You Got This!
I feel like people have given the word “objection” a bad rap. You see it so much on the legal shows on TV when they object to what’s being said or when people talk about sales. I’ve always looked at objections positively; to me, it means that the other party is “playing ball”. When I was a younger man, and a woman might object to the way I look, I would think to myself “OK. Is that all I have to deal with? Maybe if I’m funny, I can overcome my objectionable looks!”. Also as a younger man, when I was in sales, I would relish getting objections from a customer as I knew the best way to counteract those objections. I had a Rolodex of responses that I would immediately deploy with fervor. “Oh, you don’t like the pricing? Compared to what? We are different than that competitor because….”.
Then I read a book that completely changed my view on objections. The book is called “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” By Frank Bettger. It was published in 1949 and the first thing I noticed was that most of the concepts discussed were the exact same concepts taught in Sales Training today. There are no “new” concepts in sales, they are just marketed differently (what a rip!). The second thing I noticed was how he talked about objections. (It would be really cool if I could actually find my copy of this book as I have purchased it 10 separate times; it’s probably in my house somewhere buried under pounds of animal fur but I digress…). Frank was an insurance salesman who would track all of his customer interactions. Out of 1000 customer “interviews”, 60% of the time the objections he received WERE NOT THE REAL OBJECTIONS!!! They were a ruse! There are two types of objections; the real one and the one that sounds good. So, when you hit on that girl at the bar and she turns you down by saying that she has a boyfriend, what she really means is that you smell or you have a large piece of cabbage in your teeth or you are highly overweight and horizontal stripes are not flattering, etc… Imagine how that concept changes the life of a sales person. If you roll out “pre-canned” responses, you have a higher chance than not of wasting your breath because you are addressing a false objection!
So the question becomes, how do we address this issue in life or in business?
Mr. Bettger’s went to a seminar held by Dale Carnegie and got the answer. He tells the story of a large client that was assigned to him but no longer purchased anything from his company. He would let Frank come and deliver his pitch but always declined to do business with him by saying they were OK for now or purchased services from someone else. After hearing Mr. Carnegie’s message, he asked for another meeting with this dormant client and was provided with the typical excuses. Then, he very simply asked (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Sir, is there anything else that might be causing you not to do business with us? If there is and I can address it, perhaps we might be able to work together again. If there is something else and I cannot address it, then I’ll feel better to have at least gotten the opportunity and can stop hassling you.” The client looked at him in silence for a very long time. Then he said “your company used to provide me with a discount and then, for no reason, ceased to credit my account without any notice. Once that occurred, I vowed never to utilize your organization again.” Frank checked on this issue, found out there was a mistake made, credited the customer’s account retroactively and earned back the business.
You can ask the question that way or even just ask another probing question but I guess the main point is that you should assume that the initial objection may be a ruse. Too many times we get caught up in just responding instead of genuinely trying to understand someone. Steven Covey says that 90% of the time people disagree it’s not because they truly disagree but one or the other side doesn’t fully understand the other’s position. 90%!!! Try to be aware of this and just have a genuine conversation as it flows naturally instead of trying to exhibit staunch control.