Creative Strategies for Overcoming Customer Objections

Training a frontline team member to overcome a customer's objections may be one of the toughest coaching responsibilities on a manager's daily to-do list. All too often, managers and customer service representatives alike view customer objections as daily hindrances, negative exchanges -— or even personal attacks. But when a customer shows resistance to optional products and upgrades, either at the counter or over the phone, this is really an opportunity to offer additional information and greater customer satisfaction.

A three-step action plan can help create a positive and more productive environment while enhancing the customer's overall counter and reservation experience.

Step One: Set the Stage

Develop a process that begins with building rapport and being relationship-focused. Customer objections pose less of a challenge, or happen less often, when a customer is greeted positively and gets a sense that the company is relationship-focused. Speaking from firsthand experience, I am a much more receptive consumer after I am greeted professionally in a warm and sincere fashion.

When a service-based sales process begins by greeting and building rapport, the customer can relax and listen to the team's intended message. Giving your team the training and tools to support this process helps employees build confidence and understand the opportunities created by overcoming objections.

Build belief in all product offerings. One of the quickest ways to help team members overcome objections is to educate them on the benefits of all products offered. Bolstering belief allows confidence and credibility to grow.

Try sharing the following information with team members to help convince them that the products benefit all customers who walk through the door:

• Vehicle Belief Builder Consumer Trend -— Although the number-one class of vehicle booked in the industry is a compact car, the number-one-selling car size in North America is a full-size car or sport utility vehicle. This statistic indicates that most consumers actually prefer larger vehicles.

• Vehicle Belief Builder Homework Assignment -— Ask the team to keep an eye out for larger sedans, SUVs and vans on the road while driving to or from work. Ask them whether all of the larger sedans they spotted were filled to capacity. Most likely, the answer will be no. This assignment will build belief on offering top-end or the largest vehicles to every customer, regardless of the number of people in the party.

• Coverage Belief Builder Statistic -— Share with the staff the loss rates on loss damage waiver (LDW) claims. When a customer benefits from such a purchase, point this out to team members so they understand the true value of the product.

• Fuel Service Belief Builder -— Remind the team that 100% of customers have to fill up the tank upon return. Regardless of whether they have bought one of the pre-sold service options or made a stop at the local station, all customers are responsible for refueling. Like any additional service option, the main benefit is convenience. One of the most difficult team members to coach is the one who lacks belief. Asking the team for candid thoughts on whether they would purchase any of the products when they rent will easily draw out their thoughts on belief.

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