Dialogue 4. Why Does the Buyer Object?
The question was asked during classes with sellers.
Where Do the Objections Come from?
Student: Why do the buyers object almost all the time if they want to buy a product?
Trainer: Something bothers them. If they were happy with everything, they would not object.
S: Is it impossible to come up with such a marketing message that suits everyone completely?
T: What is your shoe size?
S: Seven. So what?
T: What is the shoe size of your neighbor?
T: Are shoes of size ten good for you?
S: Too big, but if there is nothing else, I can wear it.
T: What about shoes of size seven to your neighbor?
S: It is unlikely that he could even put these shoes on.
T: You see, there is no “one size fits all.” Same with marketing messages: people have their own situations, their own circumstances, and there is no such “single message for everyone.” There is always something that does not suit everyone. Therefore, people object.
S: What could be done to get rid of objections?
T: Let's ask another question: do we need to get rid of them? Are they so bad?
S: Of course, they are bad! If the buyer objects, then he does not want to buy! What good is that?
T: If the buyer objects, it means that he would like to buy, but he is not satisfied with some terms. If he doesn’t want to buy, he would just leave. But if he doesn’t leave and objects, it means, “I want it but there is something wrong.” Experienced sellers handle these objections and sell the goods. An objection does not mean at all that the buyer does not want to buy. He simply sees some kind of obstacle hindering the purchase and informs the seller about it.
How to Handle Objections?
S: How should we handle an objection?
T: The generally accepted principles of sales recommend three basic ways: ridicule, bribery or deceit.
T: No, they don’t say it overtly. I just aggravate it, call a spade a spade. Suppose you are a buyer, and I am a seller. I sell you the car of your dreams, and I want a real price for it. You have this amount of money, but this is everything you have until the end of the month. It is clear that you cannot pay it to me, but I want all the money right now. You cannot get up and leave. This is the car of your dreams, and it is in excellent condition. What would you tell me?
S: I would say that the car is good, but you ask too much for it.
T: That's it. Please, note that you did not tell me that this is all what you have. You want to buy, but you are not happy with the price. Now, let’s see what I can do. The first thing is to get up and leave. You said you do not want to buy – do not buy. But this is a very bad response. With such attitude, I couldn’t sell this car because each buyer has some kind of objection. By the way, how do you feel about this response?
S: Probably, I am very unhappy. You sneaked the car of my dreams out from under my nose!
T: You see! And remember this forever: when you leave without handling the buyer’s objection, you leave him very unhappy. He wanted to buy goods from you, and you suddenly refused to sell! Is it clear how this happens?
S: Yes. I just never thought about it like that!
T: Next, I can try to convince you: to show you some documents confirming the price; show ads for the sale of the same machines even for a higher price. In general, there are many ways to explain to you that you are wrong when you say that my price is too high. I just make a fool of you! Will these arguments answer your objection? You really don’t care how much I get for this car, you care more about surviving until the end of this month! So, all my good reasons will be just a blah-blah-blah. And if you agree to buy my car at a “fair” price, your problem will still remain unsolved: how to survive, how to pay for registration and insurance, how to buy gas for your car, and so on. Even after purchasing the car of your dreams, you are not satisfied, right?
S: Probably so.
T: Another response to your objection is a concession. You know roughly how much money you need to pay for insurance and registration, for gasoline, for food, etc. How much you need to survive till your next paycheck. If I reduce the price for that amount, you are satisfied, right?
S: Of course! Then I will get my dream car, and I will not have any problems with money. Why is this bad?
T: From the point of view of the buyer, everything is fine. But how is it from the point of view of the seller? It turns out that he pays all the buyer’s expenses from his pocket. Why on earth should he do that?
S: No, well, if you look at it like that - of course, you should not pay my expenses.
T: When we talk about objections, I will show you that each of them hides a secret hope for a concession. When talking about price, this hope is obvious. But a concession is always payment for the needs of the one who asks for concession from the pocket of the one who cedes. Concession is a very kind word, but its meaning is very evil: bribe or theft.
S: But not so evil as deceit?
T: It depends. The meaning of deception is to convince your brain that everything is OK while in fact everything is completely wrong! I will show you one trick of this deception, it is called “funny money.” Before telling the price, I’ll ask you: how long are you going to own this car? Remember, this is the car of your dreams!
S: At least for 10 years.
T: Every year you will drive about 12 thousand miles, this is the typical mileage.
S: Something like that!
T: The car will cost you, along with gasoline, 40 cents per mile, 5 times cheaper than burger. Very inexpensive for a dream comes true, isn’t it?
S: Yes, quite inexpensive!
T: Well, let’s shake hands! Here it is. I deceived you easily. Look: a gallon of gas costs about $2.5, it is enough for 25 miles. This means that gas consumption per mile is 10 cents. The rest is 30 cents per mile, this is the car price. In 10 years, you travel 120 thousand miles. So, the price of the car is $36,000. Is it inexpensive? That’s my point. A person, more often than not, cannot quickly count in the mind. He reacts to the small amount presented by seller and does not realize that this is not an answer to his question, “What is the price of this car?” He is deceived with funny money: 40 cents. A trifle. But this “trifle” hides the real, large amount of money.
S: And what, there are no other ways to handle the buyer’s objection?
T: The mutually accepted approach, alas, offers nothing more. There is no other way to handle the objection. I will repeat them again: refuse to sell, convince, cede or manipulate. In other words, tell buyer he can go screw, ridicule, bribe or deceive him. Now, you do understand why salesmen are so hated.
S: Why are these ways bad?
T: There is nothing bad in them if you never meet this buyer again in your lifetime. However, if you need to sell something to this buyer constantly, as often happens, it would be much better to establish a long-term relationship with him. A loyal customer is always better, right?
S: Well, yes, bosses always tell us about that: a buyer who has returned is more profitable for us than a new one.
T: But long-term relationships cannot be built without trust, right?
S: It is possible, but such relations can be destroyed at any moment.
T: Right. How could you trust a person who does not accept your point of view or is always trying to deceive you? Is it possible to trust a person who wants to profit at your expense? See, trust is a mutual feeling. The seller cannot be happy with buyer who always asks for concessions. And the buyer cannot be happy with seller who is “shoving the product down his throat” and does not care about the buyer’s needs.
S: It turns out to be a dead end, right?
T: Why? You can, after all, deal with buyers in a different way. If the mutually accepted approach does not provide for other possibilities, it does not mean that they do not exist.
Before moving on to new opportunities, I would like to discuss with you another sale option: when the buyer does not object. This would seem to be just great, right?
S: And what's wrong with that? Such a sale is the dream of any seller!
T: May be so. Or maybe not. The buyer purchases the goods without any objection, at the proposed price, on the proposed terms. He is happy, and so is the seller. But what will the seller think about just after the sale? “I miscalculated, I am such an idiot! I could have sold it for more!” It’s a shame, but you won’t get it back. Before you dream, think about it. Beware of your desires!
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