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Why Do We Call Them Objections?

by David Brock on July 5th, 2022

We encounter them all the time. The customer has a point of view that differs from that we wish they would have. Perhaps, they aren’t as interested in the things we want them to be interested in. Perhaps they don’t respond in the way we hope they respond. Perhaps they are asking questions we prefer they don’t. Perhaps they seem to favor something other than what we would like. Perhaps they simply don’t care.

The customer has “objections.” Millions are spent, every year, on “objection handling techniques.” We learn how to avoid “objections,” how to “handle” them, how to use the right words to respond, how to handle them, how to manipulate the customer, trying to eliminate the “objection,” trying to get the customer to have the point of view we want.

The word “objection,” is an adversarial word. We watch TV/Movies, we see lawyers in court “objecting,” “Leading the witness…., Asked and answered…., Facts not in evidence….Prejudicial…” Lawyers battle with each other, trying to control and shape what the court and jurors hear.

Every scenario, legal, political, social, the concept of objection creates an adversarial relationship.

And that extends to our thinking about customer objections. While unstated, we think of them in a way that is adversarial, pitting us against the customer. And this carries over in much of our behavior with/toward customers.

What if we just thought of them as questions the customer might have? What if we encouraged customers to ask lots of questions? What if we recognized they may be making a statement or expressing an opinion, but it’s really a question they have about an issue?

Perhaps they don’t understand, perhaps they simply don’t know, maybe they have heard some other things from other people, maybe they have a different point of view.

What if rather than trying to manage/overcome objections, we started trying to understand the questions a customer may have. Maybe we would probe for clarity, maybe we might ask why they have a certain opinions or point of view. Our questions may help the customer in their thinking. Or they help us better understand the customer.

Better understanding the customer, what/why they feel a certain way, where they may be confused enables us to answer those questions in ways that are more meaningful to the customer. Imagine what those conversations look like, they become conversations, rather than verbal ping pong games. Imagine engaging the customer, collaboratively learning and understanding.

The words and short hand we use as sellers, betray our mindsets and shape our interactions with customers, even unconsciously. Perhaps we should think less about sparring with their objections, rather having more collaborative discussions.

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2 Comments
  1. Brian MacIver permalink

    OK, so my name is Brian, and I am an Objection Researcher, an addict.

    Been studying objections for 40 years, where they come from, and where they go to. I began with the Rank Xerox PSS work from the 1970’s. they had “REAL” objections and ones that were not real.
    They had several ways of distinguishing between them.
    “Is that your only objection or is there anything else?”
    “If I could answer that objection then would you go ahead?”

    So, what happened in sales calls?

    Well Sales people who used the scripted Objection handling technique had FIVE times as many Objections, as Salespeople who ignored the Objection.
    The results showed that THREE or more Objections were NO SALE.

    So could we just ignore Objections, well sometimes.
    If there was no alternative, then the Buyer accepted a DRAWBACK.
    Henry Ford knew that having a car was MORE IMPORTANT than having the Colour of car that you wanted.

    We’ll come back to Handling Objections, later.

    Where do objections COME FROM?
    that was really easy, almost every Objection came right after the Salesperson SAID SOMETHING.

    Features are a great way of getting objections TELLING is not selling.
    “We don’t want that,
    we can’t use that,
    we don’t want to pay for features we don’t use or want.”
    Missing Features, also Cause Objections!

    The fastest way to get the Customer to Object is a Sales CLOSE.
    Asking for the Order early (Trial Close)
    Asking for it OFTEN (repeated objections)

    So Sales people CAUSE Customers to Object.

    The best way of “Handling” Objections is AVOIDING them
    a bit like Sand Bunkers in Golf they are best AVOIDED
    and can often cost a shot, or even lose the hole!

    So, if you are getting objections, YOU are causing them.
    Ask about Needs and Value BEFORE you present.
    Present Need fulfilment and Value when you present,
    DO NOT ALWAYS BE CLOSING, LISTEN INSTEAD.

    My Handling Objections Workshop is FAR too expensive to tell you everything, but this is a great Start and great VALUE.

    Great Topic, Dave.

    Like Gary Player in Sand Bunkers,
    the more I practiced Dealing with Objections, the luckier I became!

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