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TOP 20 Coronavirus Sales Objections Customers will give you and how to Handle Them!

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

The Pandemic changed the world as we know it. Most likely you’ve been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in your personal or professional life. You, or someone you know, might have been furloughed, started working from home, forced to close their business, or unfortunately lost everything. Understanding this mindset is crucial for anyone in sales. You have to be prepared not only to be empathic with your clients but also to be able to anticipate the objections your potential customers will have.

Business has taken a different direction in many fields, changing the way we do presentations, sales, meetings, deliver products and services, etc. Some of these changes are due to the normal evolution of the sales process (most items and services will eventually be available online), some changes will be due to temporary restrictions (people are in confinement or only essential businesses are operating), and some of them will just be due to Panic from the sellers or the buyer's side (customers afraid to meet face to face, visit restaurants, attend meetings, etc.).

Fortunately, the panic won’t last forever. Eventually, we’ll get back to conducting our business as usual (or pretty close). The Professional salespeople who learn to adapt to the customers´ sudden shift in consumer behavior are the ones that will be in an excellent position to grow.

The true Sales Professionals will see the coronavirus pandemic just like another crisis. And just like in the past, in the beginning, it may feel as though it’s hard and challenging, but it’s also giving you a chance to examine your operation and improve your sales process.

The panic from the customer's side will cause a seemingly unpredictable environment, creating a defense mechanism that we are familiar with: buyers’ resistance and sales objections. No one wants to be sold to, especially when there´s so much uncertainty.

Although the objections customers come up with regarding the COVID-19 pandemic might seem new, they really aren’t! Human creativity will allow them to put a spin on common excuses and concerns and create updated versions of the objections to throw us off guard. Remember, with their objections, they are simply showing you a concern they have (that must be addressed) or they are putting up a smokescreen (to cover up their real Objection.)

See more on Excuses, Concerns, and Conditions here…

How do you handle the “new” Coronavirus Sales objections after the crisis?

The idea of this post is not just to give a few quick responses to memorize whenever your customer throws an objection at you. I want you to be able to analyze and identify what caused the objection and how to create the proper response. Remember that almost all Objections can be categorized in one of these 5 groups:

· No Money (it’s too expensive)

· No Authority (I need to talk to someone else)

· No Need (I haven´t seen the value)

· No Urgency (I have to think about it, why now?)

· No Trust (I´m not sure of you, your company or your product)

Find out more on the 5 Most Common Sales Objections here…

Now, before we go into the objections and how to handle them, I cannot stress enough the need to discover and anticipate the Objections during your sales process. If throughout your sales presentation you can bring up the Objection that you know is in the back of your customer's mind (either through sharing a third party story or just being upfront and telling them that you know they have a specific concern and handling it head-on), the client won´t have to be in a position to defend their objections; since you brought it up, it´s YOUR objection!

Here is a simplified 3 step process on how to handle Sales Objections.

1.- Listen to the Objections. Repeat it back to the client if necessary

This accomplishes 2 goals: first, the customer knows you are really engaged and listening to them. For them, the concern they are expressing might be very real, so respectfully pay attention and clarify that you understood how and why they feel that way. Second, the client listens to their own objections which sometimes helps them realize it’s doesn’t sound such a compelling argument after all.

2.- Isolate the Objection

Make sure that this objection is the only one standing between you and the deal. Many times, the customer throws an objection that is not even relevant or is masking another deeper and more important concern. More experienced buyers will have you chasing bones and handling excuses controlling the timing of the presentation and preventing you to go for the close.

I appreciate what you are saying, I have been there before in my life. So are you saying that the only thing stopping you from [joining/buying/making a deal] is because of [customers objection]? Is there another reason?”

3.- Categorize and Handle the Objection

Since we understand that pretty much every possible objection will fall into one of the categories explained, we just have to analyze what the customer is really saying, decide which Objection group it is and handle it with the appropriate response! (Remember: it will always be more effective to discover the objection and bring it up yourself!)

