You’re rolling happily along in the sales conversation, you’ve established rapport, uncovered some potential needs and then… resistance!
Naturally, this is the time to give up and run for the hills, right? Wrong!
If you’ve already established some trust and your prospect is still talking, when they express an objection, this is actually an indication that they are taking you seriously. They are at least somewhat interested and are now ‘trying on’ your offer energetically. They’re feeling it out. Objections are their way of testing it for a fit.
Most sales training suggests that you come to every prospecting conversation armed with a book of rebuttals; a snappy answer to each objection or concern that will be next to impossible to refute. Certainly it’s important to do your due diligence and have fact-based answers for the most common concerns – but that’s where the usefulness of the training ends.
If you’ve been doing your best with your list of rebuttals and find that many of your sales conversations fall off the rails when an objection comes up, you’ve seen for yourself that the list is not enough to get the job done.
So what’s missing?
Rebuttals don’t take into consideration your prospect’s emotional investment in their objection. Until you deal with this, the wittiest comeback will get you nowhere.
Here is a proven, field-tested method for navigating the emotional resistance that comes up in a sales conversation:
The Objections Two-Step
Step One: Acknowledge the concern and emotions you hear.
When your prospect expresses their objection this is a critical turning point in the conversation. They are listening carefully to your response because they are in that ‘trying on the offer’ process. They are not ready to change their mind yet. Instead, at this point they need to be sure they were heard.
Step Two: Ask an open question to understand more.
This will allow your prospect to verbalize their concern fully. You build trust by listening well and demonstrating that you’re not just about the sale. The question will also uncover more detailed information about their concern that you can use to respond more effectively.
Repeat the two steps as needed.
Think of these steps like a loop. When you hear the answer to your Step Two question, you’ll need to pop back up to Step One and acknowledge the response. Do this a couple times in the conversation and you will be amazed at how solid the rapport and trust is between you.
Did you notice that in these steps you haven’t given your rebuttal at all? That’s deliberate. Until you address their emotional investment in the concern they aren’t ready to listen to your answer. Once you’ve done the two-step, they will be able to hear and absorb your recommendations.
A heads-up for you. It takes some concentration to permanently shift your approach to objections. That’s because when we hear an objection, to our mammalian brain it registers as something we need to defend against. And in a sales conversation, your rebuttal is your defense.
I’ve worked with thousands of advisors and entrepreneurs over the years on this, and the first few times almost every one reverted right back to their old pattern of rebutting.
Be patient with yourself and keep at it. Very soon, you’ll notice that you’re responding instead of reacting. You’ll be able to maintain rapport while discussing their objections, you’ll calmly and confidently deal with them and you’ll close more business!
Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach for the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business. Click here to find out more about Kira.