In the episode:
02:17 – Reducing objections before they happen
05:04 – Two main objections
05:51 – When the price isn’t right
08:06 – Anchoring the price
11:31 – Are there really tire-kickers?
14:12 – Mercedes-Benz versus Toyota
15:57 – Modifying the package
17:12 – “I need to talk to my spouse/partner.”
22:04 – Where it all fits in lead nurturing
23:02 – Understand the objections
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. We have a repeat guest back, Will Wang for our Get Clients Series. And today, we’re talking about lead nurturing and handling objections. Welcome, Will.
Will: Cool. Thanks again, guys, for having me back.
James: We’re getting some great feedback from the series. This is part of an ongoing series, The Get Clients Series. We’ve talked about all sorts of terrific topics, like a powerful sales conversion process for inbound leads, and we did an introduction to getting clients with cold outreach. So we’re really helping people go from nothing to getting customers and overviewing the process. But I imagine part of that is occasionally you’re going to have some objections pop up, to people who are in that lead nurturing funnel. And also it’s sort of good to delve into what happens with the lead nurturing process, because we did cover powerful sales conversions in the last episode of the series.
So where do you want to take us today?
Will: So, I thought, I got asked this question quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, and it’s, how do you handle objections? Because, I mean, we can start with what are the most common objections and then going to probably why they come up and then how we can handle them.
So in the last episode, we talked about the sales conversion rates that we’re looking for, and we talked about how, for me, 50 percent conversion rate is actually pretty good. So, starting off though, when I actually got into sales, I was pretty uncomfortable with that. Because I thought, well, if I’m talking to people, and half of them are saying no to me and rejecting me, well that’s, you know, that’s not exactly the most comfortable place to be, especially for someone as introverted as I was. So it kind of took me a little while to get over the fact that people are going to come up with objections.
People are going to say no, but how do we handle that to maximize the amount of people coming through and actually working with us, rather than figuring out if it’s a real objection, or if it’s not, and everything like that.
So, do you think that would be a good place to start?
Reducing objections before they happen
James: Absolutely. I think this is a huge subject when it comes to the topic of selling. I have a sales background, it’s something I’m very familiar with. I think part of the solution to getting a great closing ratio, which is the measurement they call it (I do hate the word closing). And, you know, I don’t love the idea of objection handling, because a lot of the sales material that I studied taught that most sales objections are introduced by the selling person, and that if you do your job correctly with investigation, you can actually reduce a lot of objections before they even happen, so I imagine I’d always be looking to targeting. If you’re getting a high amount of objections, I’d be wondering if we’re approaching the right people to start with. Is that part of the solution?
“Most sales objections are introduced by the selling person.”
Will: Yeah, definitely. So I mean, I think there’s a lot of training out there, and I had to go through a whole bunch of these when I first started, too. They kind of focus more on how do you get people to to say yes when they would have said no. But for me, that was really uncomfortable. And I think the way that I kind of approach it is, so I’m going to take a take a bit of an analogy from sports. And I trained a lot of Brazilian jiu jitsu. So one of the things that you always find is, before you actually get submitted, or someone puts a move on you, there’s generally a whole process getting up to that point. So there’s no point to fiddle with the last action where you’ve kind of gone down the wrong path and you’ve made the wrong decisions the whole way through or five steps beforehand.
So I kind of feel like that’s similar in the sales process, whereby sometimes when you come up with objections, it’s not that it’s immediate objection that we’ve got to deal with, but it’s somewhere down the track, whether it’s the targeting, whether it’s just not making it about them and not understanding enough about why they’re even speaking to us, that kind of snowballs. And by the end, you know, they’re just throwing up objections, just because they don’t want to work with you or there’s not enough trust. It’s generally something like that, and it hasn’t been set up properly rather than all these defined, you know it’s pricing or something like this. It’s generally a whole process that’s gone wrong rather than the very last step when you’re actually asking for the close.
James: Yeah, I absolutely agree with that a hundred percent. There’s not going to be a magical 71-step, objection handling, tricky defense if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s too late. You’re caught in the alley with someone wielding a knife. You shouldn’t have gone down there in first place. So I guess getting on the right path sounds like what you’re saying here.
Will: Yeah, it definitely is. And I mean, there’s indicators and signs, right? Because the thing is, we’re not going to win every single… and I use win in terms of, it’s not like us against them, but it’s actually getting the sale. It’s not like we’re going to get 100 percent of every single lead that comes through to turn into a client. But the objections that they give us at the end of the process, that’s a really good indicator for what went wrong earlier in the piece.
