5 Common Customer Objections: How to Handle Them and Strategies to Win
Customer objections are an unavoidable part of selling. While many sales reps think of customer objections as rejection, they are really a request for more information. Successful sales reps view objections as an opportunity to provide customers with thoughtful responses to alleviate concerns, change minds, and win customers.
When a customer states an objection in reality it typically:
- Signifies customer interest
- Indicates the customer doesn’t have adequate information
- Signals customers require convincing and need reassurance
- Illustrates customers’ fear of risk and change
- Provides opportunity to learn from feedback
- Tells what a customer thinks about a product and company
Overcoming sales objections is critical to the success of any printing company. It is important for sales reps to consider objections as opportunities. Through objections, the prospect is participating in the sale by telling the rep something, either through thoughts or actions. Objections are a road map that present sales reps with directions for tailoring sales messages to meet the prospect’s need.
Recently, Larry Vaughn, strategic accounts manager at Thomas Printworks and Theresa Cloutier, SVP, marketing and customer experience at DMM, Inc. joined me for a Printing Impressions/In-plant Impressions webinar titled Handling Objections: Strategies to Win.
This webinar highlighted the most common sales objections that print sales reps encounter and ways to overcome them. The content was based on a Canon thINK sponsored NAPCO Research survey of more than 1,000 marketers as well as in-depth telephone interviews with print service providers. Vaughn and Cloutier offered the strategies their companies use to convert the following common objections into sales.
1. I don’t see the value in print. Vaughn addressed this by highlighting research from NAPCO Research, the USPS, and Clutch to validate that when consumers look at buying something, print is memorable, trusted, influential, targeted, and can yield a good response. Vaughn said, “While some organizations may doubt the results print can deliver, it remains an integral part of many organizations’ media mix and it is important to continually call attention to its successful use.”
2. Print and mail is too expensive; digital channels are better and budgets are tight. Vaughn acknowledged, “Price is always a top issue with buyers. All too often, salespeople take price objections at face value. Just because a buyer gives you a price objection doesn’t mean your price is too high. It most likely means that you have not effectively established the value in the mind of the buyer.” Vaughn continued, “What you need to demonstrate when you encounter this objection, are strategies with print in the mix that help customers make money, save money, time or effort, increase prestige, or deliver improved response rates or ROI. Establishing at least one of those things is the beginning of the business case that explains why you are the right person and your company is the right company.”
3. Print is not measurable. When discussing the measurability of print, Cloutier said, “Print is measurable and ensuring that marketers understand the ROI it delivers starts with understanding the customer’s objectives. Based on customer requirements, print materials can include promotional codes, a custom URL, and calls to action (such as “mail in this form” or “call this number”) that are very trackable.”
4. Print is not engaging. Cloutier provided a number of examples of how to integrate print with digital channels. She highlighted, that printed direct mail is one of the key applications that marketers often combine with digital media to boost engagement. She provided several examples of how marketers are layering direct mail into multi-channel experiences:
- Direct mail sent to customers abandoning shopping carts with a discount or offer that directly references their abandoned items.
- Direct mail to deliver calls to action that lead back to digital properties.
- Target customers who haven’t created online accounts to encourage them to do so.
- Remind offline-only customers of an organization’s online offers and properties.
- Drive online customers to local events and community building projects by sending tickets to their homes
- Send a physical welcome kit to customers to solidify the relationship.
- Mail gifts to customers as a thank you or to prompt them to take an action like adding missing account data.
5. Personalization has no impact; we don’t see an ROI or lift as a result of personalization. Cloutier shared insight from the Canon thINK research project indicating that personalization is assuming more importance because marketing executives are seeing impact. She reported that 82% of survey respondents indicated that personalized communications increased response. Even more importantly, Cloutier explained that 70% of those respondents experienced a double digit increase in response rates.
The Bottom Line
Salespeople need to develop a positive attitude toward objections so that they truly welcome them. Real objections are gifts. Prospects are giving sales reps precisely what they need to address, in order to keep deals moving forward. Without them, sales staff are selling in the dark, hoping things work out. However, in sales, hope is not a strategy. Objections are a vital tool to help guide sales conversations. Handling them effectively will often be the deciding factor in winning or losing a deal.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, 585-734-2228)