There are timetested responses that can easily turn objections into more bookings

If fact, a good salesperson welcomes those types of objections, because they see them as opportunities to build value in their product. And, as luck would have it, there are time-tested responses that can easily turn objections into more bookings and bigger orders.

An Ounce of Prevention. When dealing with objections, prevention is always the best medicine. Most ob

Everything about Sarah Petty's production room reflects the fact that she believes in her product—a critical factor in being able to sell it effectively.

jections can be overcome simply by addressing them as you go instead of waiting until the prospect brings it up. To do that, you have to get real about your place in the market: your studio—every studio—has perceived weaknesses. You're too big, too small, too new, too far away, too expensive, etc. The tendency for us is to hide our weaknesses so that nobody can see them, but a better strategy is to minimize any weakness by turning it into a benefit—to turn your perceived weaknesses into the exact reason whey they should do business with you.

For example, if your studio is on the other end of town, people might perceive this as a disadvantage—unless you directly address and eliminate this potential concern in your presentation:

Mrs. Jones, although we may be farther away than other studios you may be considering, you will find our service very attentive—just like we were right next door!

Or, if your prospects always are saying they can get their portraits for less somewhere else, don't wait to hear it from them—beat them to the punch by justifying your higher prices during your presentation. Tell them why you are more expensive on your wedding coverage, or why your wall portraits cost more.

Mrs. Jones, if you shop around long enough, you can always find someone who can meet your needs for a few dollars less. We don't claim to be the least expensive or the most expensive. But our customers have found that when choosing us as their photographer, they get a greater value for their investment. They are getting a team of industry professionals and that saves money in the long run. Isn't that what you are really looking for?

Likewise, if your prospects are always saying, "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you." They are telling you that your presentation did not give them a compelling reason to book the session today. Adjust your presentation to create a sense of urgency and this objection will not be heard again.

Track Objections and Plan Responses. Every day we hear the same objections over and over again, yet we still show up to work each day with the same old stale tech niques—just hoping and praying that today will be different. But it doesn't change. This will absolutely wear you down over time. Nobody likes to hear objections, because they make us feel like we aren't doing a good job. But when you have no objections, you have no sale because the customer isn't interested. And when you have too many objections you also have no sales because the customer isn't convinced. Objections are, by their very nature, a mixed bag.

Here's a great exercise. Start writing down all the objections that you get on a regular basis—for the next couple of weeks, listen to your prospects very carefully. Every time you hear an objection and don't get the booking, write it down. By the end of the two weeks you will be able to see a clear pattern emerge. It will tell you what part of your presentation is weak.

Based on this information, you can preplan your responses. This will make your life a whole lot easier. In fact, studies show that salespeople who use carefully thought out and planned responses make an average of four times more income than those who just make up their responses on the fly. That's an amazing amount! Realizing that your income and your lifestyle are directly related to you ability to overcome objections should be a good reason to overcome any discomfort you have with handling objections. Best of all, very powerful and motivating responses to all objections are already available to you. You don't have to reinvent the wheel to tackle this problem—you can just profit from other people's experiences.

Have faith, ye people! Objections are a sign of interest. They show that your prospect or customer is engaged in the sales process. Depending on what type of objection you get, each statement also helps you to understand exactly where you are in the sales process.

Here are the four steps to overcoming any objection:

1. Neutralize or cushion the objection. What this basically means is that you agree with your customer. Use phrases like, "I understand how you feel, Mrs. Jones," or "That makes perfect sense," or "I totally agree with you," or "I would feel the same way if I were in your shoes." When a prospect or customer says something that could potentially be confrontational, their defensive guard is all the way up, because they are expecting you to react in a negative way, or not react at all.

2. Repeat or restate the objection. For example if the objection is, "I want to check around before

I make a decision," you can say, "Mrs. Jones, I totally understand your need to make sure you are selecting the right photographer for your needs." In that one sentence you have neutralized the objection by agreeing with them, then you have restated the objection back in a way that makes sense to them.

3. Give them a reason to decide today. You could do this, in this scenario, by continuing with a statement like, "Mrs. Jones, I totally understand your need to make sure you are selecting the right photographer for your needs. I heard that from many of our current customers before they selected us. But after checking around, they found that we were best able to meet their individual needs and provide them with a wonderful experience."

4. Ask a closing question. Ask a question that gets them to agree with what you've just said. For example, "Now, isn't that what you are really looking for Mrs. Jones?"

Of course you will need to add some of your own words, your own personal style, and practice the delivery so you are comfortable with the presentation, but by following these four simple steps, you will be able to book more sessions, generate more sales, and make your life much more rewarding.

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