What two crises does every sale have? Objections and “the close”. It’s at these two places that the success or the failure of your sale teeters on the edge. What if you actually used these two crisis moments to create deeper rapport with your prospect instead of the stress they normally create? When you learn to do this, you’ll see an immediate doubling of your income.
Am I making wild claims about income? Award-winning research scientist Dr. William R. Miller found that if a professional mishandled just one client-voiced resistance in a meeting, it would cause the whole meeting to fail. I’ve seen this happen. I’ve seen a meeting going beautifully… The client and the advisor getting along like two pigs in mud… then, the meeting unravels in a second when the advisor fumbles an objection. Handling resistance correctly will catapult your success and income.
Here’s how you get it right. First, don’t ever be surprised by an objection. Giving objections is part of a client’s decision-making process. Nobody is going to turn over their money to you without at least some question or objection. So the first rule is, don’t panic. Take the objection in stride. Take a deep breath and smile. Don’t let them see that you’re rattled. If the client detects any level of anxiety on your part, they’re going to wonder why you’re so worried about whether or not they take your advice. The conclusion they most often will come to, is that you want to get your hands on their money. And, that’s not good. So stay calm.
And if you think about it, there’s no reason to panic. We’ve experienced objections at every single meeting we’ve had our entire careers. And it’s the same objections over and over and over. In fact, I put a list together of all the objections that advisors get and came up with only 45 objections. And it’s really just the same 10 or 15 that we see most often.
Clients are going to give you objections, get used to it.
Is every objection they give you valid? Yes it is. If you climbed into your client’s mind you would see that their objection, regardless of how ridiculous it is to you, makes total sense to them. And the last thing we want is for them to feel like we think their objection is not valid. If you do, you’ve taken a big step backwards. People don’t like people who point out that they’re wrong.
To get objections right, you must first understand the anatomy of an objection.
- An objection is the client’s declaration of free will–people don’t want to feel like they been sold, they want to feel like they’ve purchased of their own free will. Objections help them feel that way.
- When a client gives us an objection they know that we will likely “fight” or disagree with them
- The Client’s fight- flight syndrome kicks in… The adrenaline starts flowing:
- Their blood pressure goes up
- Their pulse rate goes up
- They start rehearsing verbal comebacks to anything you may say, in their minds–they know you’re probably going to give them a rebuttal and begin immediately thinking of their rebuttal your rebuttal… and so on and so on.
And this fight-flight syndrome does not just apply to the client, you as the advisor are also likely to be experiencing the same fight- flight symptoms.
What do you think is happening to the communication process when you’re both stressing out? This obviously isn’t conducive to building rapport. Listening skills drop. Empathy drops. Willingness to be open to another’s point of view drops.
When two people have different agendas, the defenses are going to go up on both sides. If we do not immediately address this problem were going to sink the deal.
If you go back and read the last two sentences, you have discovered the magic to overcoming objections. You both can’t have different agendas.
So can we expect the client to drop their agenda and immediately adopt ours? Of course not.
Well if they don’t want to adopt our agenda, then we have to adopt theirs. Once they have been convinced that instead of fighting them on their objection… we are instead on their side and agreeing with her agenda, communication can once again begin.
Here are the three steps to getting the communication going again:
- Acknowledge their objection
- Parrot back their objection in the form of a question
- Get on the client’s side
Let’s walk through each of these steps individually.
Acknowledge their objection
When you hear them give you an objection, pause. This is your moment to calm yourself. You don’t want to show your cards or indicate any worry about the objection. You also want to let the client know that you heard their objection. The easiest way to do this is to learn to automatically utter your “safety” word. It’s a word or phrase that you can use without thinking, when you hear an objection. It changes your train of thought from one of “wanting to correct the client” to one of “getting on their side”. Here’s a list of several “safety” words and phrases that I have my coaching clients use:
- without question
- very true
- you bring up a good point
- you’re right
- I agree
At first this will be very hard, as our natural instinct is to immediately “correct” them. Instead, get used to using one of these words or phrases to get you in the mindset of agreement and bringing down the client’s fight- flight symptoms.
Parrot back their objection in the form of a question
Again, in the spirit of changing your mindset and assuring them that they are among friends, we repeat their objection back in the form of a question. What I mean by that is to simply take what they’ve told you, and turn it into a question that they can answer with a YES! This is easily done by simply adding the following type of phrases to the objection:
- Isn’t it?
- Doesn’t it?
- Wouldn’t you?
- Shouldn’t you?
- Don’t you?
For example, if they say, “This does not give me enough liquidity.”
You could say one of the following:
- “You don’t want to get locked into something that’s not liquid, do you?”
- “It would be a big mistake to get locked into something that wasn’t liquid, wouldn’t it?”
You’ve accomplished three things by parroting their objection back in the form of a question.
- You startle them… In a good way. You see, they were prepared for you to fight back, but instead you agree with them. This breaks their disagreement mindset, and gets them listening again.
- You agreed with them. By doing so, they believe you must have their best interest at heart. Great minds think alike. We all like people who think like us. You’ve taken them from a posture of ready to fight you, to a posture of, “Hey, I like this guy.”
- And most importantly, you get them to say the magic word… Yes. See we’ve gone from them prepared to fight us, to them agreeing with us with one little sentence.
Get on their side
This last step of getting on their side takes a bit of practice. What you’re going to do is to start to argue their case for them. Start to tell them why their objection is absolutely correct. And remember it is… In their head. So climb into the clients head and argue their point of view for them. This does two things. First, it gets you thinking like the client… and if you want to be a very successful salesperson, learn to think like the client. Get out of your head and into the client’s head. Second, by arguing their point of view you’re solidifying the fact that you’re a “friendly” and not the enemy.
The best way to master this skill is in your car. Turn on the talk radio station. When you hear something you disagree with on the radio, turn off the radio and begin arguing for the point of view that you disagree with. Become an expert at arguing for a point you don’t agree with. Do this just 5 min. a day and within one month you’ll become a master at this skill. It’s not hard, it just takes some practice.
So at this point their fight- flight response has been eliminated, and so has yours. They know that you’re a “friendly” and not an enemy. But obviously, you are not any closer to overcoming their objection than when you began, right? Au contraire, you are much closer to overcoming their objection… Because now they’re of the mindset of respecting your point of view… Of listening to what you have to say… not immediately fighting everything that comes out of your mouth.
Now, both you and the client are communicating again and you can help them understand your point of view as well.
Another beneficial consequence of going through this three-step objection process is it puts some time between you and your client’s objection. Again, this is extremely important because nobody likes to be wrong. Going through this process will take generally around 5 minutes. This time works to our advantage. After those 5 minutes pass, we can pretend like we don’t remember they gave us an objection in the first place. The benefit of this is that when we share with them our point of view on why that objection is not in their best interest, we can all pretend like they didn’t give us the objection in the first place.
It’s much like the way we act in real life. If somebody who we like makes a mistake, the polite thing to do is to pretend like a mistake did not occur. We’ve all done this, haven’t we? Your date has some food stuck in their teeth, what’s the polite thing to do? You don’t blurt out, “Hey! You’ve got some food in your teeth!”
No, instead you mildly gesture, with your own teeth, signaling them that they have food stuck in their teeth. And then, we can all move on and pretend like an embarrassing moment did not occur. It’s the same thing we’re doing here by putting some distance between their original objection and our sharing why their objection is not in their best interest.
This three-step process of overcoming objection works on any objection, and will make you both a lot more friends and a lot more sales. And most importantly, don’t forget to use this new skill with your spouses!