Objection handling and objection anticipation are two different techniques, both of which can be used to manage objections encountered from prospects during your sales campaigns.
Here’s a brief description of each technique.
Objection handling is the technique of addressing and overcoming objections that your prospect raises about what you are trying to sell to them. The process to handle objections focuses on acknowledging the concerns the prospect is raising and providing information to mitigate or remove them.
The key thing to recognise in objection handling is that it is a prospect led activity, they raise the objection, you respond to it.
For example, imagine a scenario where what you are selling requires significant change to the prospects operating environment and they have a risk averse personality. They’ll probably raise the objection that the change involved in replacing their incumbent provider with a new supplier, is too big a risk. Then it’s over to you to respond on how that won’t be a problem for them.
Objection anticipation is the technique of anticipating and addressing objections before they are raised by the prospect; the key to doing it successfully lies in robust qualification of the sales opportunity, including the prospects current situation, the objectives they want to achieve by investing in what you are selling, their resonating focus and understanding their personality.
For example, if we take the aforementioned scenario of significant change and a risk averse prospect, the objection avoidance technique would be to ensure that you raise the concern before the prospect does and provide examples of how you have successfully replaced an incumbent supplier in similar circumstances.
Objection anticipation is a really powerful technique (when you do it correctly); it shows you have a good understanding of what your prospect wants to achieve and what they consider to be the biggest risks in achieving it. Moreover, that you have taken the time to consider and address their concerns without being prompted to.
Another major benefit of objection anticipation is that you can take the time to decide upon your best response to any objection scenario and practice it in advance.
A word of warning though; to execute objective anticipation successfully it has to address the specific prospects specific concerns, it’s not about producing a catch all list of FAQS (frequently asked questions) responses. If you take that approach it will backfire, and you will appear to be someone who is not listening to your prospect’s objections.
Great communications skills are required to execute successful objection anticipation, including the ability to control the sales conversation and active listening. It’s also important to have an in-depth understanding of what you are selling, the needs of the customer and how the two of these connect.
Objection handling and objection anticipation are two different techniques, each has its own benefits and the choice between them will depend on the specific situation and the needs of the customer.
Another way to think about it is prevention (or in this case anticipation) is better than cure.