process, prospects always have concerns. If you don't discuss them or figuratively leave them under the table they will come back to haunt you later. To move beyond prospects' objections, acknowledge them. Identify their concerns and put them on the table for discussion to resolve them. Here's how: Over the years that you've been in business, you've heard all of the common objections prospects raise. Take out a piece of paper and fold it in half. In the left column, list all the reasons prospects give for not working with your firm leaving a couple of lines between each reason. Across from each objection, in the right column, jot down reasons each objection is actually a plus for your clients. When you meet with a prospect, use your list to bring up potential hurdles yourself and address them up front. For example, Catherine's real estate firm is small compared to the national chain firms in town. Catherine might say to a prospect, "You know we are a small firm with ten employees. Let me tell you about all the resources we have to help you sell your home. In addition to providing you with the same resources you'd find at a larger firm we provide more attention to detail, more local knowledge, etc." Then Catherine can go on to explain how her firm sells a higher dollar volume of homes per employee than the national firms. She could also talk about her highly motivated brokers who earn higher commissions in large part because they aren't part of a national chain. She could mention the $100 million in homes sold last year. After explaining the many advantages of working with her unique firm Catherine could ask her prospect, "Are you interested in having a small firm of highly motivated experts help you sell your home?" With your experience in the business you know the most common objections prospects raise but what about others you haven't considered. How can you keep these from getting in the way? To make sure you've covered all of a prospect's concerns, ask them. Jot down a question or two to use to uncover any hidden or lingering concerns they have. Address them and move on. After they've explained their concern, restate it clearly to make sure you have it right and then counter it. For example if they are hung up on price, explain the value and benefits of your services and expertise. Don't know why prospects aren't using your services? You gave it your best shot, but they still selected another firm. Its time to do a post-mortem and find out what went wrong. Call up that lost prospect and ask them why they picked another service provider. Write these reasons down and tack them above your desk. The next time you meet with a new prospect, bring them up. Early on in the sales process, bring up possible objections and get prospects talking about their concerns. When these are on the table you can address each one and show how each is an advantage. When you put prospects' objections on the table and transform them into selling points, you'll see your sales and your business soar. - 2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. - The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the Free Marketing eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business', full of practical marketing tips you can use at: Marketing Plans for Small Business

This article was submitted by - Charlie Cook Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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