Posted by Mike Carroll ● Mon, Oct 12, 2009 @ 10:10 AM

Be Grateful for Tough Objections

My youngest daughter is learning how to read and everything clicked this week. It's really gratifying to see her reading increasingly challenging books with greater comfort and ease. Over the past few weeks I've sat with her as she struggled to make sense of which letters (or combinations of letters) make which sounds. And how certain sounds combined to make words and how words combine to make sentences. As she'd sound out challenging words I'd offer helpful hints like "you're getting warmer....nope, now you're getting colder....try again, what sound does T make...that's right, now put it together...."

How do you view the objections you get from prospective clients? How do you feel when you get a really tough objection? Do you get mad? Frustrated? Impatient? Angry? Irritated? What goes through your mind when you encounter severe price resistance? Does it make sense?

Instead of getting frustrated or losing your composure, what would happen if you were truly grateful for the helpful clues your prospect is giving you? Why not view their objections as an opportunity to discover whether you're "getting warmer" or if you're "getting colder?" Can you use the valuable information they are giving you to understand the underlying context and make sense of what their objections really mean? Can you piece it all together like words combine to make a sentence?

We often lead our clients through an exercise where we have their sales people start tracking their most common objections and interruptions. As the sales team begins sharing this information, we find there are typically about eight to ten (8-10) primary objections they might encounter. We then have them brainstorm five (5) different responses or follow up questions to ask for each issue raised. All of this information goes into a grid they can keep handy and review as needed.

Knowing how they are going to respond in advance helps these sales people stay present, focused and "in the moment" when a prospect raises an objection or asks a tough question. And staying in the moment allows them to really listen - not just to the objection, but to the issues that are driving the objection in the first place. Being equipped with the knowledge required to meet the initial objection enables them to ask the key follow up questions that drill down to the important issues. It often takes three or four (3-4) follow up questions to really get to the heart of the matter.

Have you documented your most common objections and prepared multiple responses to each? If you're a sales manager, can you run this exercise at your next team meeting? What would happen to your sales productivity if you shifted the way you view objections? How much would your income increase if you saw objections as helpful hints that will lead you to the sale rather than frustrating delays you need to overcome? What can you do this week to begin to change your attitude toward objections?

Topics: avoiding resistance, Sales Training, sales force development