In almost all sales presentations, local and foreign, the buyer will have certain reservations about the company, the products and entering into an agreement with your company. In the foreign sales environment, overcoming these objections is even more difficult because of the complexity of the foreign communications and cultures involved. Some objections may prove too difficult to handle, and sometimes the buyer may just take a dislike to you (also known as “the hidden objection”).

Approaches for handling objections

Objection handling is the way in which salespeople tackle obstacles put in their way by clients. Here are some approaches for overcoming objections:

  • Firstly, try to anticipate objections before they arise.
  • Do not allow objections to grow into an argument.
  • Objections often have merit, especially from the buyer’s point of view. If necessary, acknowledge the objections, provide some simply counter arguments in an amicable and friendly way and then move on. Do not simply ignore or wave the objections away.
  • Do not follow a confrontational approach and try and be more superior than the buyer – show respect.
  • The ‘yes but’ technique allows you to accept the objection and then to divert it. For example, a client may say that they do not like a particular colour, to which you may counter ‘Yes but the product is also available in many other colours.’
  • Ask ‘why’ the client feels the way that they do.
  • ‘Restate’ the objection and put it back into the client’s lap. For example, the client may say, ‘I don’t think the product will work in this country,’ to which you could respond, “Is it that you don’t think the product will work in this country because of the different power supplies being used?’, generating the response “No, we have different national standards compared with South Africa; and we have tried it before”. You may be able to counter with the comment that you have no adapted the product to meet their national standards authority and that you have received national certification for the product.
  • The sales person could also tactfully and respectfully contradict the client, but you need to be very careful how you do this.