Sales Insights January/February 2021

August 18th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

The S.A.L.E.S. System: From Objection to Close

By Dave Yoho

A price objection is a statement by your prospect that he or she needs to know more before making a purchase. We believe these objections are a sign of interest. However, an objection doesn’t usually come out sounding like a polite request for additional information. As such, it’s important to remember that, when they do arise, they’re usually sincere and will delay a purchase until the objection is resolved.

Unfortunately, price objections are also the most misunderstood statements a prospect makes. For this reason, average salespeople view them as obstacles to a sale and fail to accept responsibility for the end result, whereas a professional sees objections as pathways to a sale, typically selling more than their counterparts. There is a saying in our industry: “A customer will continue to shop around until they encounter a strong salesperson.”

Handling objections can either be made easier or more difficult, depending on how well you’ve convinced your customer through the following:
• Confidence in what you are presenting and your control of the sales process;
• Knowledge of the industry, your company and its products and services;
• Preparation demonstrated by a professional presentation;
• Their need and desire for your product (which is defined by the quality of your presentation); and
• Your ability to listen to their needs, wants and desires, while demonstrating empathy and understanding.

Your confidence, knowledge and ability to maintain rapport is critical. Leave any of these components out and the close will become more difficult or has the potential to be perceived as “high pressure.” In this case, the customer will feel like they are being sold instead of being put in a position to buy. If you handle objections by using a structured system, you increase your chances of selling more contracts.

S.A.L.E.S. is an acronym that stands for:

Silence: This is the first step in handling your prospect’s objection. Pause for four to six seconds after they state an excuse or objection. Remaining silent gives you time to think about what you just heard and—most importantly—the customer might begin talking again, solving their own objection.

Affirm: After you pause, affirm by saying, “I understand” or “I appreciate your concerns.” Affirmations frequently disarm your prospect because most customers are expecting an argument or a defensive rebuttal. By pausing, listening and affirming, you put yourself in the place of your prospect, showing empathy.

Layer: Asking, “Why is that?” or “Why do you feel that way?” provides another layer of communication. In many cases, this will lead you closer to uncovering critical information about how the prospect feels.

Eliminate: Once they have given you the next layer, isolate and eliminate that objection to avoid another from being raised, by asking, “Other than that, is there anything else standing in the way of you owning and enjoying these [doors and/or windows]?”

Solve: This is where it is up to you as the sales professional to deal with their answer. Was it money, timing or a deposit? There is rarely an objection of any kind that can’t be overcome by the S.A.L.E.S. method for closing.

By understanding objections and utilizing a system to isolate what’s standing in the way, you will better position yourself to sell the “one more” deal you’re not getting.

Dave Yoho is president of business consulting firm Dave Yoho Associates.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.


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