“I need to check with…” How to Handle This Tricky Sales Objection
By Howard Schulman
In order to build and improve your sales operations, its critical to empower your team to confidently field and overcome objections. It takes time and proper training, but a stellar sales team knows how to address the main concerns that callers bring up on a daily basis. While there are endless books written about objection handling, this will focus on one of the trickiest, telesales-killing customer objection. And, its scuttling many of your deals.
One objection that can create more conflict than many others is when the caller pauses, and tells the sales rep, “This sounds like a great deal, but I need to check with my spouse (or other family members)". Even for a seasoned sales rep this objection can cause the sales to stall or derail.
This objection can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to ruin the flow of the sales call, and it doesn’t have to impact your sales team’s numbers.
Understanding Why This Objection Comes Up
The first step in overcoming this objection is to understand why it comes up. In most business to consumer sales calls, the sale is being made to one person on behalf of a family or group. But if the purchase is for a broader audience - like the family- then the caller may not be the sole decision-maker.
For example, if your team is selling a cell phone plan, your team is more than likely selling a family plan with multiple features and phones that will affect everyone in the family, not just the person the sales rep is on the phone with.
1. Find Out Who the Decision Maker is
In some cases, this objection is real. Your caller might not be the main decision-maker. In order to prevent this objection, you will want to train your Sales Agents to ask the caller if they are the decision-maker at the beginning of the call.
Sometimes, the person that your rep is speaking to is in fact not the decision-maker, and your rep may want to employ some of the following strategies:
Ask if the decision-maker is available and offer to talk to both the caller and the decision-maker at the same time.
Offer to schedule another time for the call so that both parties can be present
The agent might want to offer to reschedule the call at a time when the other decision-maker is available. If the rep is able to properly excite and educate the caller on the benefits and features the caller should be able to confer with their spouse.
This could mean the Agent will close the sale at a later date, but this is preferable than closing a deal quickly and have the caller call back to cancel. However, This could lead to phone tag or never reconnecting to close the sale.
The Sales Agent should be able to leave the offer open, and in a digital format, so that the group of buyers can view the offer together. Once the offer is reviewed, sales agents should make it easy to complete the sale even without a call if possible, but if a call is required, then the conversation can be picked up exactly where it left off.
Often, the original party on the call will be able to make a decision on a second call, after they have had the opportunity to share what they learned on the call with their spouse.
This is important because call centers often have dozens of Agents and the caller may feel uncomfortable if they have to start the process over again with a new rep. Or, the new agent may feel unprepared to pick up where their fellow rep left of. It builds trust for the customer if they can speak to the same Agent and that the agent greets them directly and is expecting their call.
It is wise to point out to your Sales Team that a slightly delayed Sale in many cases can be much more productive than a pressured or rushed sale that will be cancelled later.
2. Determine the Reason the Objection Was Raised
In many cases, the “I need to run this by my Spouse” objection is simply a smokescreen or a way to stall that a Caller puts in front of the Sales Agent.
If you and your Sales Agent are confused as to why this objection was raised here are a few reasons as to why this objection comes up.
The Sales Agent failed to establish trust with the prospect.
The Customer has a secret objection that they don’t want to bring up.
In some instances, the “I need to talk to my Spouse” line is a sign that the prospect on the phone feels threatened.
The Sales Agent can establish trust during the call by listening actively, providing testimonials about the product from neutral third parties, showing their expertise on the product, and providing only factual information on the product. Remind your team that embellishing features or benefits of the product will decrease their credibility.
In order to build trust, agents should show the product or service visually, and can walk the prospect through the entire sales process, including Agreement of Terms, Contract signage, and payment processing.
In other cases, the prospect has a secret agenda or objection, meaning they have another reason that they don’t want to buy. It isn’t really about their Spouse objecting, but rather about a bigger, underlying objection which is in fact their real reason for not wanting to move forward with the sale.
It could be that they are actually harboring another objection such as ‘the price of the service seems too high’, or “I really like the product, but I want to know if your product is as good as X competitor”, or “I am unsure about the features and value that this product provides.”
The Sales Agent could approach this by showing empathy with the first issue the customer brings up and asking questions that inquire what the customer is concerned about or why they might be hesitating. Reflective listening coupled with empathy and asking good questions are a winning combination to discover what the customer’s true concerns are.
3. Have a Service in Place that Helps to Simplify the Sales Call
Chances are that if your Sales Team is struggling to build trust, convey value, or the Spousal objection creates a roadblock with their prospects your company is in need of a solution that will help simplify the Sales Call process.
Look for tools that enable visualization during a voice call, this will enable a clearer understanding of what is being offered. Also look for tools that can create an order or cart so to speak. using a visual ‘shopping cart’ mirrors how customers and their spouses buy in today’s mobile, always-on world. A visual cart component to a phone call can deliver the tailored order
specs mobile devices for easy understanding and completion at any time.
4. Enable Order Review After a Phone Call
Allow the customer to revisit the offer easily after the call ended so that the spouse can review what was discussed on the phone. By keeping the offer open after the call, the spouse can easily review the offer with the missing spouse, and then pick up the conversation with the agent, or close it at a later time.
Sales Managers would benefit from walking their Agents through practice calls in order to help Agents better understand Call flow. This way, the Agents can anticipate where in the process the caller may be stuck, and have a better chance of overcoming the objections and moving the call forward.
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