Host: Tim Martin
Episode 24: The Objection Handling Process
August 9, 2014
Welcome to Success is Voluntary, a podcast devoted to helping you become the salesperson you were always meant to be, where it’s all about helping you learn the techniques and tools that will enable you to win in the increasingly competitive world of voluntary benefits. Welcome your host, a guy who has hired and trained over 2,000 voluntary benefit salespeople in his career, Tim Martin. Success is Voluntary, selling voluntary benefits.
Tim Martin: Yes, my name is Tim Martin, and you are listening to episode number 24 of Success is Voluntary. In today’s podcast, we’re going to explore the process of handling objections, but before we get into today’s topic, I need to tell you about an exciting development. A few weeks ago, I had Steve Cunningham on the show, and the reaction from the listeners was unbelievable. If you’ll remember, Steve is the founder of Readitfor.me. At Readitfor.me, they take best-selling marketing, leadership, and personal development books and turn them into 12-minute animated videos. You know, you watch these videos on any device. There are also audio and PDF versions. They host workshops and mastermind groups, as well. At the end of our conversation, Steve made the listeners of the podcast an unbelievable offer. He agreed to discount the workshop plan’s annual subscription.
Well, you guys and gals responded in droves. Because of your response, Steve has agreed to become the official sponsor of the Success is Voluntary podcast. He offered me a very generous sponsorship deal. As flattered as I was, I wanted to make sure you, the listener, were able to benefit from the arrangement more than I was, so I asked Steve to lower the sponsorship fee he was going to pay me and use that money to lower the cost of the products and services for my subscribers. You know what? He agreed.
I’ve included a link in the show notes to the Readitfor.me free trial page. You can find today’s show notes at www.successisvoluntary.com/024, as in episode 24. Like I said, in those show notes, there is a link to the Readitfor.me free trial page. If you decide after your free trial that you want to continue, and I’m sure you will, you just need to type SIV, as in Success is Voluntary, in the coupon code before you check out. Again, that is SIV, as Success is Voluntary, and it needs to be in all capital letters.
Hey, please make sure you stick around to the end of a show, as I have an exciting announcement to make regarding how you and your whole team can win a copy of my latest e-book Disturbing Questions: Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable. All right, let’s get to today’s show.
Objections. If you’re new to sales, you probably hate the word objection. How do I know that? Because I used to. I used to get an objection and feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going down in flames! I’m going down in flames!” I thought there were sirens going off in the background, but now, not only do I no longer fear objections, I actually push my potential clients to an objection I know I can overcome.
The reason I’m doing this training today on the Success is Voluntary podcast is pretty simple. Earlier this week, I went to a training put on by a corporation about lots of different things, but they had a whole thing about answering objections. Well, the training was excellent in that they gave the agents a lot of different answers to objections, but what they didn’t teach was the process for handling objections.
Here’s the problem with that: If all you’re doing is answering an objection, you sound very argumentative, so I want to talk about…How do you go from getting an objection to closing? Because, like I said, there’s a whole process that a lot of agents aren’t taught. Most carriers do a great job of giving the answers, but they don’t give the process, so let’s get into it. The first thing we need to do is…
1. Hear it out completely. Now I know that sounds pretty basic, but it’s true. Oftentimes, the true objection is in the last few words or maybe in the last few sentences of the true objection. Besides, your mom was right: Don’t interrupt people. It’s rude to interrupt people. Not only is it rude, if you interrupt them, you might never hear what their true objection is. You think you know where it’s going because you’ve had that “objection” before, but maybe that’s not what they were saying. Make sure you listen to it completely. Don’t be rude, and don’t be silly and jump in and give them another objection that maybe they didn’t even think of.
2. Feed it back. Now this is going to sound stupid, but I promise it’s true. If their objection, “You know, Tim, I’m not sure my employees can afford it,” you need to literally say, “Well, what I hear you saying, Frank, is you’re not sure your employees can afford it.” Like I said, it sounds very simplistic, and you might think that the business owner, decision maker, will think that you’re being a little bit rudimentary, but I promise you it will give them a high level of confidence that you’re actually listening to them.
