Objection Handling – The Achilles Heel of the Modern Sales Warrior
Sales professionals invest countless hours building out their
product knowledge, value propositions, business acumen and presentation skills.
They develop territory plans and account strategies, research their competition and develop competitive strategies, network, prospect, cold call and spend weekends and evening drafting proposals and configuring demonstration scripts; yet they universally neglect the most critical skill required to consistently close deals…..objection handling.
Capitulation Leads to Frustrating Features
On the surface objection handling seems simple enough….a prospect presents an obstacle in the sales process (“No, you can’t have a meeting with the business sponsor!”) and we change their minds with sound logic and dogged determination. In practice however, after a few futile attempts at changing the prospect’s mind, more often than not we capitulate and agree to follow a frustrating features/functions focused procurement process orchestrated by an external consultant or corporate plankton.
There is a school of thought that suggests sales professionals are poor at handling objections because the experience is rooted in rejection (though a somewhat socially acceptable and sterilized version of rejection) and therefore rests in the domain of the psyche; which could not be further from the truth.
Finding the Right Key
So if not from fear of rejection, why do seasoned, skilled, sales professionals collapse like cheap pup tents in a windstorm when faced with a simple predictable objection that THEY KNOW will surface in every single sales campaign? Because they’ve never been taught how to navigate the psychological path that lay beneath all prospect objections. Handling objections is definitely all about psychology, but it is in the prospect’s psychology, not ours, that you we find the key that unlocks the door.
They don’t trust you, they don’t like you
and they don’t see any value.
First and foremost, all stated objections are outright lies; for two reasons:
1) Prospects know that if they tell us the REAL objection, a legitimate one, we might successfully change their mind and;
2) All objections are predicated on a fear: fear of purchasing the wrong product, fear of being manipulated, fear of being embarrassed or fear of being marginalized; and there are more. All intensely personal fears and all emotionally charged.
So instead of sharing the truth; they don’t trust you, they don’t like you, they don’t see any value (but still need you participate in their selection process for political optics) prospects couch their fears in objections that sales professionals cannot overcome, (because they are false, like shadowboxing with a ghost) and eventually (usually sooner than later) you go away or at worst, behave as you are told.
Working Through False Objections
Like peeling back layers of an onion, sales professionals have to work through 2-4 false objections to finally uncover the legitimate one that is truly preventing the prospect from granting the request. While difficult at first, following a defined, predicable process (LACE – Listen, Accept, Commitment, Explicit Action) transforms a frustrating, inflammatory interaction into a mutually beneficial trust-building experience.
Not convinced? Tune in to my next blog for a deeper exploration of the LACE model and an explanation of how WE create all of our prospect’s objections.
– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.