(Find out more ways to handle sales objections here)

These are 20 Coronavirus Sales Objections applied to the Travel Industry and Vacation Ownership field. Once you understand and use the 3-step process, you will be able to put them in the right objection category and respond accordingly to your own industry:

1. I could only afford to travel because I had money from my stimulus check

Money Objection

2. I can´t purchase because I had paid for this trip before the Lockdown.

Money Objection

3. I had to cover my family’s medical bills and I can’t afford this right now.

Money Objection

4. I can´t spend money right now because they raised my insurance premium

Money Objection

5. I won´t travel again like this because I had to pay a high traveler’s insurance to leave the country

Money Objection / Need Objection

6. I won’t be coming back to a large hotel. It´s too crowded and I’m afraid I´ll catch something

Money Objection / Trust Objection

7. I will only travel locally from now on to avoid flight restrictions

Trust Objection / Need Objection

8. We are not going to travel again until there´s a cure (bad or frightening trip experience).

Trust Objection / Need Objection / Urgency Objection

9. I have to invest in my business to recover from the lockdown

Urgency Objection / Need Objection

10. The world is not the same and I don´t know if it's safe to invest now

Trust Objection / Need Objection

11. We have gone through so much during the confinement that this trip was a gift from my boss, parents, etc.…

Money Objection / Need Objection /Authority Objection

12. I´m afraid to do business in a foreign country that could later be quarantined

Trust Objection / Need Objection

13. My company had to close/ I got fired because of the lockdown and I can´t afford this

Money Objection

14. We can´t buy because working from home during the Quarantine made us realize we should relocate to a different city, so this is simply not a priority.

Money Objection / Urgency Objection / Need Objection

15. Vacations are just not as important to us as they used to before the pandemic

Need Objection

16. We maxed out our credit cards during the lockdown (can’t afford it/have to talk to their accountant)

Money Objection / Authority Objection

17. What if there´s another lockdown and I can´t travel?

Need Objection / Trust Objection

18. I lost a lot of money on the stock market, so I can´t spend this kind of money now.

Money Objection / Trust Objection / Authority Objection

19. I know that after the Lockdown most companies are a little desperate for business, I want to wait I know prices go down (wait for a better time)

Urgency Objection

20. Due to the Recession, Interest Rates are so low that I´d rather invest in a property

Urgency Objection / Value Objection

Here are a few examples of how to answer the customer´s concerns. If your company included or enhanced an offer because of the pandemic, don’t forget to include it in your rebuttal; they need to know that the concern they have is exactly the reason that made many others purchase!

Money Objections.

Most of the time, Money is not a real objection. If the offer is urgent enough and if a great value has been established, the customer will come up with the money. Imagine someone at the hospital that needs a lifesaving operation. If they believe their life is on the line, they will raise the money they need one way or another. This drastic example helps us understand that “if there´s a will, there´s a way”.

Get to the bottom of their concern: Is it that they don’t have any money, are spending the money on something else, do not see value in what you offer? In other words, are they saying “it’s too much money” or are they saying “it´s too much money for this”.

Review their Budget with them: Is there something you can replace in order to free up the budget that is spent on something else?

Focus on ROI: Ask yourself if the Return of Investment has been properly explained so they know how soon the purchase will pay for itself?

Look for alternative sources of funding: Are there other budgets that could be tapped into to fund this purchase?

· Example: "Let me ask you this: even with all the hardships of the quarantine, aren’t you currently on a vacation? Wouldn’t you like to know that even if something like this were to happen again (recession, lockdown, sickness) your family will have a place to be together, enjoy and relax? Our owners have found that no matter what the circumstances, their family will continue to vacation provided they have the funds. Our owners do not postpone vacations because of everyday financial needs. They have a system for saving. They are doing this through a pre-paid future vacation with today's money. Wouldn't it be satisfying to know that once you take care of vacations, not only your family´s quality of life is improving, but you have one less thing to worry about?

Urgency Objections.

There´s a difference between Urgency and Pressure. Pressure comes from an outside force (the salesperson telling the buyer that he HAS to purchase) whereas Urgency comes from within (the customer himself, feeling that he is losing a great opportunity if he doesn’t purchase).

· Example: "I can appreciate that you are telling me that you would like to purchase at another time; other owners used to say the same thing before the Quarantine. As your representative, I would like nothing more than for you to come back anytime and receive the same price as today. What our company decided to do because of the Pandemic, is to reward those families who choose to put their trust and confidence not only on us as a destination and Resort brand, but on themselves by allowing their family to own instead of renting their vacations. Fortunately for you, since the shutdown affected almost every industry, the company created a package of incentives that will double or triple the value of your investment! Believe me, if you like to take advantage of business opportunities you shouldn´t wait for the prices to go back up! Can you see why this makes sense?"

Authority Objections.

This is one of the most common stalls customers will give to avoid making a decision: there is someone else they have to talk to /ask permission/ consult. First of all, ask yourself, is this a valid concern, or is it just an excuse? Maybe they don´t really have to talk to their accountant! Maybe the real objection is that they don’t have the money or haven’t seen the value in what you are offering and they don’t want to disappoint or offend you by just saying NO.

