Empathy Helps You Handle Objections

Empathy in Sales

Can you understand not being able to afford what you want? Have you ever wanted to buy something but the timing was off? Or wondered if the product you were interested in was being offered at the best price? If yes, then you can empathize with the prospective customer who raises those objections.

Empathy and understanding are important traits for a salesperson.

Customers want to know that you understand them and their situation. Especially with big-ticket or complex products, prospects don’t buy because they understand your product. They buy because they believe you understand them, and they trust you to make a recommendation that serves their best interests. If they don’t feel understood, they will be reluctant to buy from you.

Once you make a recommendation, prospects may still have concerns or objections. That’s natural. They may be resistant to making a decision. So they say things like, “I’m not sure I can afford that;” “I need to think about it some more;” or, “It’s too expensive.”

Objections can be true or they might be red herrings. It might be a phrase they use to avoid making decisions in front of a salesperson. We’ve all done it. When the salesperson in the store asks, “Can I help you?” we often respond, “No thanks. I’m just looking.” Perhaps a throwback to one of our first thoughts after we were born…“No thanks, I’m just looking. Put me back in that nice warm place!”

Suppose you have determined the prospect is being honest with you and has given you a real objection. Empathize and paraphrase what you think they mean. “I can understand how you feel. Itis a lot of money.” Or, “I can understand. Of course you want to make sure you get the best value for your dollar.” Or, “I can understand how you feel. You want to make certain you’re making the right decision at the right time.”

The next step is to turn the objection into a question that you can answer. “That brings up a question. The question is: would you benefit enough despite your concern? Is that the question?”If yes, then you have permission to answer that question using a combination of what you understand about the prospect and your product knowledge.

Tweak the question to suit the specific situation, but if you empathize, truly understand the issue and believe that in spite of their concern, this would still be a good decision for them, use these two steps to keep the conversation going. You can be pleasantly persistent, not obnoxious.

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February 2, 2015

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