Whether you manage an inbound or outbound contact centre, there will be times when you need to defuse tense situations, be it because a customer has called you about an issue or because you are trying to sell them something.

Here are a few tips to handle objections positively.

• Think of objections as an opportunity to convince

Being a contact centre agent can be emotionally demanding.

The word ‘objection’ can have a negative connotation in people’s mind. It can conjure up images of confrontation, disagreements and, generally speaking, unpleasantness. If your agents think about it this way, they will be more reluctant to engage into a real discussion and their ability to close deals will be lower.

It is important to change their mindset from the start and present objection handling as another way to give out information to customers and the chance to have a real dialogue.

• Know what you are selling

Prospects won’t buy from agents unless they trust them, and, in a sales context, this means thorough knowledge of your products, so make sure you have done your homework before calling potential customers.

• Make sure you understand the real reason behind the objection

It is very easy to go on the offensive when faced with an objection and start talking at your customers rather than really ‘actively’ listen, but without understanding what they really mean behind what they are saying, you can’t use the right arguments to convince them.

A common objection is cost. If a customer tells you that they can’t afford your product, you can’t quite lecture them on the necessity to manage their finances better, can you?! What they are really saying is that they don’t (yet) see the value in your product so your next task is to present the benefits of what you are offering to their life.

• Get in front of further objections

It is likely that prospects will have more than one objection, however they may not express them readily. So you may have handled one issue but not close the deal because the customer had about another half dozen in their mind.

It is up to the agent to create the conditions that encourage people to share all their concerns. Once you have addressed one objection, try asking whether they have any other questions for example. If they are unconvinced, it will prompt them to talk about why.