Some thoughts on sales objections. Just because an objection feels like a negative towards you, it doesn’t mean you need to react negatively to the buyer’s concerns.
One of the first things improv comedy students learn is to not negate the ideas of another student/performer on stage. The first one to initiate an idea, without a script, “wins” in the moment. The stakes will change eventually, but always in a positive way. It takes guts to be the first one on stage to speak up with an idea. Therefore, the person who did not initiate an idea is required to support his or her scene partner, even if he or she disagrees with the idea.
The goal is to build on the ideas and initiations together until the scene climaxes to a mutually satisfying ending. Each performer has the ability to change the direction of the scene to their liking but only if they add to the foundation of their their partner’s contributions. Otherwise, the one who negates looks like jerk.
Here’s an example of what an improv comedy scene might look like:
Person A: “Being here with you on the moon with you is everything I hoped it would be.”
Person B: “Yes, this is amazing being here on the moon with you and I’m so happy that we were able to get a reservation at the Luna Steakhouse while we’re here.”
Person A: “ The fact that you were able to get us a reservation makes me love you more than ever.”
Person B introduces a new idea that might not seem to fit. Since when are there steak restaurants on the moon??? Person A now has to support the new next new idea.
A new performer might not like the idea of doing a scene on the moon because they feel like they don’t know enough about the moon. But by supporting the idea and then adding something they like to it can create an interesting opportunity that both will have fun with it.
What if you embraced this same idea in sales conversations when your buyer throws you an objection you don’t like or know how to handle?
It’s so easy to take objections personally or to get aggravated because you think the objection is plain stupid. For this concept of “don’t negate” to work, you have to be willing to listen to your prospects, support their views and find ways to move the conversation in your direction by contributing new ideas. It’s a dance.
For example, a conversation could sound like this:
Person A: “We just don’t have the budget for this right now.”
Person B: “I totally get that. You’re not the first one to say that. And I have some ideas for how we can help you pay for it from the additional revenue you’ll generate (or expenses you’ll cut) from working with us.”
Person A: “I would love to hear about that because I would need to give that kind of information to my bosses.”
Validating and supporting the concern (idea) and then adding a new idea (solution) will make the buyer feel listened to and cared about. Together there will be a mutually agreed upon collaboration that benefits all.
Don’t show your initial frustration when you get push back. Embrace it and find ways to see objections as gifts to a win-win situation. Breathe. Listen. Take a beat. Collaborate. Win together!
- The Pivotal Leader Podcast – featuring interviews with thought leaders and CEOs
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- Spontaneous Selling 1.0