Webster’s Dictionary defines an “objection” as a reason or argument presented in opposition, or a feeling or expression of disapproval. Therefore, when a client “objects” to something we are saying, it doesn’t create the nice, friendly relationship we want. Too often, we think of a client statement as a roadblock to moving forward.
And so we are all taught early in our careers how to “deal” with the “objection.” Think back for a moment to your beginnings – remember what you were told? We must overcomeobjections, of course. Let’s look at the definition of that word: to get the better of.
Once again, here’s a definition that is not conducive to building a long-term client relationship. Yet we are taught that “overcoming” the “objection” is the primary way we can “close” the sale.
But what if all we were taught turned out to be the reverse of what was true?
Think of the last time you decided to make a large purchase, like a car. Did you have an “objection” to the price? Was it too high for what you felt came with it? That sounds like you were concerned with the value you would receive for what you would pay. To paraphrase Warren Buffet, the price is always too high in the absence of value. You were legitimately concerned with the price of that car, weren’t you?
How about when you last bought a terrific pair of shoes? In the buying process, perhaps you found flaws in the workmanship, didn’t like the color, or thought it didn’t fit your foot correctly; then you ultimately objected to the price. In reality, these were legitimate concerns about how long the shoe would last, whether its color would match the clothing it was supposed to be worn with, whether you’d end up limping after a full day’s wear and whether, given all those concerns, you were being ripped off.
Traditional sales training says that “objections” must be “overcome”- — that we must convince the client to convert to our side, and if objections are presented, they are a sign that the client is not willing to buy. What if the opposite were true?
If we change our mindset and view “objections” as legitimate concerns which we would have if we were in the client’s position, we no longer have to get them on our side. Instead, we have to join them in their view and figure out how to answer their concerns instead of “overcome their objection.”
When we become aware that concerns are a legitimate part of the evaluation process, we realize that the reason the client has concerns is that she is imagining herself owning our product (that’s a lot better than our imagining that she’s is not willing to buy!). Therefore, she has concerns, ones we would share if we were in her shoes and had her knowledge and experience instead of our own. This is a 180-degree shift in thinking, and as a result, it’s a much more effective way to connect with the client and make a sale.