No matter how you earn a living, you are in the persuasion business. In short, your ability to get people to say “yes,” is central to your success.
That’s why you must know how to deal with objections. Here’s are nine things to try when someone says, “no.” As I always say in my live talks, never use your persuasive powers for evil. (An excerpt of this post appears on my DBusiness magazine blog.)
1. Listen to what they don’t say.
In this instance, the customer has concerns with your offering but doesn’t give you specifics. These types of “invisible” objections are deadly because they’re not “evidential”. The best way to uncover hidden objections is to get the prospect to talk more.
Ask open-ended questions, lean forward, listen intently, and watch for “tells” or physical indications of what the person is thinking. The more a prospect talks to you, the more likely that he will articulate what’s keeping him from buying in.
2. Appreciate the show-off.
Sometimes prospects try to show you how much they already know about your product or service. These people are often looking for a form of appreciation or validation, so give it to them. Tell the person you are impressed by how much she knows. Be sincere about this and you’re more likely to win her over.
3. Validate the know-it-all.
Show-offs are not necessarily the same as know-it-alls. Truly brilliant people usually offer empirical evidence that counters your message. Unfortunately, know-it-all types are not likely to change their minds. Rather than do battle with them, use a negotiation technique called “triangulation.”
For example, if you’re working with someone on a customer service initiative, respectively remind the know-it-all that what matters most is what the customer thinks. In other words, use the customer’s preference as a trump card to encourage the genius to withdraw his objection and get to “yes.”
4. Include higher authority early on.
You’re giving your presentation and everything is going great. Then, the prospect suddenly announces that she needs to take the idea to her boss or another third-party.
You can overcome the higher authority objection by making sure that third-party is involved early. Always ask this question early in the persuasion process: “Who else has a stake in this?”
5. Not everyone likes you; get over it.
Yeah, the truth hurts, doesn’t it? If it becomes clear that the other person doesn’t like you, it’s important to not become defensive. Consider replacing yourself so that someone with more appeal closes the deal.
6. Employ the “Feel, Felt, Found” technique.
The prospect’s excuses may be legitimate, but they don’t have to be deal breakers. The best salespeople nod, smile, agree with the person, and then say something to reboot “the ask.”
The “feel, felt, found” approach is a good approach for handling resistance. Listen to the excuse, pause for a moment, and then say something like: “Yes, I understand. Many people in your situation feel the same way initially. But they all felt better when they found out how good this product works!”
7. Don’t take it personally.
You will occasionally call on unhappy or angry people whose emotions will play out in their demeanor and behavior. The best way to deal with malicious objections is to not assume the messages are ad hominem.
Think “QTIP” and Quit Taking It Personally. Remain calm, confident, positive, and polite throughout the interchange.
8. Beware of requests for more information.
We like it when prospects ask for more info about what we’re offering. These requests often signal a level of interest. But beware—sometimes this request is a stall technique. Stay alert so you can tell the difference between legitimate requests and a dead deal.
9. People don’t like to be sold to.
Thanks for this great quotation, Jeffrey Gitomer. When you act like a salesperson, people will treat you like one. It’s better to sell through conversation that involves ebb and flow, give and take.
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