BOLD - Unfazed enough to overturn objections into opportunities for value creation

BOLD - Unfazed enough to overturn objections into opportunities for value creation

“Now I request our Comeback Kid to share his story” said Sarin, CEO of Omega Chemicals “Suraj, youR turn”

“Thank you so much Sir” began sales newbie Suraj

Last month, I got a call from Oreon Synthetics to come to their office. Unusual, I thought. No Customer wants meetings in this Covid season. So why this call then? And this is a Customer who buys 10 crore annually from us. Their procurement thinks the world of us, they are happy with our products and the value we’re delivering for them. Last year, had been particularly good. We had sold 1.2x of our targeted number.

I reach their office and the purchase officer who regularly liaises with me meets me in the corridor. Smiling nervously, she lowers her voice to a whisper “Our company is merging with Metron Polymers. We have a new procurement head now. Come, I will introduce her to you”. I step into the cabin and the new procurement boss gives me a stiff, formal smile “Happy to meet you Suraj. I wanted to share this information with you in person, which is why we called you over. Our company has a regular supplier who supplies chemical additives. I think it makes a lot of sense for us to buy centrally for Oreon’s requirements also from the same supplier. So I’m not sure whether we can continue to buy from your company”

It was a horrible shock. A part of me felt angry and hurt. That sinking feeling. I gathered myself together in a moment saying to myself “Ok, Suraj. This is the worst it can get. Face it”. I took a deep breath, acknowledging the reality I was in. I took an involuntary sip from the glass of water before me, with an eddy of thoughts swirling within. Let me forget my woes for a minute, I thought, let me see this through the Customer’s lens. How will life change for this new Procurement Boss, after this switch? That thought brought a fresh surge of energy.

Keeping my cool I told her “Thank you for calling me over to communicate this. I know that the deal we worked out for Oreon is very special, in terms of price, quality and delivery. It lets Oreon operate with optimum inventories. Once I get back to my office, I can share a one-pager of the value delivered by the package we put together for Oreon. If I may suggest Madam, it might be worthwhile to check the cost impact of the proposed switch. When I said this, she looked a little uncertain.

She said, “Alright, send me the one-pager. But I can’t promise we will change our mind” . She gave me a quizzical look, as if checking to read my reactions. I remained cool and composed, just as I was, when I had walked in. I remembered Sarin Sir telling us in our orientation – “Be prepared for the worst, and do your best”. I did just that.

I came back to office, put all my heart into that one-pager quantifying every single benefit we had extended to Oreon. I shot it off the same day. A week later, I got a call from Oreon’s office. “Suraj, we are thinking of taking a fresh look at our decision. We may go with you provided you clarify a few issues that our vendor approval team has. Also could you give us a tentative quote on a few other chemical additives that our central unit needs”

“So”, said CEO Sareen “that’s how Suraj, our Comeback Kid turned a possible defeat into a victory. In sales fortune favours the bold. If Suraj had meekly accepted that “No” and did nothing about it, we would have been down by 10 crores”

To most salespeople nightmare is a word that begins with an ‘O’. Don’t we all wish for smooth-as-breeze sales with no objections?

Objections, as sales thought leaders never tire of telling us, are opportunities to create value. When you are anxious to make a sale or clinch a closure, every little question or doubt the Customer raises seems to loom like a large cloud ready to rain on your happiness. But if on the other hand, like committed sales professionals, you operate from the conviction that selling is all about helping Customer uncover value, you feel a surge of boldness to calmly listen to the Customer’s objection and address it convincingly.

How do sales veterans handle objections?

They build their sales six-packs for resilience in 6 bold steps:

  1. Make peace with objections - Recognize objections are a natural part of selling and be ready for them
  2. Anticipate and preempt - Think through effective scripts to convincingly handle every possible objection
  3. Stay positive - Focus on positives to establish value created
  4. See the objection for what it is - It could be a request for more information or a condition that the buyer wants to negotiate with you or it could be a factual position that needs clarification
  5. Listen - Invest your entire self in listening for objections you don’t hear and objections you can’t answer readily
  6. Meet the objection – Respond by improvising on your script or customizing something special for the client

Objections are often seen as stumbling blocks. Handled boldly, they can be turned into opportunities for value creation

Action Question:  What are the top 2 objections that drain you out? How can you be bold enough to overturn them to discover opportunities for creating Customer value?

Related Reading: Mercuri InEssence document Strategies to bust objections before they stall sales

About the series: This is the 50th in a series of 100 Posts that purport to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


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