So just because, we say, hey, you’ve made a mistake five steps beforehand, it doesn’t mean we can’t use the feedback that we get at the very end, or the objection, to kind of direct us back in and look at it with some hindsight and say, hey, because I said this, I think this is where I actually went wrong.
Two main objections
And generally, what we look at as well is, there’s a few main objections that people kind of stumble with. There’s the pricing objection, there’s the objection where they’re going to talk to someone else. And it’s all really good indicators of where you’ve gone wrong, whether it’s you haven’t set up enough trust in the relationship for them to come along and say, hey, look, I trust that you know what you’re doing, that you can take me from where I am to where I want to go, or something else. Or it’s just that you’ve got the wrong product. There’s a lot of data and there’s a lot of learnings that we can take from the objections. So it’s not something that we have to fear. It’s something that we’ve got to take on board and use to kind of get better with the process and going forward.
James: Okay, so you mentioned the the top ones you hear are pricing objection and talking to someone else. These ones I’m certainly familiar with, having heard these ones a couple of times before.
Will: Just a few.
James: How do you handle these?
Will: So, the way that I look at it, and obviously every sales interaction is going to be different. But if I get the objection, hey, the price isn’t right, for me, that’s a sign of I haven’t built enough trust into the relationship, I haven’t conveyed what I can do for them properly, and I haven’t gotten them to be confident in myself, in my company and what I say. So rather than trying to come back in and say “Hey, look, I can lower my price,” which is something I really recommend against doing, because it’s just the wrong thing to do. You don’t want to be lowering your price to try and get as many people on board as possible, because you get the wrong customers, but if it’s genuinely a good fit, and you believe that you can work with them and they come up with a price objection, well, what is it about the price that they’re not sure about?
So I think that’s a really good indicator of looking at how you’re pitching it, how you’ve tailored your product and or solution to what you can help them with, and then coming back and saying, “Look, I understand, I think this is what the main issue is. And here’s how we guarantee that you’re getting the value for the price.” Because it’s never an objection on the pricing, right? If I said to someone, “Hey, I’m going to make you a million dollars and I’m only going to charge you $100,000 for that,” most people in the world would take the deal over and over again. So it really is about more the value than the price that they’re, actually objecting to.
“People aren’t buying money, they’re buying a result.”
James: Yeah, so a couple of points there. People aren’t buying money, they’re buying a result. And they have to see that it’s going to offset that. So you’re using the strategy of refining the price. You’re isolating this objection. So if price is the objection, what is it about the price that, you know, do they even know how to be able to answer that? Do they know why they’re not feeling trust? Can they actually articulate that?
Will: It’s always a little bit, I mean, it’s hard to be asking the lead directly, “Hey, what is it about the price that’s kind of upsetting you? Right? Because for a lot of them, it’s just a gut feeling. So they won’t even know. “Well, I’m just not sure. Because you said this, and it’s leading to this.” Most people that we talk to, they hear the price and they go, “Ooh, can I afford that?” Or, “What’s the return on investment that I’m looking for versus the risk?” And it all happens within a split second. They can take some time around it, and you will often get people who come back to you and say, “Look, I just need to think about this.” But generally, once they hear the price, it’s a gut reaction to it. So if you’re getting that objection over and over again, maybe it’s something to do with your sales process where you’ve got to come back and really convey the value a bit better. You know, can you anchor the real price to what value you can give in their business?
Anchoring the price
So throughout the process, have you come back and said, “Hey, here’s what we’re going to do. If we hit our targets, if we do what we said we’re going to do, here’s how much we’re going to generate for your business. And the flip side of that, all I’m asking for is this.” So have you done enough of the price anchoring, we call it to, to kind of get around that, or is it something that you have to do, going forward, a little bit better?
James: Right. When you say price anchoring, we should probably extrapolate that. That means making the price seem relatively low compared to the result they’re getting?
Will: Yes. So I’ll be the first to say, I’ve just made up a lot of these because for me, it was just an easy way to remember what were we doing, because I came from a background that I wasn’t so familiar with sales. So when I say price anchoring, there’s kind of two different sides to it. One which is, just really anchoring the value, the price of the value, and showing them the return on investment or potential return. The other one as well is price anchoring as a positioning play. So that’s something that we can talk about a little bit later as well in terms of, you know, people objecting to the price because it’s too low and anchoring the price in the right range. So there’s kind of two different definitions.
James: Okay. Interesting.
“Discount could be seen as a financial apology.”
I also like that you took responsibility. It’s like your default position is, if they can’t say yes, then it must be something that you have done and that you can change. I think a lot of sales people tend to blame the customer. I’ve seen this running a sales team. There’ll always be one of the salespeople who says it’s a bad market, or the product sucks. They’ll have every excuse other than they didn’t do a terrific job of investigating the customer’s needs and diagnosing the right solution.
