How To Handle Objections From Customers (SPIN Questions In Persuasion)

If you have problems with frequent objections when you are trying to persuade, this video is for you. But prepare yourself, this method for reducing objections isn’t what you’d expect. 

Why Do Customers Make Objections?

Customers make objections because they feel unsure and unconvinced by how either you, your product, or your company solves their problem. Objections are ways to disengage or slow down their commitment to acting. So you might think the best way to handle an objection from an unsure customer would be to share information about one of those categories where they are hesitant. If the right information is shared, the objection would be overcome.

This can work for basic objections. But if you end up having to use this to overcome frequent objections, it is because you are making one persuasion mistake.

How Should You Handle Objections From Customers?

Paradoxically, the best way to handle objections is to actually stop trying to directly persuade the person by talking. Instead, ask specific types of questions.

One study found that when sales people switched to asking more questions, objections were significantly reduced. So why did questions reduce objections? Questions reduce objections by triggering the brain’s ability to self persuade. In other words, people convince themselves of a product’s value if you just guide them with the right questions.

What Types Of Questions Reduce Objections?

3 Question types reduce objections: problem, implication, and payoff questions.

One study suggests 3 question types that trigger self persuasion. Problem Questions are the first type. Problem questions seek to find issues that the customer is struggling with.

Problem questions sound like “Are you satisfied with your current machine?” Problem questions are necessary for persuasion, but they shouldn’t be the focus because of their weak ability to trigger self persuasion. The next two types are way more powerful.

The next question type that triggers self persuasion and reduces objections is the Implication Question. Implication questions help the customer see the extended costs of a problem.

For example, if a customer is having a problem with a machine breaking down, an implication could sound like this. “So you’re saying the machine breaks down often. What other areas of your business are slowed down when a machine is broken?” 

Thus the implication question helps the customer see that bad machines have many different effects on the company. Instead of seeing a broken machine as a small issue, the broken machine now is a monster problem that has significantly more value if solved.

The power here comes because the brain makes this realization itself, instead of someone cramming it down their throat. But the last type of question is even more effective at reducing objections and causing the brain to self persuade.

The final type is called a Payoff Question. A payoff question helps the customer focus on a positive solution to their problem. The question often sounds like this, “How would solving the machine problem help?” While similar to the implication question, if used correctly, it moves the focus from the negative elements of a problem to the positive elements of a solution.

Studies on this topic found that when sales reps focused primarily on implication and payoff questions, they experienced significantly fewer objections in the sales process.

Now to be clear again, objections will happen. But the important thing to realize here is that people are more likely to take action when you stop telling your customer directly what they should think. Instead, use questions so their brain begins to self persuade.

How Can You Apply This If You Aren’t In Sales?

First, find a problem that a person has. Then use questions to point out the effects of that core problem. Finally, use questions to help the person picture the benefits of a solution.

Now sometimes, people aren’t willing to give your questions the time of day. So how do you get people to listen and answer your questions when you are persuading? Check out the next article to learn more.

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