This article was written by WeddingWire Education Guru Alan Berg, CSP. Alan has over 20 years experience in wedding related sales and marketing, and is an author, business consultant, a member of the National Speakers Association, and the wedding & event industry’s only Certified Speaking Professional®. Learn more at alanberg.com.
One of the most misunderstood parts of the sales process is objections. Those of you who are not natural salespeople hate objections; you see them as road blocks to getting the sale. I’m here to ask you to see them differently. If they tell you what they want, you give them a price, and you make the sale without them presenting any objections… you didn’t make a sale, you took an order. There was no selling involved. This is what happens in most retail stores these days: you go and pick out what you want and pay for it at the register. There may be a bit of merchandising to get you to find the items that they want you to buy, but unless someone helped you buy something other than what you came in looking for, there was no selling involved. For reference, see my top down selling webinar for ideas on how to increase your average sale.
Objections are buying signals and opportunities
If you go through your sales pitch and give them the price, and they ask “what if…” or “but…” – that’s when the selling starts. Sales objections are buying signals and opportunities. If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t bother asking the question, or voice the objection. When they say “what if….” or “but…” they’re really saying, “I’ll be closer to buying if you answer this well.” It’s really just a mindset shift to see these as opportunities. If they weren’t interested, you never would have gotten the inquiry or the appointment. If they aren’t still interested they would either stop replying or leave the appointment.
Even price objections are buying signals. They’re signaling that if you can show them the value, or another option, they might buy. Again, if they weren’t interested at all, the sales process would just stop. But it isn’t stopping – they’re hanging in there with you. I’m not saying you need to lower your price to get the sale. I’ve done many webinars and live presentations about value, so please don’t lower your price without getting something of value back in return.
Agree when they disagree
One of the best ways to diffuse an objection is to agree with them. If you’ve tried to close the sale and they say, “We want to go home and think about it”, you can say, “Of course you do. I wouldn’t expect you to make such an important decision at our first meeting.” However, if you hear “You’ve given us so much to think about, we need to go home and process it”, and that’s why you don’t close many sales on the first appointment… that’s your fault, not theirs. Your job is to help them reduce the choices down to only the most appropriate, not confuse them with everything you offer. No one needs everything you offer, so listen first, then pitch them.
Feel – Felt – Found
One of the best ways to handle most objections is with a process that I heard many, many years ago. I’ve tried to find the origin of it, but even Google can’t help me. It’s so simple, yet so effective. There are three parts:
- Feel – empathize with their situation; “I understand how you feel”
- Felt – show them that others, just like them, have had this same thought
- Found – overcome the objection without being confrontational
Here’s how this works with real objections (hint – it works really well!).
Objection: “You’re the first one we’ve seen. We need to look around.”
Response: “I understand how you feel. Many other couples we’ve seen have felt the same way, that they need to do an endless search. What they found is that they, like you, have already done a lot of the research online, and you know what you want before you get here. So once you find it, you buy it, even if it’s the first place you’ve been. Why keep looking when your must-have list is covered? And that’s why so many buy from us on their first appointment.”
Objection: “That’s more than we wanted to spend.”
Response: “I totally understand how you feel and I know how things add up for weddings. I had a couple in last week who felt the same way. They found that there were things they hadn’t thought of when they made their budget, and there are other places they can try to save, and they went with us because they didn’t want to look back after their wedding and think they skimped on their ______.”
There are countless ways to word Feel – Felt – Found. I want to give you a foundation for coming up with your own phrasing you’ll feel comfortable using in real sales appointments. Play around with this and you’ll find that it’s almost magical how well it works. It’s a much softer, more comfortable process for both you and your couples.
If When they come back
When your customers go looking around, and come back to you with “We found a lower price with another vendor,” what they’re really saying is, “We want to book with you, but this lower price is making us confused.” Think about it. If they had found everything they want and need, including a lower price, why didn’t they book that other vendor? It’s because they really want you to do their wedding. You don’t have to match the price to get the sale. You have to remind them of the value of choosing you over anyone else. You can certainly use Feel – Felt – Found in this example: “I understand how you feel, and thanks for coming back. I had a couple in the other day who had also looked around and got a lower price. What they found was a lower price is easy to find, but it’s not the price or the equipment that will make your wedding great, it’s the people behind them that make the difference, and that’s why they went with us at our price.”
Or you can try: “If price is the most important factor when choosing your ______, then I’m not going to be the right choice. Couples like you don’t choose me because they want the lowest price, they choose me because they want (fill in your value proposition – i.e. ‘a packed dance floor’ or ‘guests raving about the food weeks after your wedding’). Start looking at objections as opportunities and you’ll find it much easier to close more sales.
I look forward to hearing your stories of success at WeddingWire World in February!