Crazy successful entrepreneur, Bo Bennett, has a pretty insightful view on objections:
“An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.”
If you’ll embrace this sentiment when trying to increase your in-store sales, you’ll see a pronounced boost in your revenue. Unfortunately, if you’re like many other retailers, you tend to forget this one important thing:
Trying to sell “wants” requires the skills to engage a shopper in a manner that lowers their guard enough to consider what you’re offering. That means you and your sales associates must learn how to overcome customer objections. The Retail Doctor shares 5 ways to help you do it:
5 Common Customer Objections & How to Overcome Them
1.“It costs too much.”
A young woman who tells a sales associate she won’t buy a special dress for $100 because she thinks she’ll only wear it twice, probably views the dress as costing her $50 each time she wears it. But you won’t know that unless you take the time to listen to her concerns.
Stay focused on what the buyer is really saying so you can deconstruct their concerns. There is no room for bias here, and no cause to feel defensive, so be sure to school your body language and verbal confirmations to communicate to the buyer that you are listening intently.
The key is to find out exactly what the customer is looking for, why they are looking for it, and why they might object to the price in that moment. Then you will be armed with enough information to overcome their objection.
In the case of the young woman and the “pricey” dress, you could point out that the dress can be worn for multiple holiday events throughout the year, as well as weddings and company parties—and emphasize how smart her choice is. If need be, help her find a different dress—in a similar price range—that she’ll feel comfortable wearing more often. The last thing you want to do is force customers into making purchases that will result in feelings of dissatisfaction or disappointment when they leave your store.
2. “You don’t have the product I’m looking for.”
Sometimes objections like this one are actually hiding underlying issues that the buyer can’t articulate. That means you have to get to the heart of the objection to understand what the customer may not see clearly for themselves.
When you think you have a good grasp on the customer’s concern, restate it as you understand it. By restating the objection, you’ll help the buyer see the issue more clearly. Even after the buyer confirms you understand their objection perfectly, ask “What else?” to further clarify their concerns. Many times the answer to that last “What else?” turns out to be the biggest hurdle to moving the sale forward.
If the customer came in for an air fryer and you don’t have that model, ask them, “Why are you looking at air fryers?” and “Why are you looking for that particular air fryer?”. Once you understand all the reasons why the shopper wants the item, you can show them a different model that offers all the features they want—and more—and close the sale with a product that will be even better than the one they originally came in for.
3. “I need to ask someone else about it first.”
When customers feel they’re under “attack”, the natural response is to defend themselves or to counterattack, often raising new issues at the last moment. To avoid these setbacks, ask them questions like the ones in the example below.
If you’re trying to sell a pair of exotic cowboy boots to a woman who’s on the fence about it and wants to ask her husband first, you could say something like, “I can see that you appreciate quality and I’m sure you have other expensive items in your closet. What did your husband tell you to do when you bought those?”
“Once you challenge them on it,” says The Retail Doctor, “You’ll find their objection was simply a smokescreen, and you won’t believe how easily they convert and you get the sale.”
You can neutralize even the most outspoken oppositions and turn them into sales by patiently taking the time to uncover the true motivation for the customer’s objection and helping them move past last-minute excuses.
4. “I’m not sure it’s right for me.”
“Price is never the objection in cases like these,” explains The Retail Doctor. “You just need to help them quiet the negative voices in their head so they can do what they truly wanted to do.”
To accomplish this, appeal to the customer’s ego. Shoppers—like everyone else—view the world in terms of how it relates to them personally. So make them feel good about the product they’re considering.
If a woman is contemplating a particular lipstick but is balking on the price, you could appeal to her ego by saying, “That color really makes your lips look full and enhances your great smile. Other women will wish they could pull it off as well as you do.”
Your comments should authentically bolster the customer’s ego by telling them they deserve the item their considering and making them feel that it’s perfect for them. Of course, this only works if you’ve built a rapport with your customer. Otherwise, your compiments might come off sounding phony.
5. “You don’t have the one I want in stock.”
“Many retailers think telling the shopper you can ship it to them is the best way to handle an objection,” says The Retail Doctor. As it turns out, though, this can be a real letdown. After all, the customer will worry about what condition the item will arrive in, whether it will fit, or if they’ll still want it.
Proceed by suggesting alternatives to meet their needs, whether it’s calling your other store locations and having the item transferred, or finding a different store entirely. Do whatever you can to help the customer find what they want so you don’t have to tell them, “Sorry, you’re out of luck.”
You might even help the shopper connect personally with a supplier who can get them the item they’re looking for. Customers will be impressed by your willingness to put in the extra effort to locate the item for them. And it’s a lot more likely that they’ll return and shop with you for the products you do have in stock.
If the shopper does agree to let you ship the item to their home when it comes in, offer them an iron-clad guarantee. Tell them they can return the item for any reason—with free shipping—if they decide they don’t want it.
And remember…when a customer asks for something you don’t have, it’s an opportunity to show them how much you want their business.
Objections often occur at the last minute because sales associates don’t bother to fully connect with the shopper and try to understand what they came in for. Connecting with a shopper involves more than simply asking “What are you looking for?” It means poking holes in common customer objections during the sales process.
Keep in mind that the shopper made a special trip to your store wanting to buy something in particular. If they voice an objection, don’t take it as an outright “NO”, but rather as a “No, I won’t buy it unless…”
“More often than not shoppers are looking to purchase something they want, not something they need,” says The Retail Doctor. That means you need to employ your best sales skills and be persistent. You need to focus on opening your heart to the people who enter your store and genuinely seek to understand why they’re there in the first place.
Working trough objections helps shoppers purchase what they really WANT so they don’t leave your store disappointed. Your success at improving in-store sales depends on your ability to remove common objections during the purchase process.
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Also published on Medium.