Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Objections

Let’s first understand where objections come from. It’s typically from two places. And, because people are never simple, there is a lot of gray in between the two opposites. At one extreme the objection(s) are completely emotionally driven. It (or they) can be unrelated to anything you said and instead be entirely due to the prospect’s psychological makeup. It is common for many people to offer up one or more objections simply because they need time to think and don’t like making decisions quickly. They are looking for comfort and time to gain confidence in their decision.

At the other end of the scale are objections relying entirely upon factual bases. In this instance they are looking for an organized, point by point, factual recitation of the reasons why the right choice is to choose you.

But, how do you know which it is? Or is it a combination of the two? Unless you are sure, the best practice is to split the difference and respond in a manner that honors both.

Before you even begin responding, remember the body language lessons from earlier! You must honor Gail’s emotional side. To do this you mirror her body language so she feels as comfortable with you as possible. If you are unsure what to do, default to a relaxed posture; sit back unless she is really energized and leaning forward, and even then only sit up straight and use a few mild gestures. Let her process the information and make the decision in her own way at her own speed. The important thing is not to “chase” her … you’ll just prolong the process because she’ll continue to move away – emotionally and physically – until she is ready to decide what to do.

You’ll respond to Gail’s questions in a low key, honest, straightforward and conversational manner. Do not become defensive or annoyed. Honor Gail’s words and feelings, e.g. “That’s a good question. Let’s take a look at this chart together and I can clarify this for you.” Blend in factual responses to each objection as appropriate, but don’t make your response overly detailed. Provide enough specificity so Gail can understand the points you are making, and if she wants to drill down any further she can ask.

Objections are a very common part of business development. They are best met head on in the manner described above. Far from being entirely negative, they frequently offer insight into what the prospect is thinking and where their priorities are.

The fundamental problem that causes objections that aren’t entirely emotionally based is that we have offered one or more solutions that either don’t address a need the prospect finds sufficiently important, or the solution we proposed is perceived as falling short in terms of efficacy or value vs. cost.

Finally, many studies have shown that when a prospect tosses up multiple objections (assuming you have done a reasonably competent job identifying their priorities and offered reasonable solutions and value) that they are objecting emotionally and simply stalling for time. If you receive multiple objections I recommend you don’t allow yourself to get bogged down. Don’t let No Decision become the decision of the meeting because you ran out of time. Address the one or two that you judge to be the most important and then proceed without responding to those you have decided are minor. The odds are that if you do this Gail won’t bring the others up again; they were just to stall the process while she gathers herself up to make a decision.

In the next post we’re going to begin talking about the Moment Of Truth this has all been leading up to: How do you get the prospect to actually hire you to perform accounting services for them? In sales parlance, it’s time for The Close.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Nice article Craig, and if possible, I would like to schedule a time to speak with you about ProfitCents. My email is larry.long@sageworksinc.com and my direct line is 919-851-7474 ext. 507. Thanks.

Larry