And I also like that you’re retaining price integrity rather than using a crutch like a discount. Because discount could be seen as a financial apology, that’s like a concession because your product or service isn’t as good as you say it is, so therefore you need to take money off it. And you know, giving away money is generally not a long term profit strategy that works. And when I was selling at Mercedes-Benz, for many years, we weren’t allowed to give any money off the car. So we had to actually figure out other ways to make a sale, other than discounts, which is unusual in the car industry. They’re quite known for discounting. In fact, they even run full page ads telling everyone that they will beat any deal. You know, they’re their own worst enemy in terms of price anchoring or positioning. They have positioned themselves into the worst possible place in the market.
Now, one thing that I realized was the difference between a new vehicle or a used vehicle. When it came to a used vehicle, you could start differentiating it, because it started to be one of a kind. It was the only one of that color and those kilometers with that history. And when you’re selling what you sell, I imagine the client could start taking that position too. There’s probably a lot less competition than what there is for a new car. There’s probably very few William Wangs, for example, with an agency, who can handle getting leads. But I’m sure the conversation we’re having at the moment is talking a lot from the customer’s perspective. You’ve done your job to get the phone ringing or the email response as an agency, and now it’s up to the customer to make that sale. Is that how it works?
Will: Yeah, it is. And there’s so many great points that we can just break down now there as well. Because yes, there’s, there’s a lot of position plays that we can talk about, and, you know, there’s an element as well of whose responsibility it is as well. So that’s such a big point. And it comes through with a lot of the sales team that that we talk to as well. So, you often hear things like, hey, the leads went great, but really, it’s understanding how it all fits together. So that was awesome. And there’s a whole bunch to break down.
Are there really tire-kickers?
So from my perspective, so we’ll start with one thing at a time, because I’m really bad at multitasking. The first one that you brought up was, you know, what do we do about people who come through and say that, you know, this and that isn’t working or the marketing isn’t working or the product isn’t working. So one thing that we’ve got to understand is, now of course there are good leads and there’s leads that aren’t great, but generally, if someone’s come through and reached out to us, or left their details for us to follow up, there’s some interest in there.
So one of the terms that gets thrown around really loosely, and I’m not a big fan of it, is leads who are tire-kickers. If someone’s going out of their way and actually going out there and actually reached out to your list or left their details, generally they’ve got some level of interest, and it’s up to the person on the phone or shaking their hand in the meeting to find out why exactly they’ve done that and to qualify them into the process. So I don’t think anyone is actually, you know, a tire-kicker. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never left my leads or left my details, rather, with a company to follow me up, unless there was some real reason behind it. I mean, it’s not something that people do just for fun.
James: Yeah, you’re presuming you’re not approaching people who don’t want to be approached. If someone’s given their details, then there’s something about that offer that has made the prospect feel that they will be better off. That’s my whole definition of selling, which I’m pretty sure came from SPIN Selling, that a sale is the process of change from one situation to a better alternative situation. So the whole point is to create the environment where the prospect feels they will be better off for moving forward. And in this case, they’ve given you details to follow up because they’re interested in what comes next. So you’ve got that forward momentum, and if you’ve targeted correctly and the promise’s not hypey, like if it’s actually real, as opposed to what you would see in the Fyre documentary on Netflix, which is an outstanding documentary. So you’re in this position now where things are moving forward. So there has to be some kernel of interest from the client so that it’s how you work it, I suppose.
Will: Yeah, exactly. And I think a really great book on this matter as well is one from from Perry Marshall, which is the 80/20 Sales and Marketing. So what we’d like to do is, we like to go through and qualify leads as much as possible. And look, when I use terms like this, again, I’m coming from, you know, we think about the client first, but as an industry term, it’s always good to qualify leads that you want to work the most. Because some people, even though they’ve got interest and they come through, we’re definitely not going to treat them as as tire-kickers or anything like that, but they’re just not ready yet to go through to the next step of the buying process. So with those ones, we’ve got to figure out really quickly, is it the right time for a phone call? Is it the right time for a close? Or should we give them some more information and build that relationship a little bit further until we can get to the point where they’re more likely to be to be receptive to us making them an offer?
Mercedes-Benz versus Toyota
So the other point that I wanted to touch on, James, which you brought up as well, was the example of, you know, selling a car like a Mercedes-Benz versus a car like a Toyota, which I think was a really good analogy.
