By Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD
In general sales training, the word objection is usually accompanied by the phrase “get around it,” or “overcome it.” This implies some sort of tactic on the part of the salesperson to “sell” the benefit, or respond in some sales-oriented way.
The word objection in sales is totally misunderstood. To most salespeople, an objection (price is too high, we have a satisfactory supplier, we spent our whole budget) is a reason the dentist is not buying, so it’s met with dismay and disappointment.
First: Change your reality of what an objection is. It’s a stall, barrier, statement of risk, or lie. If it’s a stall, there’s a reason behind it, which is probably lack of perceived value. If it’s a barrier, you have to lower it. If it’s a perceived risk, you have to reduce it.
Second: Change your reality of what a dentist really means when he/she throws a barrier or stall at you.
Third: Stop blaming the dentist and start taking responsibility for allowing this situation to occur in the first place.
Fourth: Now that you’ve had a dose of objection reality, it’s time to look for the real reason the stall or barrier is occurring.
What the dentist is really saying when he/she throws a barrier at you is:
- Where’s the value? I want to know what’s in it for me!
- Where’s the resource? I don’t want a salesperson; I want someone who can help me.
- What’s the difference between you and the others who sell what you sell?
- Where’s my win?
- Do you know why I’m buying?
- Do you know my expected outcome? How are you helping me achieve it?
Price is too high or any other stall or barrier simply means, “You haven’t proven yourself yet,” or “I don’t see any difference between you and the other people who sell what you sell, and I’m taking the lowest price. Why shouldn’t I?”
These common lines that you perceive as objections — price too high, satisfied with present supplier, and budget already spent — are not objections. They are key indicators that you haven’t proven yourself yet.
And by the way, if you’re foolish enough to lower your price, all you’re doing is reducing or eliminating your profit. This is the wrong move. Price reduction makes the customer value you even less.
Let’s go one step further. The biggest reason dentists won’t buy from you is the (unspoken) risk they perceive. The higher the risk, the less likely they will buy. The lower the risk, the more likely you will walk out with a sale.
The reason your dentist creates a money barrier is that he or she wants to buy your product, but believes yours and the competition’s are about the same, and that price is all that matters. There may be some kind of office directive or policy to take the lowest price, no matter what. There may be a budget the dentist is trying to stay within. Or the dentist may want to buy from you and just wants to get a better price. There may be a cheaper price or bid, and you may be asked to “match the price.”
If you’re able to identify the risk the buyer perceives and the barriers a buyer places in front of you, then and only then can you understand how to respond. The key to selling is discussing these elements in advance. Risk prevention. Barrier prevention. By being open and candid (taking your own risks), you can eliminate all the unknowns and concentrate on removing risk and lowering barriers.
Once you uncover the risks and barriers, you can create responses. These responses can also measure money against need and value. The more the customers need or want it, the more they will pay and the harder they will search for the best quality and dollar value.
Here are some clues to uncover risks and barriers:
- Ask for the dentist’s opinion.
- Talk relationship, not sale.
- Ask about their experience.
- You, the salesperson, must possess superior communication ability. This will assure that the risk or the barrier is not you.
Here’s the simple formula:
- Reduce or eliminate risk.
- Lower or eliminate barriers.
- Prove a difference between you and the others.
- Prove value.
- Make the sale.
If you take objections for what they are and look past to the real reasons the dentist is not buying, all of a sudden you’ll find dental sales truly opening up for you.
Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a general and cosmetic dentist located in Bay Village, Ohio. He is also an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates as well as a consultant to the dental industry. Dr. Malcmacher speaks to thousands of dental professionals every year, so he has very unique insight into the dental market and how to interact with the dental customer. For the last 25 years, he has intensively trained sales teams and done marketing consulting with dental companies. Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or e-mail [email protected]. He offers a free e-mail newsletter for dental company representatives, which you can sign up for at his Web site (www.commonsensedentistry.com).