3. Agree with them. What? They’re expecting you to argue, and they have no idea what to do with it when you agree with them. It gets them completely off center, and that’s what we really need to do. If you’ve read my book Disturbing Questions: Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable, you’ll understand that the business owner is very comfortable, and they’re not going to make a change unless you get them off center. The simple of act agreeing with them actually knocks them right off center.
4. Circle the wagons. What do I mean by circle the wagons? Well, if you’re a fan of all the western shows, the settlers and the cowboys would circle up their wagons when they were under attack. They would make sure that nobody could get through. They created a barrier, and that’s what you need to do when you’re handling an objection.
What do I mean by that? Do you ever play the game Go Fish? Maybe it’s been a long time since you were a kid or you had kids and played the game Go Fish. The object is you have to get cards out of somebody else’s hand, so you ask them, “Do you have any twos?” Well, as long as they have those twos in their hand and you need them, you can’t win. It’s the same way with objections. As long as they’re holding on to an objection, you can’t close.
One of the oldest adages in sales is you must overcome all objections, spoken or not. That’s so important. Let me repeat that. You must overcome all objections, spoken or not. Here’s what I say: “Is there anything else you would be concerned about?” I’ve heard it out completely. I’ve fed it back to them. I’ve agreed with it, and now I’m going to say, “Well, other than the fact that you don’t think your employees could afford it, is there anything else that you’re concerned about?” or “Other than that, is there anything else that you could see that would prevent us from moving forward?” Now if they don’t have any further objections, now and only now is the time to…
5. Answer it. Do you see how different this is than getting the objection, “My employees can’t afford it,” and you saying, “Well, it’s really only one hour of the pay per week,” or whatever else your carrier has taught you to say? It’s completely different. You’re on completely different terms at this point, and now they’re ready to hear the answer. If all you do is jump in with the answer, not only does it seem argumentative, but you haven’t softened them up. These other things help soften them up.
This podcast isn’t about the answers. Hopefully, your carrier has given you great answers. I’m sure they have. They just don’t usually teach you this part of the process. You need to have two or three different answers for every objection you ever get. I can’t stress that enough. You can’t have just one way to overcome that objection, to answer that objection. You have to have two or three, and that’s not that hard because in most sales, there are only six or seven objections you get over and over and over again.
If that’s true, if there are seven, that means you really only have to have twenty-one answers memorized. Now if you’re brand new, that may sound like a lot, but I promise you, if you work at it, it will become second nature. Quite frankly, you’ll have one or two that are your favorite all-time-go-to ones anyway, but they don’t always work, so you need to have at least three different answers for every objection.
Now this is where it gets interesting. A lot of salespeople, “the 80 percent,” as my friend Joe Buzzello and I would like to call them, the 80 percent, that’s where they stop, and that’s why they stay in the 80 percent who share in 20 percent of the revenues. If you want to be one of the 20 percent who share in 80 percent of the commissions that are ever written by an insurance carrier, you need to get better. What you need to next is…
6. Make a transitional statement. A transitional statement is something that takes the pressure off because, once you answer it, you are putting a little pressure on that business owner. That’s okay. In fact, you need to. We need to keep them off center, so we need to put a little pressure on them, but you need to relieve that pressure very quickly. My favorite transitional statement is, “Oh, by the way…” I’ve answered it, and I go, “Oh, by the way…,” and I kind of just shift gears right there and say something almost unrelated.
Back to our example, “My employees can’t afford it.” When I finally get to the answer, I answer it, and I say something like, “Oh, by the way, we have nearly X number [let’s say 10,000] other body shops in the United States that offer this type of coverage to their employees. You probably agree that they all pay about the same, wouldn’t you? Kind of have the same type of employee, right?” Oh, by the way… is so powerful. You’re making a transitional statement. You’re providing some additional proof. Then you need to…
7. Close. If you don’t close, you’re not going to get anywhere. You might as well have skipped this whole process. Like I said, about 80 percent of salespeople just answer the objection and never reclose. Now like I said, if you really want to be good, you need to put in a transitional statement in there somewhere, as well. When you reclose, you have to push a little bit harder.