James: Well, Lexus certainly tried to pitch into the Mercedes market, which is the Toyota brand specifically designed for America. It actually stands for luxury export US. So it’s a pretty good branding job. And I think they’ve actually gone well in the US market, but not so much in Australia.
Will: Yeah, I didn’t actually know that about Lexus. That’s pretty cool.
James: I don’t think many people do. When we were selling Mercedes-Benz, it was good to know that, and it did change the positioning on how a customer might have felt about the product after becoming aware of that,
Will: Yeah. And I think, look, the car industry as well is a really good example of how you can do pricing, how you can drive, not scarcity so much, but how you can get people to take action fairly quickly without having to discount. So the best examples I look at is a company like Mercedes or Ferrari, Lamborghini, I think the high-end car retailers kind of know that, you know, what they’re selling, it’s not as much related to price as, say, a Ford or a Toyota or one of those cars.
So what we want to be doing is thinking, even if we’re in a market that’s very competitive, how can we be at the premium end of the market and how can we sell like, for example, a Ferrari, where we might not be giving discounts because we believe in the product, we believe in what the product stands for, and we’ll back it 100 percent. But maybe we can put in things like a bonus here or there, where we put in new accessories, or we give them an amount that we can spend towards the car, and how can we use bonuses or other strategic offers to get them to come on board and and to get them to make a decision a little bit faster rather than having them come through and just trying to discount on price and anchoring the price in the wrong direction.
Modifying the package
James: Yeah. I remember a great story I heard in one sales training reference. I can’t recall, it might have been Brian Tracy, but it was about a gardener, a landscape gardener quoting on a job, and the client said it was too much. And then the gardener suggested, well, if we use less mature trees, then we could fit it to that budget that you have. So it might be modifying the package as well, to make it fit the customer’s budget, but it’s not providing the same thing for the lower amount. So it’s basically moving the goalposts a little bit, might be that technique. If they’re moving the goalposts, you could move the deliverable posts to match.
Will: Yeah, I think that’s a great point, and it’s something that you’ve actually really helped me with, James, as well because the ideas that you’ve got and the way that you position your offers, it makes it really easy for someone to come on board and to look at what level they’re comfortable with. And what kind of service and offer we can provide that resonates with that person that we’re speaking to.
So by having multiple offers, that’s one way that we can get around that price objection as well. So coming back full circle to what you were talking about. But even just understanding what we can do for what pricing and what our own profit point is, or what our numbers are, I think that’s a really good way to kind of bring it around and ultimately show that we’ve got value to the market and that we believe in what we’re doing, and then match what we’ve got to what the leads or the clients are actually wanting.
“I need to talk to my spouse/partner.”
James: Right. So another one that you mentioned is, they have to talk to someone else. So we’ve had a pretty good go at the pricing objection to start with. And gosh, it’s such a deep topic. I could actually write a book on this entire topic of selling. I’m in the gradual process over years documenting this.
But for now, let’s talk about, they want to talk to someone else. Again, it’s quite a common one. I used to hear this all the time – “I’ve got to check with the accountant/wife/business partner…” Basically someone who’s not there. And I learned from a friend of mine that people who sell home improvements, like roller shutters, etc., they won’t visit the house unless both decision makers are there. That was a pretty cool idea, to make sure that all decision makers are present.
When I was developing the sales checklist for Mercedes-Benz’s sales process, one of the questions was, who is the vehicle for? And sometimes, it wasn’t even the person sitting in front of you. So that’s good to know upfront.
Will: Yeah. So that kind of goes back to the point that we made about, you know, really understanding the process and making sure that before we even begin the process of pitching, that we know who it is that we’re actually speaking to. And, you know, this is one of the objections that I had the most issues with. When I first started, I would just say, Yep, okay, no problem, go and speak to your business partner, go and speak to your wife, that’s fine. And, you know, just come back to me when you’re actually ready.
But what I’ve since learned is that it’s kind of code for saying, look, everything sounds okay. But I just need someone else to verify, because I’m still not 100 percent on board with with this and I just want to make sure that my opinion, or there’s no chance or limited chance of making a mistake by making a decision right now, which I actually get as well.
And you’ve got to understand and use a gut feeling around this, because some people that I’ve found are just more logical, and they need the time to process it, and do need to think about it and talk about it with someone else. And people do have business partners that they need to consult on this. So there’s a lot of training out there which for me, didn’t quite resonate, where it’s like, how do we turn it around? How do we get them to make a call right now? But I just felt, for me, it was more respectful to say, okay, absolutely, that’s fine. You know, go and talk to the person you need to talk to, because I want you to be comfortable with this process and with this long-term relationship we’ve got.
