Overcoming prospects objections is often the most intimidating aspect of a sales call, especially for reps that are new to the job. Within a minute or two, you have the opportunity to really show off your product, or to sell it short. The A-R-C method involves three simple steps to overcoming sales objections that portray sales reps as genuine, competent and resourceful. Once mastered, the A-R-C method can turn a sales rep’s near-miss into a success.
Acknowledge The Concern
The fastest way to infuriate and/or alienate a potential client is to ignore their concerns entirely. A close second is to give their concerns a courtesy mention, then proceed to ignore them. Reiterate the specifics of the customer’s concern and the reasons behind their worries. For example, a sincere, “It makes sense that you’re worried about ______, because ______. No one can blame you for wanting to make sure that _____,” is the perfect line to let the customer know that the sales rep hears them, you empathizes with them, and wants to help them. Taking a minute or two to genuinely respond to a customer’s objection separates the mediocre sales reps from the outstanding sales reps.
Added bonus: The time reps take to address the customer’s concerns buys them a little time to brainstorm how to actually going to tackle the problem.
Respond To The Concern
Sales reps’ responses should be crisp, informed, but not over-rehearsed. A few sure-fire ways to appear ingenuine (or worse, incompetent) are winging it or, conversely, launching into autopilot, reciting the same lines you’ve used thousands of times before. Customers sense when reps disengage and begin using an autopilot voice, so give them the courtesy of staying present in the conversation while responding to substantive concerns.
Responding to a concern is the most difficult step of the A-R-C method. To improve sales reps’ ability to respond to concerns quickly and precisely, practice addressing their least-favorite objections, and continue to practice until they are comfortable with anything a potential client might bring up.
The best way to circumvent either of these pitfalls is to invest in a knowledge management solution that allows sales reps to easily locate the information they need, in the moment they need it. Be sure the KMS you choose includes a Q&A search engine. This will allow sales reps to build a knowledge base of frequently asked questions, so that the questions reps encounter from customers on a regular basis can be answered immediately. With this tool, sales reps can tailor their responses to every individual concern, giving the customer a sense of sincerity and resourcefulness.
Close That Part Of The Conversation
Do not dwell on a concern. Acknowledge, respond, and move on. Waiting for the customer to give the green light will exude a lack of confidence. Have faith in your ability to efficiently resolve the problem at hand, and quickly move the conversation in a more positive direction. If the initial objection remains unresolved from the customer’s perspective, the client will bring it back up, and you should begin the process again, with an alternative response. Don’t derail a perfect response with a pause and a trepid “does that make sense?” Confidence is key. If the rep believes the issue to be resolved, it is likely the customer will as well.
Rare is the sales conversation that does not include an opportunity to resolve a concern. These moments should not be intimidating; instead, consider them an opportunity to show off your product, build rapport, and gain the trust of a new prospect. Overcoming objections takes confidence and practice, but the A-R-C method is a best practice for improving the customer experience from the very start. Remember: acknowledge, respond, and close. Follow these steps, and treat your prospects how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes, and potential customers will have a positive experience from the very beginning of their buyer journey.
To learn more about how knowledge management can improve sales performance, click here.
This post was originally published on May 21, 2012 and has been refurbished to reflect current best practices.
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