How To Overcome Customer Objections Without Arguing

Contributor: Jason Karaman
Posted: 05/01/2017
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One of the year's most popular CCW Digital pieces is 5 Ways To Stop Arguing With Customers.

In the below article, CCW Digital contributor Jason Karaman offers a follow-up -- with a specific emphasis on overcoming customer objections.  Whether you are attempting to make a sale or simply diffuse a contentious interaction, Karaman's tips can prove very valuable.

Working in any contact center requires a certain level of finesse when speaking directly to prospects and customers. This amplifies tenfold when you are required to either sell something or help customers overcome problems. In both instances, you will certainly come to a point where the customer or prospect will disagree with you. 

As we know, a positive customer experience is more important now than ever before. That being said, a healthy bottom line is also important to any organization. To be successful as a contact center representative, you have to be skilled enough to overcome customer and prospect objections without the conversation devolving in to an argument. No matter what you might think, debates and arguments will never change the mind of a disagreeing prospect or an upset customer. All it will do is inflame them and cause them to get mad at both you and the organization.

So, if a customer or prospect disagrees with you, how can you overcome their objections/problems without becoming argumentative? In this article, we’ll go over how you can not only overcome this hurdle, but also leave the prospect feeling as if they were listened to and appreciated. This is important for a positive customer experience.

Empathize

The first thing that you should do when presented with an objection or an issue is to empathize with the prospect/customer. Empathy can go a long way with someone who has a different point of view than you do. When you empathize, you are essentially showing that you are attempting to understand how they are feeling. It communicates to the person that you are really listening to them. There is a fine line here though – you do not want to flat out agree with them. By simply agreeing with them you are basically acknowledging that they are 100% correct and there is nothing else to consider.

 The best way to empathize with someone without agreeing with them is to say something to the tune of:

“I understand how you are feeling”

Or

“I can certainly see how you feel that way”

With a phrase like that, it not only disarms them, but will open them up to hear what you have to say next. Simply having someone who is open and receptive will make the difference. It’s worth noting that you should really be sincere in how you say this too. Don’t make it seem scripted and uncaring - communicate that you really do care and are trying your best to understand what they are feeling,

Repeat and Isolate

After your empathy statement, you should repeat the objection or the problem back to the customer and attempt to identify if it’s the real issue or not. This serves two purposes here - you want to gain agreement with the prospect/customer on what their problem actually is, and you want to rephrase it in a way where you can overcome it.

For example, is someone does not want to upgrade to your premium service because the price is too high, you can say something like this:

“I completely understand where you are coming from. But just so I understand, because I want us to be on the same page, you don’t want to upgrade because the price is out of your budget. Is that all that’s stopping you?”

What we did here was state the objection back to the customer. This will show them that, again, you are truly listening and trying to understand. If the prospect tells you that yes, that’s all that’s bothering them, you can then go in to overcome the objection. If the prospect tells you no, you have identified that there is a deeper problem at hand.

Avoid Argumentative Words

It’s important to note that you should avoid argumentative words, such as “but” and “hold on” during all this. If you say these, the prospect or customer is going to be in defensive mode because it implies that they are wrong. Nobody wants to be wrong.

If you follow the above process of empathize, repeat, and isolate, you will have a prospect/customer who is willing to listen to you and will be more receptive to what you are saying. This does not guarantee that you will close them or solve their problem immediately, but it does allow for you to avoid an argument, which will translate to a higher level of customer service and a better overall experience.

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Contributor: Jason Karaman