How to define and avoid client objections

Unhappy customer yelling into a phone

Hot Tips | Managing

By Sue Barrett

A client objection can be a real knock to the ego, and if not handled correctly can see the end of a good client relationship. Here’s some expert advice for dealing professionally with objections.

It’s tough on the ego when you receive an objection from a client. It’s not a pleasant experience and if not handled well can be the end of an otherwise good client relationship. Client objections can be avoided if you stay committed to instigating and retaining a sound communication process. Ask yourself what you know about your client. What does your client value? What are their real priorities and why? How sophisticated are they?

Once you’ve established answers to these questions, use your best communications skills to create a dynamic, productive sales and buying experience for you and the customer.

It’s crucial that you learn to differentiate between client objection and questions or concerns. Most of the time you’ll find your client is simply seeking clarification about your product or service. We need to welcome these as opportunities and not take it personally. How we respond to client and customer questions, will (if not properly dealt with) lead to objections. If there is a misunderstanding, be quick to correct it and if there is doubt, resolve it. If there’s a limitation try to compromise or put it into perspective for your customer and if there’s a question, make sure you answer it.

Effective selling requires assertive behaviour and while building rapport with clients is important, a reluctance to adopt assertive behaviours such as speaking up for yourself, challenging ideas and asking questions will prevent you from initiating and closing sales and keeping good client relationships. Assertive professionals take a balanced approach to their communication with clients and as a result they tend to avoid client objections. Here are some behaviours of an assertive professional:

  1. Positive – stay positive rather than negative.
  2. Calm – be at peace with yourself and it will translate to your dealings with other.
  3. Enthusiastic – complete tasks with zest.
  4. Proud – accomplish results without stealing ideas from others.
  5. Honest – give your word and stick to it.
  6. Direct – don’t play manipulative games.
  7. Confident –take calculated risks.
  8. Satisfied –know where you’re going & how you’re going to get there.
  9. Respect for others – recognise others have needs & rights.
  10. Energetic – direct energy toward achieving goals.

So, taking into account these behaviours and how to define an actual client objection, if you do need to respond to an objection here’s how to do so carefully and avoid ruining an otherwise good client relationship:

  • Deal with the objection straight away, don’t ignore it;
  • Empathise with the feelings expressed by your client by remaining calm and using positive language (talk about what can be done, rather than what can’t);
  • Actively listen, question and solve problems and avoid making personal judgements;
  • Ask questions to determine the real objection;
  • Restate objections to clarify the issue and gain agreement from the customer about what you have understood to be their real concern;
  • Work toward seeing the situation from the customer’s perspective; and
  • Select a course of action which may include negotiating a solution.

These days we’re all about collaborating with our clients to produce real ideas and results. Smart professionals look at ways to accelerate their client’s businesses to produce more outstanding results. This requires, business acumen and a commitment to a partnership arrangement with the client. So, next time you experience a client objection, take a long hard look and handle with care. It’s likely you’ll be surprised at the result.

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