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Embracing Objections

by David Brock on August 9th, 2017

I just saw the term, “Objection free selling.”  In fairness to the person raising the issue, I didn’t read the article, so I’m not certain the premise or his position.

It was the phrase that caught my attention, making me flashback on my own history of dealing with objections.

At one point, I feared them.  I did everything I could to avoid them.  I’d prepare, I’d anticipate questions and concerns.  When the inevitable happened, when the customer raised an objection, I thought I had failed.  Somehow the act of raising an objection meant that I hadn’t convinced them, that they were disagreeing.

Part of my concern was, to some degree, objections seemed to create a conflict, I thought sales people should avoid conflict, aligning with the customer and getting them to align with you.

As I grew more experienced and confident in my capabilities as a sales person, I embraced objections.  It seemed an opportunity to demonstrate how smart I was.  Getting an objection and “handling” it gave me a feeling of superiority–almost as if I were competing with the customer, challenging them with, “Give me everything you have, I can deal with all of it.”

At one point I got cocky, if I wasn’t getting the objections from the customer, I would raise them myself, then answer them.  I’d do something like, “You might be thinking this……, Well that shouldn’t be a concern because of that…..”

At one phase, I thought not getting an objection meant I had so “wowed” the customer, they couldn’t think of anything to disagree with.  But then I realized, if I had completely wowed them, why wasn’t I getting the order?

I’ve come to be at peace with objections.  neither provoking them nor avoiding them.  I no longer view objections as a battle of wits to demonstrate superiority over the customer, eventually winning them over through the power of my knowledge and to leave no question or concern unanswered.

I’ve come to embrace objections–they are a natural part of conversations, they are a natural part of learning.  We all have differing points of view, opinions and experience bases.  We have different goals, priorities, and needs.  In selling or working with our colleagues we will misunderstand, we will disagree.  But it’s the process of exploring these, aligning our views and goals that enables us to engage customers deeply on things important to them.  It maximizes our ability to create value with them.

The objection is really an expression of engagement by the customer.  We don’t want to provoke them artificially just to demonstrate how smart we think we are.  But the objection shows the customer is involved, thinking about the discussions, and they care enough about the conversation to raise an objection of different point of view.

In fact the concept of “objection free selling,” is quite frightening.  To me, it’s an indicator they don’t care and they aren’t engaged.

 

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6 Comments
  1. Awesome article Dave.

    I think of objections as the prospective buyer illuminating the pathway to make a sale. Any savvy prospect who has the actual ability to purchase, or to influence a purchase, is going to have objections. Handling them politely, professionally and directly are pure gold for the sales pro.

    Objections are always there, if we know what they are, we’ve got a fighting chance.

    Regards…Jim

  2. Martin Frey permalink

    David,
    I think you are correct in 95% of cases regarding “objection free selling.” I too would be concerned if there were no objections as I would read that as “WARNING! NOT ENGAGED.” However, I have created repeatable selling approaches with technically sophisticated buyers (engineers, scientists, MDs) that I would describe as “objection free” with them asking, “how soon can I use this product?” In one 4 month stretch I had that response from cardiothoracic surgeons in 80% of first-time meetings (15 minutes or less). [Insert “BS. I don’t believe you,” objection here.]

    Dave: “Martin. That sounds too good to be even close to possible. Can you explain how you did that and how you trained others to do the same thing?”
    Me: Sure Dave I would be happy to. Long and detailed story short – it took me three months to figure out the how and why CV surgeons would make such a decision. Built into the delivery I had to indirectly raise and address every “unspoke objection and doubt.” Surgeons are smart, confident and Surgeons take in more information through their hands than their ears. Sales people may say imprecise or inaccurate things, but their hands never lie to them. In fancy terms, I had the persona air tight and the buyers journey laid out by the millimeter with 3rd party evidence at every step.

    • Martin: There are times when one understands the needs of a customer so intimately and the product is such a great fit that objections may not arise. Or sometimes the concept is so new that people can’t think of objections. I tend to think those are the exception, but you should capitalize on them when you can. Great story! Regards, Dave

  3. Martiey Miller permalink

    Spot on again Dave! My point of view (and you know I always have one) is that objections aren’t meant to be either “handled” or “overcome”. No one likes either to happen to them. Objections need to be resolved.
    In the vast majority of cases objections are requests for more information to solidify value. So my pet peeve is when reps don’t explore the nature of the objection rather start to stand and defend, vigorously, right away. Most often a price objection is met with “well, we are the premium priced product because of x, y, and Z.” Rather than the question, “When you say our price is too high, what are you comparing us to? How did you arrive at that thought?” This gives the rep the opportunity to really listen and follow up with “Tell me more about that.” Only when you understand the true objection can you focus on delivering the proper response and create a dialogue.

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