Stop Training Your Salespeople to Overcome Objections
Most sales objections are the result of an ineffective sales approach. Because of a lack of sales training and effective sales coaching, the credit union’s salespeople are using these ineffective approaches making objections common, leading sales leaders to believe the problem is the objection.
While having salespeople prepared to overcome objections is important, more value will be added to all when you train the salesperson in the processes and skills that help members make educated buying decisions. When a salesperson can deliver the right information with the right approach, they avoid most sales objections, move more product and services sales opportunities forward, and consistently close new business.
What Are Sales Objections?
Sales objections are often misunderstood. A sales objection results when a member is put in a situation where they must make an uninformed buying decision, leading the member to say no. However, they are not saying no to the product because the salesperson failed to effectively give the member:
1. Enough information.
2. Clear information.
3. The right solution.
4. The right timing to discuss.
This of course is a “sales approach” issue which if not corrected, will continue to deliver sales objections. Let’s look at these in more detail with a few examples.
When out shadowing salespeople at the branch, contact center, or lending center, I observe sales conversations taking place and often hear a variation of these approaches:
“We also offer Extended Warranties. Do you want some more information about that, or not?”
“We have great rates on our auto loans. Please let me know if we can help you with that.”
“Have you ever considered moving your checking account over to us? We have some great features our members really love.”
It is easy to see how a member could say no to each of these approaches. All three lack the detailed information the member needs to see the value of the product or service and to say yes. They are not customized to fit the member’s needs, and the pitch is given before the team member knows if the product or service is appropriate for the member.
Consider these questions:
Assume the member being helped doesn’t have a savings account, or perhaps they have a large savings account but they have concerns about locking their savings into a CD. Would this member see value in the 7-month CD at 4.5%?
What if the member doesn’t know what an Extended Warranty is? Perhaps they had a bad experience in the past with a warranty that didn’t cover a major repair they felt should be covered. How do you feel the member would respond when asked if they want to learn more?
What if the member doesn’t currently have an auto loan to refinance, and doesn’t have plans to finance a new vehicle purchase any time soon. How do you feel they would respond when presented with a pitch to “Let me know if we can help you with an auto loan?”
Finally. How would the member respond to and invitation to move their checking account, when they are perfectly satisfied with their current checking account? Especially if they feel that moving their checking account would require significant work?
If your answer to any of these questions was, “The member would probably say no,” you are absolutely correct. The salesperson is trying to sell but is simply using an ineffective approach called “Product Pushing.” It isn’t effective and results in a lot of member objections.
The Four Sales Approaches
The consistency and the effectiveness of a credit union’s sales initiative and an individual’s sales efforts is determined by the type of sales approach used. A salesperson can approach selling in the following ways:
• By being reactive or proactive
• By engaging the member in a transactional or consultative conversation
In contrast, a proactive approach means that the salesperson is looking for products and services that could benefit the member and brings them up when they see the opportunity add value. If a member indicates a need for a product or service, a proactive salesperson will engage the member and start the process.
A transactional approach to selling means the salesperson sees their role as a processor of requests. The salesperson will help the member through the process of opening a product or service, but they do very little else to sell. A transactional approach focuses on speed and accuracy over quality and appropriateness of the product or service being offered.
In contrast, the consultative approach seeks information and engages the member in discussion to uncover the true need to ensure that the right product or service is being offered to the member.
When we combine these methods, we get the four different sales approaches.
Order Taker: A sales approach that is Reactive and Transactional generally results in an “Order-Taker” sales approach. Meaning, the team member waits for the member to ask for a product or service and simply processes the order as it is submitted. The vast majority of sales and service interactions at credit unions can be classified as Order Taking.
Confusion: For lack of a better name, “Confusion” happens when a salesperson tries to be consultative but approaches it with a reactive sales approach. While this isn’t very common to see, many salespeople new to their role will create confusion because they try to ask questions but don’t understand how those questions lead to a sales discussion. They are also uncertain how to gain the member’s interest and commitment. They engage, simply hoping the member will submit a request.
Product Pushing: Service that is Proactive and Transactional creates Product Pushing. As illustrated with the four ineffective sales approaches in this article, the salesperson feels that pushing a product’s features out there will gain interest and get the member to submit an order.
Product Pushing results when a credit union is striving to move from an Order Taker sales culture to one that is more proactive. Leaders tell the salespeople that they need to offer more products. They may even instruct or train salespeople to simply mention all product promotions and special offers and then ask for the business. Sales leaders striving to move their sales culture forward give this misguided advice because they simply don’t know better.
Product Pushing creates the vast majority of sales objections, not because the member isn’t interested or couldn’t benefit, but because it fails to enable the member to make an informed buying decision.
Value Creator: To move the sales initiative forward and get consistent, positive results, leaders must instead train and coach their salespeople to be both proactive and consultative. They must train the salesperson to actively look for ways to add value to the member’s financial life through the products and services the credit union offers. Salespeople must be trained not to overcome objections, but rather to ask questions to understand the member’s financial goals and true needs and then present a product as a solution that will uniquely benefit their life.
A salesperson using this “Value Creator” approach delivers enough of the right information, so the member is able to make an informed buying decision. Because the salesperson has asked great questions and identified true needs, they can offer a solution the member will relate with and see value in. Additionally, the salesperson presents a solution that is timely and applicable. This means the members will be empowered to make an informed buying decision, resulting in very few objections.
Coaching Salespeople to Eliminate Objections
While the difference between creating value and pushing products is quite clear, coaching salespeople to be Value Creators and eliminate objections from most sales conversations can be challenging. It certainly will not happen overnight. However, it is possible.
Begin by helping salespeople see that the products and services the credit union offers creates value for the member. For example;
• The credit union’s 7-month CD doesn’t just offer a rate of 4.5%, but rather it helps members earn more over a shorter period of time to reach their savings goals faster.
• The credit union doesn’t just offer a better extended warranty for less than the dealership, it helps protect members from unexpected car repairs and could extend the life of the vehicle.
• The credit union doesn’t just have great auto loan rates, it provides more affordable financing which enables the member to find the car of their dreams at a lower monthly payment or helps the member refinance and pay off their loan faster with less interest.
• Finally, the credit union doesn’t just offer a checking account packed with features. It offers the opportunity for the members to consolidate all of their finances with one financial institution. The checking account’s features help them save time, save money, make them more money, and create financial security.
By focusing coaching on the value of the credit union’s products and services, leaders will help salespeople provide the information their members need to make informed buying decisions. They will ask questions to understand the member’s need, want, and dream. And they will prepare the member to say yes.
When a credit union trains their salespeople to use effective sales approaches, they will no longer feel the need to provide training to overcome the objection. Instead, credit union leaders will be looking for training on how to manage all of the new growth.