Hello SOTGC community,
This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a couple weeks now. Lately I’ve been having a lot of talks with my boss and some of my other co-workers on the importance of “getting so comfortable with objection handling, that you almost look forward to it.” Does this sound weird coming from someone who earns a living from selling a product? You would think the LAST thing I want is to come up against objections during this process, right? Of course it sounds weird…but the reality of the situation is that in sales you will come across WAY more objections than you will agreements, so you might as well embrace it. Unless your job is to sell winning lottery tickets, fat free French fries, and calorie free chocolate…I’m pretty sure you won’t come across ANY objections if you sell those products.
For the first 6 years of my sales career I hated dealing with objections. My way around them was to play the “bait and switch” game where I’d try and distract them by bringing up a different part of our previous conversation…and just HOPE they forget about whatever objection they had just tossed my way. About three years ago I watched one of my buddies in the industry field an objection that had me looking at them in a totally different light.
One of the staff members in an account complained about his product. Instead of pretending he didn’t hear her, or try to sidetrack her with some other topic, he asked what it was she didn’t like. When she tried to do the passive aggressive “oh…never mind…it’s fine,” he insisted she let him know what she didn’t like so he could try his best to find a way to make it better. So she told him, and he fielded her objection marvelously.
It turns out her concern was something that others in that account had been wondering about, and all he needed was an opportunity to educate her more on the uses of the product for it to make sense to her. Turns out after he took the time to explain the nuances, she shared that information with her co-workers, and his product sales at that account went up.
Let’s face it ladies and gentleman…no one likes to hear that someone doesn’t like the product or service we so passionately believe in. Kind of like no athlete (at least not in the beginning of their career) enjoys the grueling hours of physical conditioning they have to go through to compete at a professional level. But if you look at the championship games, at the Olympics, at any professional level sport, when two opponents are evenly matched in talent, a lot of the times the victor is the athlete (or team) who has had the best conditioning. It’s an uncomfortable and grueling process, but it must be done and there is no way to be “one of the best” if you don’t accept, embrace, and revel in it.
So three years ago I started viewing “objection handling” as a game. Let’s say that the sales process is a treasure hunt. The treasure is the “sale” or new acquisition of an account, or winning back an account that had been lost. And along the way you are given clues as to where you can find it (IE how to go about landing this account or client, or where the previous sales person went wrong and how you can fix it.) If you look at the objection as a “clue” that people give you along the way, and work with the clues you are given (by addressing the objection head on, getting to the ROOT of the objection because often times you cannot simply take it at face value as there are underlying issues that might not be directly stated, and then overcoming those objections with further education on your product or service) then if you are tenacious, resourceful, and keep customer service at the forefront…there is no reason that you won’t make it to the “treasure” at some point.
So how about you? Have you been on a REALLY long “treasure hunt” lately? It doesn’t have to be sales, it could be regarding a promotion or new position that you’re going after. Have you been aware of the clues/objections that have been fed to you along the way? Have you addressed them properly so that the person who sent them your way is now comfortable enough to move forward in the process with you? And if not…is there a possibility to backtrack, pick up those clues, address them with the “clue giver” and then move forward from there? I’ve noticed that every time I successfully handle an objection that is given to me, the person who tossed out the objection in the first place, suddenly becomes one of my biggest supporters and actually sends me hints and tips along this “treasure hunt” that is my job.