Objections from customers are an inevitable part of the sales journey. Whether it’s concerns about price, product suitability, or timing, objections can arise at any stage of the sales process.
“We cannot change the objections or the urge to object from our customers. But we can change the way we respond to objections and how we interpret them. Most people think an objection is the end of the road. It is a better way to say NO without hurting the sales professional’s feelings. But what if it is just the customer wanting to learn more?” said a senior sales professional from India.
Objections need not be roadblocks you stop at. Instead, they can be opportunities to strengthen customer relationships and close deals. This is where effective sales coaching plays a pivotal role. Read on to explore how sales coaching can help teams cope and handle customer objections better.
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Understanding the Power of Sales Coaching
Sales coaching involves not just listening and correcting sales professionals when they go wrong. It is the art of providing guidance, feedback, and support to salespeople to help them improve their skills and achieve their goals. It’s not about telling them what to do but rather helping them discover the best approaches themselves.
According to the Sales Management Association, companies that provide effective sales coaching experience a 16.7% increase in their annual revenue, underscoring its significance. By engaging in mock sessions and real-life situations, you can predict and solve drawbacks in sales that you face.
Consider a scenario where a salesperson faces a common objection – “Your product is too expensive.” The immediate response is to either shut down right there as the customer can’t afford the product or to push the sale and convince the customer.
Instead of merely suggesting a response, a sales coach might ask the sales executive questions like, “What value does our product bring to the customer?” or “How can we highlight this value to justify the price?” You aren’t just convincing the customer to buy from you. You are transferring your confidence in your product to them.
This coaching approach encourages the sales executive to think critically and develop their objection-handling skills. They need to figure out if the customer lacks the budget but wishes to invest in the product. Or if the customer has a budget and is unwilling to spend it on their product. This is where you can figure out if it is a roadblock or just a minor hiccup in the sale.
Improved Listening Skills
One of the fundamental aspects of effective objection handling is active listening. Sales coaching can help sales teams become better listeners, enabling them to identify the root causes of objections more accurately. A study by HubSpot found that 69% of buyers believe that the sales representative they’re working with doesn’t listen to their needs.
During a sales coaching session, a coach might play a recorded sales call where an objection arises. They can then ask the salesperson to pinpoint the moment when the objection occurs and analyze the customer’s tone and words. This helps the salesperson improve their listening skills and respond more effectively to objections in real-time.
This sounds like the oldest solution in the book to self-analyze your skills. But the reason it is still relevant is owing to its impact.
Tailoring Responses to Individual Objections
Not all objections are equal. Each customer may have unique concerns that need to be addressed in a personalized manner. Sales coaching equips sales teams with the ability to tailor their responses to specific objections, enhancing the chances of resolving them successfully.
Let’s say a customer objects, “I’m not sure if your product will integrate with our existing software.” In response, a salesperson who has received effective coaching might ask probing questions like, “Could you tell me more about your current software setup?” or “What specific integrations are you looking for?”
This is better than asking questions that seem to attack the customer. Some sales executives might find the urge to become superheroes and solve the issue for the customer. “Show us your software and let us fix the issue for you.” This demonstrates the lack of a tailored approach and trust in the customer’s intellect. It is less likely to address the customer’s concerns effectively.
Confidence is a critical factor in objection handling. When salespeople are confident in their product knowledge and objection-handling abilities, they are more likely to handle objections gracefully and persuasively. Sales coaching can significantly boost salespeople’s confidence.
A study conducted by Richardson Sales Performance found that 63% of salespeople who receive effective coaching feel very confident in their ability to deal with objections, compared to only 41% of those who receive poor coaching.
For example, a sales coach may conduct mock objection-handling exercises with their team, gradually increasing the complexity of objections. As salespeople successfully handle objections in a controlled environment, their confidence grows, making them better prepared to handle objections in actual sales conversations.
Enhanced Product Knowledge
Sales coaching isn’t just about objection handling techniques; it also involves deepening product knowledge. When sales teams have a comprehensive understanding of their products or services, they can address objections with authority and credibility.
According to a survey by CSO Insights, companies that provide product training as part of their sales coaching program experience a 21.8% increase in win rates. In a coaching session, a sales coach might conduct a product knowledge quiz to assess the team’s understanding of the features and benefits of their offerings.
They could also prepare sales battle cards for the executives to know the latest updates and features of their offerings at any instance. This highlights knowledge gaps that can be addressed through targeted training, ensuring that sales teams are well-equipped to handle objections related to product specifics.
Overcoming Objections as Opportunities
Sales coaching encourages sales teams to view objections not as barriers but as opportunities to provide value and build trust with customers. This mindset shift can be a game-changer.
Research by Gong.io shows that salespeople who view objections as opportunities to provide additional information or value close deals 73% more often than those who perceive objections as roadblocks.
Imagine a scenario where a customer objects, “I’m concerned about the product’s reliability.” Instead of becoming defensive, a salesperson who has undergone effective coaching might respond, “That’s a valid concern. Let me share some case studies and customer testimonials that highlight the reliability of our product.” This transforms the objection into an opportunity to showcase the product’s strengths.
Continuous Improvement and Adaptation
Sales coaching isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process that adapts to changing market dynamics and customer behaviors. This adaptability is crucial in addressing evolving objections effectively.
CSO Insights reports that companies with dynamic coaching programs that adjust to changing conditions see a 28% increase in their win rates. For example, a sales coach might use data analytics tools to identify trends in objections over time.
If they notice that objections related to pricing have increased, they can adjust coaching sessions to focus on pricing objection-handling strategies, ensuring that the team is well-prepared to address this specific challenge.
Sales coaching is a dynamic and data-driven approach that empowers sales teams to handle customer objections more effectively. In today’s marketplace, investing in sales coaching is not just an option but a strategic imperative for companies committed to sales excellence.
It can help sales executives change their perceptions and responses to objections from customers. At the end of the day, sales is more about serving the customer and transferring your confidence to them. If they don’t trust you or your intentions, then there never was a sale to begin with.
To know more about how you can get the most out of your sales teams through sales coaching, feel free to get in touch with us.