Overcoming objections is one of the most difficult techniques for opticians (and most salespeople) to master.
Take-home message: Overcoming objections is one of the most difficult techniques for opticians (and most salespeople) to master.
Dispensing Solutions By Arthur De Gennaro
When an optician uses a closing statement one of two things will happen: either the shopper will become a buyer (make a purchase) or raise some objection. If the shopper makes the purchase, he or she becomes a buyer-the transaction is over. If the shopper offers an objection, the optician must successfully overcome the objection in order to close the sale.
Overcoming objections is one of the most difficult techniques for opticians (and most salespeople) to master. This is because customers do not always share their true feelings with salespeople. Instead, they often fib. In fact, the more successful an optician is at establishing rapport with the shopper, the more likely it is the shopper will not want to hurt his or her feelings and tell a white lie.
Opticians who are good at overcoming objections have two things in common. First, they are extremely empathetic. That empathy manifests itself as a person who is an extraordinarily good listener and someone who is sensitive; understanding enough to be flexible and work hard to find creative solutions that will help the shopper obtain what he or she needs and/or wants.
Second, these opticians are good at politely but assertively asking shoppers probing and sometimes sensitive questions. It is the asking of these questions that makes some opticians squirm because of a concern for coming off as pushy or presumptive. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers actually appreciate this candor-but only when the optician has established rapport with the shopper.
The first order of business is to determine whether the shopper’s objection is real. Just because the shopper says, “I would like to think about it,” is not necessarily what he or she means. I say this because when a shopper has any lingering doubt about the appropriateness or value of a purchase, that shopper will tend to delay making a purchase decision. He or she will delay a decision by making such statements as, “I need to check with my (significant other)” or “I think I would like to shop around.”
The easiest way to determine if the objection is genuine is to ask the customer directly. My favorite way to do this is to make an empathetic statement and then repeat the customer’s objection as a question.
For example, “Mr. Arthur, I understand that you would like to think about it. After all, you want to be sure that your new eyeglasses will be exactly what you are looking for. May I ask a question, however? (Wait for positive response.) When you say you would like to think about it, exactly what is it you would like to think about?”
The shopper now has the opportunity to state his or her objection, specifically. Being able to uncover those specifics is what allows the selling process to continue.
In some cases, information the optician did not provide or the shopper’s misunderstanding of information that was provided causes the objection. By going back to the feature, advantage, or benefit techniques used in the demonstration (http://bit.ly/1zy2R4w), the optician should easily be able to overcome such an objection.
In other cases, the objection has to do with price or value. If so, the optician can provide the shopper with more product-benefit information. The more benefits, the greater the perceived value of the purchase. Or, by using the good-better-best technique used in the demonstration, the optician has the ability to offer alternative products that might fit the shopper’s budget better.
Asking a reflexive question is successful because it can take away any lingering doubt for the shopper. Remember, when a shopper sees one clear path he or she is more likely to make a purchase.
After overcoming the objection the optician again attempts to close the sale. He or she does so by using the exact same closing statements that were discussed in the last article in this series (http://bit.ly/1yBq5nU).
Every time I ask an untrained salesperson what a customer’s primary motivation is for making a purchase they usually respond: “Price.”
My experience, however-and the experience of every sales trainer that I know-is that price is not the primary motivation when making a purchase. It is value.
One of my favorite expressions is: “It is not what you pay for, but what you get for what you pay that counts.” This benefits-versus-cost equation is the true definition of value. Well-trained opticians have learned that value comes in many forms: personal service, trustworthiness, quality, product knowledge, and a host of other tangible and intangible factors.
The goal for a dispensing ophthalmology practice, therefore, is to learn how to establish value. By doing so, the practice will desensitize customers to an orientation toward price alone and help them into some amazing new eyewear.
Arthur De Gennaro is president of Arthur De Gennaro & Associates LLC, an ophthalmic practice management firm that specializes in optical dispensary issues. De Gennaro is the author of the book The Dispensing Ophthalmologist. He can be reached at 803/359-7887, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the company’s Web site, www.adegennaro.com. He maintains a blog at www.adgablog.wordpress.com.