One of my favorite closes is, “Is this something you would feel best communicated in a group meeting, or would you prefer to have us meet with your employees one on one to educate them?” See, either answer, you win. Either answer, you win. How exciting is that? They say, “We would like do it one on one.” That’s a yes. They say, “We would like to do a group meeting.” That’s a yes.
Again, if you’ve done it right (you’ve circled the wagons; you’ve done everything right), there shouldn’t be any other objections that pop up at this point. I’m not saying there won’t be. I’m not saying they won’t have a stall or a condition, but there shouldn’t be.
Let’s go through this one more time. You’re going to hear it out completely. Don’t be rude. Listen to the end. You’re going to feed it back (exactly what they said). You’re going to make them feel very comfortable with you because you’re listening. You’re going to agree. This is going to blow their mind that you agree with that. You’re going to circle the wagons. “Other than that, is there anything else that you would be concerned about?”
Remember you have to overcome all objections, spoken or not. You’re going to answer it. You should have three answers for every single objection. You’re going to make a transitional statement. I start my transitional statement with “Oh, by the way…” Then you’re going to close. If you don’t re-close, you might as well have not started the process in the first place.
Why is this so important? Because in sales, you’re going to get objections. In Tom Hopkins’ book When Buyers Say No, he says, “No sale begins until the first no.” He also says that if this wasn’t the case, your job wouldn’t be necessary. My job wouldn’t be necessary. Why would we need salespeople if people never said no to us? Please don’t become an argumentative-answer person. Please learn this process. Please practice this process. Please put it into practice for yourself. I promise you you’ll see your results skyrocket.
Remember everything is voluntary, including success. Take it in your hands now. Head over to www.successisvoluntary.com, and stay up to date with all the latest tips, news, and techniques in the world of selling voluntary benefits.
Hey, I promised you an exciting announcement of how you and your whole team can win a copy of my latest book Disturbing Questions: Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable. Here’s all you have to do: You know what, I have received numerous emails and comments on the blog that many of the sales leaders for Aflac and Colonial Life (and a couple of other carriers, as well) are using this podcast as part of their Monday morning meeting.
I can’t begin to tell you how humbling that is to me, so here’s what I’m going to do: Each week I’m going to pick a sales team, name them “Sales Team of the Week,” and send them a copy of my e-book. To enter this contest, all you have to do is email me a picture of your sales team huddled around a computer showing the Success is Voluntary website. Please include a list of who is in photo and their email addresses so I can send them a link to the book.
That’s it. Pretty simple, right? In fact, it’s so simple I have my first winner already, Aflac district sales coordinator, Brandon Smith, along with his coordinators in training, Shannon Stewart, Angie Drake, and Jenny Earwood, are absolutely rocking it in Tennessee. Brandon told me that a big part of the reason that they are currently number four in their entire company for opening new accounts is that they have been listening to the Success is Voluntary podcast since it started six months ago.
Brandon also mentioned that Shannon, Angie, and Jenny are instrumental to the success of the team, and he wanted me to recognize them on the podcast. Ladies, I just want to tell you great job. Every Agent, coordinator in training, and Brandon himself will be receiving a copy of the book this week. Like I said, easy. Right? To enter, just send me a picture and a list of who is in the picture along with their email addresses. You and your team might be the winners. My email address is email@example.com.
Again, I want to thank the good folks over at Readitfor.me, Steven Cunningham and team, for being the official sponsors of Success is Voluntary. Check out a link to their website and our incredible offer at www.successisvoluntary.com/024/, as in episode 24.
Hey, I really appreciate you listening to the podcast and would love it if you would be so kind as to rate the podcast on iTunes. To do that, all you have to do is go to www.successisvoluntary.com/iTunes/ and follow the instructions. It will take you less than 30 seconds and would be a huge help to me, as it will keep this podcast toward the top of the business charts on iTunes which will help new people discover it.
I look forward to seeing you back here next week. In the meantime, don’t forget that everything you do in this business is voluntary, including success.