And what I do is, yes, I definitely want the other person on the phone as well, Because if they’re just conveying what we’re saying, or the pitch I’ve just done, there’s going to be something that they kind of missed, that’s really crucial to closing the sale. So rather than let them go off and just talk to someone else and just convey the wrong message, I’d say look, I hundred percent respect your decision. I actually kind of like it, because I want you and your business partner or your wife, your husband, to be really comfortable with the process. But why don’t we do this? Why don’t we just check in with them on the phone together? It’s only going to take 15 minutes to half an hour max, if you’ve got a whole bunch of questions. But why don’t we come back and let me explain it so I can, you know, justify what we’re doing and explain it the right way so they understand too what we’re going for and what we’re aiming to do.
So if you do it that way, hopefully both of them come on side and you get to go through again and kind of explain, you know, why you think you are you’re actually a good fit for the lead or the client.
James: I guess it’s a balance between knowing if you’re getting fed a story or not. That’s why if you can find out who the decision makers are early, that would help you present for the decision maker. if you’re dealing with a messenger, it’s good to package up the message for the person who’s making the decision, rather than just the message sender.
And the sales model that I liked catered for this quite well. It had four stages of a sale, which was the opening, and then the investigation, then there’s demonstrate capability, and then the final stage was obtain commitment. Now, commitment doesn’t mean they have to buy right now, on the spot. It might be that the commitment is that they go through their review process and then you have a follow up. It might be that you have an appointment with the eventual decision maker.
There’s plenty of things that you can do to assist this. But if you’ve done your job well, and you’ve created an environment where the customer feels they’ll be better off for moving forward, then the sale will often happen because the customer asks you how they can pay for it, or when can they start. These are all the good sort of signs that you’re looking for.
And if you have more than one salesperson in your business, which I would recommend, you can at least benchmark and find out what sort of appropriate ratios you can expect. I imagine when you’re dealing with leads in the lead generation business, Will, you’d be sending off leads to different companies, and some of them will close all of them and some of them will close none of them. And then there’ll be other ones in between with the similar quality of lead because of the way that, you know, their sales capability and their methodology will be increasing or decreasing their chances of a conversion.
Will: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it all comes back to process and systems and how their staff have been trained and if they can follow the process as closely as possible.
Where it all fits in lead nurturing
James: Nice. Well, we’ve covered the main two objections, pricing objection and talking to someone else when it comes to handling objections. Where does this fit into the overall scheme of the lead nurturing? And perhaps we’ll continue on this discussion on our next episode.
Will: Yeah. So objections for me, it’s just one small part of the process of turning a lead into a client. So, so far we’ve covered the process at a very high level that we look at. So that includes the cold emails, the first phone call to, you know, that discovery phone call, then the pitch process. So the objections, kind of, it goes throughout. We’ve got to think about it early on, but don’t give too much emphasis on it until you’re at the point where you know you’re actually moving that relationship forward.
So the most important thing, for me anyway, is objection ties into how we nurture a lead, because some people just won’t be ready. But how can we get through and get their objections, then use it to talk to them and keep building that relationship to move them into a client in the future?
James: Right. So what’s your advice here?
Understand the objections
Will: So understand the objections. You are going to get objections, they are going to be coming up. So just try and use them and improve yourself going forward. Don’t be afraid of them, because you can feel bad about how you didn’t close that sale, but view it objectively and use it as data to improve yourself, to improve your business, and also improve the product and how it fits into the market.
“Use objections as data to improve yourself, your business, and also the product.”
James: Perfect. So whatever people are saying, like, document it and see if you can reengineer your process to remove or eliminate the objection so that it’s no longer an issue, and it could be a case of adding more proof, it could be a case of explaining yourself better, it could be a case of improving your positioning. You might need to create more data to understand what choices your customers have, other than you, that they’re leaning towards, as in the case, when we knew our competitors back to front, and we could insulate against them like a live wire, you know, we can put out a nice space in between us and and our competitors with an appropriate bit of product information.
So Will, really great. Give us a shout out, where can we go and get some help if we want some help to generate leads for our business with your agency?
Will: Sure. So the best way to do that would be to turn up to my website, which is GrowthLabz.com. And if they just use the contact form there, the email will come through to me or someone on my team. And we can just, as much as we can help you with information or even jumping on a call to discuss how you should tailor the sales process or the lead generation process, what they have to do. So, for the people listening to the podcast.
James: Perfect. There you go. That’s William Wang, and this is Episode 631, Lead Nurturing and Handling Objections. If you’re listening to this in Apple, it’d be great to leave a review on the iTunes there. Thanks so much for joining us, Will, and we’ll catch you on our next episode.
Will: Awesome. Thanks, mate.
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