· Example: "No problem. Just remember that most [financial advisors / lawyers / accountants / Etc.] are reluctant to give advice in this time of uncertainty as this makes them responsible for whatever happens. Before spending on this vacation, what advice did your financial advisor give? What advice has he given in the past about your vacations? In other words, he never advised you on the one hundred percent loss that you have yearly by renting in a motel room! Remember that your accountant also does not pay for your vacations. But if you feel that strongly about their advice, let me get you the phone, Okay? Since you had been traveling consistently every year before the Quarantine, and you managed to travel again today, he already approves of your current situation. Now with the pandemic, if we can show you a way to travel [more/better] for less money, he would support your decision don’t you think?"

Need Objections.

Two things have to be said about Need:

First: No one Needs your product! If you do an amazing sales presentation, your clients might “like” your product; they might “care” for your product or even “Love” it! But the fact that the clients managed to survive so long before meeting you proves my point. Think about the last time you purchased a high-ticket item. Did you really need that car, purse, designer shoes? Could you have achieved the same result with a cheaper option?

Second: Your job is to create enough value, solve enough problems, and be trustworthy enough that they will feel compelled to purchase. It´s your job to make them want it so badly that they will feel they absolutely need it!

(See more on Selling Emotion vs Logic here…)

Trust Objection:

Most sales objections around trust will be handed to you for 4 different reasons: Trust in the product, trust in the company, trust in the sales process, and trust in Tou!

Most of the time, the customer won´t just say: "I don´t trust you". The objection will look something like this:

· “I don’t know if I’m prepared to commit to an investment with your company just yet”

· “I’ve had a bad experience with another company before”

· “Your company is much smaller than [competitor]”

· “I’ve never heard of your company”

This is why your sales pitch must include Brand positioning (who you are and how do you rank in your industry) to show your company in a positive light. After all, around nine in 10 adults prefer to buy from an established brand when purchasing financial services, medical care, or consumer electronics.

Empathize with the customer instead of being on the defensive immediately. If the lack of trust comes from a previous buying experience, find out what the problem was. Address their concerns by showing the differences between the previous company and yours. Finally, showing yourself as someone who is genuinely trying to help them, instead of just someone hungry for a commission, will allow you to gain their trust

Disease Objection:

Since we are talking about a health-related topic, I decided to include an extra category: Disease itself. Remember, these objections still come rooted in one of our 5 categories: money, need, trust, urgency, or authority. If they say that they can´t purchase because the Virus affected one of their relatives, their concern could be based on lack of urgency (I understand we need this, but do we need it now?), lack of money (how can we spend on this when we have to pay back the medical bills), or lack of value (we haven’t seen how this purchase will improve our lives or help us with our situation). Again, to successfully handle the objection you have to question what motivates the concern.

A great way to handle Disease Objections is with third party stories since they demonstrate you listened, understand, and are empathic.

Here is an example of a client´s objection because they have a relative with a serious illness:

· "Oh, I'm so sorry John and Mary. What is his/her current condition? (Listen) I have an owner, Linda from Iowa, whose mother is ill with MSC. She and her husband Harry have been caring for her mother for nearly 5 years. She spent every minute of her waking hours caring, feeding, and worrying about her mother. Their life revolved completely around Linda´s mother´s health. One day, her mother called them over. She wanted to tell them that she knows how much they have sacrificed to take care of her and that she was worried that the stress was taking a huge toll on Linda and Harry´s health and relationship. "

"She had contacted her sister, hired a caregiver for 5 days, and made arrangements for them to take a small vacation. Linda was reluctant bur her mother told her in tears: “you changed your life to care for me. You have put your plans on hold and your relationship is being affected. I don’t know how much time I have left, but I need you to recharge. I need you to live your life as well. God gave me the means to prepare a little trip for you and Harry and I want you to take it. “

"Linda and Harry became our members that day, not only to ensure that they could take a little getaway when they were completely stressed out, but they even managed to take her mom in a couple of getaways! The best part is that with the money they saved with us, they manage to pay for their mom's caregiver when they travel!

Now tell me, John and Mary, if I went to your [relative], explained that you have stopped your life to worry and care for them, do you feel they would be happy and overjoyed about your choice not to do this for you or do you feel they would want the same for you as Linda's mother did?

There will always be new objections to handle and there is no pre-set answer or rebuttal that can be memorized to handle them all. What will not change, are the psychological factors and motivations in the customer mind that trigger these objections. Those will always be the same!

Applying these principles will help you be prepared for the new batch of Sales objections the Pandemic Quarantine has brought us. Just remember that the customers value more the salesperson who understands and tries to help them, than the salesperson who has a quick and witty response for their objections. Having a smart comeback to your client´s objection might help you win the battle but lose the war; “Listen to understand, not to reply”.

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