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Handle objections -- before they come up

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The best way to overcome an objection is never to let it surface. How can you do that? Read on. If you’re like I was as a young life insurance agent giving pension maximization presentations, you like to hear as few objections as possible. At that time, I knew the best time to handle objections was before they came up, but I didn’t know how to execute this. After writing hundreds of articles (including writing for the senior section of a newspaper), I’ve learned that one of the most effective ways to handle objections before they come up in a selling situation is by addressing them in the media by writing articles and giving interviews.

Why is this method effective? Seniors read newspapers. According to a nationwide Harris Poll of U.S. adults surveyed this past January, 80 percent of “matures” (age 59 and older) said they read a local daily newspaper several times a week or every day.

Also, according to the “2000 AARP Survey of Lifelong Learning,” 64 percent of adults age 50 and older use newspapers, magazines, books and journals when they want to learn something. Right audience You want to write for publications that your prospects either read or are familiar with. You also want to write articles that truly address clients’ objections. Start by checking with your local newspaper to see if it has a section for seniors. (It is better to start with your local paper; larger publications are unlikely to take articles from you until you have some published articles under your belt. Also, when it comes to getting published and using it to help you get sales, you must write for a third party; this is what gives you credibility. The company newsletter is not good enough – it will be perceived as marketing collateral.)

If your local paper has a senior section, contact the section’s editor (e-mail is often best) and let the person know you’d like to submit an article. (Be sure to include your credentials.) If your local paper does not have a senior section, contact the business editor and ask if you could submit a piece for the personal finance or investing section.

Be on the lookout for publications that you could submit articles to. Recently, I was in my local YMCA waiting for my wife to finish her workout when I spotted a community newspaper for people ages 50-plus. Another place to check is your place of worship. If it has a newsletter, ask if you can submit an article.

Let editors know you are available to answer questions on financial issues that affect seniors. You should especially do this if your local paper will not accept an article or if you’re not comfortable with your writing skills. Reporters often need experts to quote. Contact the senior section or business editor and suggest you could address some common financial questions (your common objections) that seniors have.

Don’t forget the Internet. Look for opportunities to write for online publications. According to the Harris Poll, 57 percent of seniors say they regularly go online for their news.

The key is to write an article that informs. Readers will dismiss a sales pitch. Actually, they’ll never have the chance to reject it because editors won’t publish it. How? Now that you know what to do, you need to know how to do it. Here are some common objections and ideas for how you can handle them before they come up by writing articles or being interviewed.

  • “I’m not familiar with your products.” If you find that most people don’t know what an annuity is, for example, offer to write a piece that explains the basics. Or, offer to be interviewed for an “everything you always wanted to know about annuities” piece.
  • “I’m not ready to buy yet.” You need to establish the need and the urgency. However, instead of writing a piece that gives five reasons why you need long term care today, which would sound like a marketing piece, be creative and suggest something different, such as five reasons why you may not need long term care insurance. A piece like this will catch readers’ attention. In addition, it will add to your credibility because it appears to be counter to your self-interest, which is to get sales.
  • “It costs too much.” Assuming that you have a qualified prospect, you need to establish value and urgency. Write a piece on the hazards of not making a decision today, for example. Remember, people are more motivated by the fear of loss than by the desire for gain, so really paint the picture in your article. Use anecdotes and stories that you’ve gathered over the years. Even better, ask clients if you can quote them in your articles.
  • “I’m uncomfortable buying from you.” What’s at the root of this objection? Is it that prospects don’t know if you’re credible? Writing articles adds to your credibility. Begin your sales presentation by listing the places in which your articles have been published. This will add to your credibility – especially if your articles have appeared in publications they read. In addition, publishing articles positions you as an expert and people have a strong tendency to listen to experts. These are just a handful of objections you might face. Write a list of your most common objections and think of creative articles you could write. A good technique for creating article ideas is to rephrase the objection as a question. For example:
  • “I’m too young for long term care” becomes “Are you too young for long-term care?”
  • “I’m older now and don’t need more insurance” becomes “Do you really need more insurance?”
  • “I’m going to wait” becomes “Should you wait before buying that term policy?” If you’re being interviewed for a piece, be sure to work these common objections and your answers into the interview. In fact, you could give the reporter a list of the most common questions seniors have regarding a particular product. You could then address those questions during the interview.

After you’ve had your pieces published or you’ve been interviewed in an article, share the piece with prospects. And don’t just hand the article to prospects and expect them to read it; include the piece in your presentation. Discuss it. Review the key points in the article. By doing this, you will successfully handle objections before they come up, which will make you a more effective and efficient salesperson.


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