How to handle the buyer’s concerns?
S: What should we do with the buyer’s objections or concerns?
T: When the buyer objects, it is a form of expression of his own concern. He fears that due to buying the goods on the seller’s terms he might incur some unacceptable trouble.
He expresses these concerns in a way that demonstrates to the seller that his terms are not suitable to the buyer. Also, he expects the seller would deviate from his terms and make some concessions. He expects that the seller meets the buyer’s wishes, and then the buyer can decide on the purchase.
For example, if the buyer says, “your product is too expensive,” he expects the seller to reduce the price. If the buyer says, “I take too much risk by buying your product,” he expects the seller to share this risk, for example, agree to a deferred payment, say, Net-30. If the buyer says, “your product looks ugly,” he wants the seller to give the product a “marketable” look at his own expense. As you could see, all concessions are at the seller’s expense and in favor of the buyer.
However, the expected concession is just one way to avoid the threat. Other solutions are possible if you know what kind of trouble the buyer fears. If you do not know that, you are limited to either ceding or fooling the buyer so that he abandons his fear. Both ways are bad.
S: How could you know what kind of trouble a buyer might face if he decides to buy a product?
T: Let’s state this question differently, “Who knows better than anyone what kind of trouble is faced?” Of course, the buyer does. Let’s ask him.
What answer do we need? If the buyer says that the product is too expensive and so he should spend too much money, this is not what we need to hear. “Spending too much money” is not a trouble, but rather the lead-up to it. What happens to the buyer or to his business afterwards, when he spends too much money? Not any answer should be accepted. Trouble is what will happen to the buyer or his company if he buys your product and his fear comes true.
What should we do next with this knowledge? We know that the trouble is a consequence of the buyer’s fear coming true because he decided to buy your product. Fear is connected with trouble by a logical chain of events. In order to avoid trouble you need to break this chain of events, prevent one or more events comprising this chain. If these events do not happen, the trouble would not happen, either.
Two stages of handling the concern
S: Now that we know that every concern hides a trouble, and this trouble could be avoided. What does this knowledge give us?
T: This knowledge allows us to divide the process of handling the concern into two steps: identify the threat and prevent it.
At each of these stages, we recommend using the appropriate algorithm. Here, the seller works as a facilitator to help the buyer sort out his fears and avoid threats.
Algorithm for identifying the troubles produces a list of fears and troubles. Next, you should start looking for ways to avoid the threats included in this list.
To do that, we use the Algorithm for preventing the trouble. Here is its meaning:
Trouble arises as a consequence of the fear realization. It means that the fear is connected to a trouble by a certain logical link that could be represented as a chain of events. The buyer knows this chain of events, because in his head the trouble is a consequence of fear. He can relate the story of how the realization of fear will lead to trouble. This story could be divided into separate simple phrases that describe the events.
If at least one event is prevented, the connection between fear and trouble is broken and the trouble does not happen. To find a way to prevent trouble, you need to think how to prevent each event and then combine these thoughts into a solution. You should then help the buyer to make this solution realistic by using the features of your product. Then the prevention of trouble is uniquely associated with the purchase of your product.
The seller’s task is to help the buyer finding such a solution. For this purpose, the seller asks the buyer questions and carefully records his answers.