When I think of overcoming objections, I immediately think about sales professionals and sales training. The fact is that sales training is a key skill for aspiring leaders whether you are in the sales profession or not. After all, objections are not only an exercise in closing a sale. Every leader experiences rejection. If you don’t have the skills to overcome the occasional “no,” you will have difficulty leading anyone or anything.
Untrained sales people will mentally and emotionally give up on making the sale. They become disheartened, and it shows in their eyes and in their demeanor. They tend to avoid eye contact with the buyer because they feel personally rejected. They will mumble their good-byes.
There is no way a sales person can know what the buyer means unless he stays engaged in the sales process and ask more questions. The word “no” isn’t a stop sign. It is more often a fork in the road. By asking the right questions about the “no,” you can determine which path to take from the point of hearing the “no.”
Objections are inevitable but should never be seen as a door slamming closed in your face. The key is to understand why the customer is objecting, you must take the time to uncover this if you hope to move forward in a mutually beneficial way.
Handling objections is a process of incremental stages starting from basic to advanced and all designed to help you win back those seemingly lost sales.
There are a lot of ways to turn a no into a yes, but you must wary of one strategy: mimicry. There’s a school of thought positing that if you subtly mimic people’s diction, body language and the like, you can subliminally create rapport with them. Somehow, they are not supposed to notice that you are mimicking them, nor be insulted or feel manipulated by it, and instead will suddenly realize that you just have so much in common that they need to do business with you.
If you are a salesperson, getting rejected is a daily occurrence. Yes, you have to get used to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it, or settle for every “no” your prospects throw at you. In fact, many of the most common sales objections are not as final as you might think.
Get A Clue
No doesn’t always mean no. Instead, often, it’s just an easier answer than, “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” or “I’m not ready at this moment to give you an answer.”
So your first step is to be able to ascertain whether a no is really just a way to buy some time. Small-business owners with whom you deal often resort to saying “no” because it saves time and is simply easier.
Steve Strauss an American entrepreneur said, he remember one time when he was speaking with the representative of a big franchisor about carrying his USA Today column on their website, and while they seemed interested, the gentleman eventually said no. But since he knew that they truly were interested, he pressed a bit when normally he would not have — was there something they needed, anything else he could offer? Within five minutes of him starting this casual, extra conversation, the gentleman decided that they really did want to carry the column, but they could not at the moment. They were his clients for the next five years. No does not always mean no.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
George Costanza’s famous breakup line is as applicable in business as it was on “Seinfeld.” If you hear “no” a lot too much it is probably a hint that you are doing something wrong. The challenge then is to zero in on what that thing is. It could be any number of items:
- Your pitch may be off, or too long, or not detailed enough.
- Your product could be too expensive, or maybe too mediocre.
- Maybe your offer has no compelling call to action.
The best way to figure this out is to share what you are doing with a trusted colleague. Don’t try and figure it out in a vacuum, because that obviously has not worked given the feedback the market has given you. Ask the naysayer why he or she said no. Get some constructive criticism. The important thing is to get some feedback, learn from it, change things up, and get back out there.
Deal With the Objection
Zig Ziglar once said this about sales: “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust!”
That is a lot of “NOs”, a lot of potential objections. But by understanding that no may really mean a prospect is actually worried about some or all of the objections pointed out by Ziglar above, you will be armed with the ability to handle those doubts. If you forthrightly deal with their fears or objections, whatever they may be, then a no will not necessarily be “final answer.”
Make It Better
I saw Chicken Soup for the Soul author Jack Canfield speak recently. Canfield shared a principle that he uses to turn maybes and “NOs” into yeses. He calls it “10.” After he gives a pitch or proposal, he asks prospects, “Was my proposal a 10? If not, what would it take to make it a 10 for you?”
Don’t Take It Too Seriously
Having the right attitude about a no can really go a long way toward getting more yes. After all, what is a no except a prelude to the next yes? As they say, smile and dial, smile and dial. As long as you keep throwing stuff against the wall, something is bound to stick. Getting a clue of what their yes really means, it’s not you-it’s me, dealing with objection, making it better and don’t take it too seriously are the terse steps need to achieve the above goals.