What is the part of a sales call we hate the most? Handling objections. And why do we hate it? There are many reasons. The most obvious is they get in the way of us closing a sale. It is also a time of stress potentially for both us and our customer as neither side necessarily wants conflict. To counter this, I have developed a 4‐step methodology that not only helps you welcome objections, it also helps remove the conflict.
Let me share an example with you as to how this works. You go home to your significant other. You walk in the door and you know immediately something is off. You ask the perfunctory question “Honey what’s wrong?” What is the worst response you can get back?
The answer I always get is “Nothing.” And why is that? Because what do you do with nothing? You can’t solve “nothing.” You can’t talk about nothing.
And why do they say nothing? Because all too frequently they think one of three things is going to happen. The first is you’re going to fight. The second is you’re going to tell them why they are wrong. Or third, you are going to try and fix it for them.
The goal is to help them feel comfortable that none of those three things are going to happen. If you immediately react emotionally and do something like fold your arms and say “What’s wrong now?” you know where that’s going. And it isn’t somewhere good.
You need to make them feel comfortable that you really want to listen. Whether it’s your significant other or your customer, they need to know you are sincerely interested in what they have to say. For example, with your significant other, you could say something like “Honey, I can tell something’s really bothering you. Why don’t we open a bottle of wine, sit down and talk.” Your body language needs to be open, your voice needs to be relaxed, and they need to feel you are truly ready to hear what they have to say.
With your customers it’s the same thing. Tying it back to my “Sitting on the Same Side of the Table” philosophy in my prior article, when it comes time to hearing about objections, you want to create an atmosphere that encourages open dialogue. If you are sitting across the table from your customer, especially when it comes time to address their objections, you may create an atmosphere of you versus them.
As a refresher, if there are two of you on the sales side, you split up on opposite sides of the table, so your customers need to sit next to you. If there is just one of you, I prefer sitting on the diagonal, in order to remove the “us versus them” feeling and make it a conversation instead of a presentation.
Along with how you position yourself with your customer, I also want to change the vernacular. From a vernacular standpoint, I’m not a fan of the word “objection.” To me, that’s meant for a courtroom and negotiations and compromise. I prefer asking what questions prospects or customers have, and, at worst, what concerns they have. Even the mindset change helps reduce conflict and shift to a more collaborative experience. So, consider your terminology and your positioning at the table with your customer. With respect to virtual calls, be aware of your body language and vocal tone; your goal is to have your customer feel like you are sitting side by side to come up with a solution that is good for both of you.
The acronym for my 4 Letter Methodology for addressing Questions and Concerns is LACE. You can probably guess what the L stands for. It’s stands for Listen. It’s critical for you to be able to get questions and concerns on the table so you have the opportunity to discuss them and determine if there is an opportunity to work together.
Based on my Collaborative Selling Philosophy, is there a place that is good for both of us? To determine if there is, an open honest dialogue is essential. If you can focus on mutually beneficial outcomes, it sets you up for that conversation and for implementing my LACE methodology to address questions and concerns. I will share my full LACE methodology during my Keynote at the 4th Annual Sales Team Accelerator Retreat: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange in New York City in March — I hope to see you there!
Michael Levin is President and CEO of Custom Solutions. He has launched numerous companies and built them into multi-million dollar entities. He is a three-time #1 International Best-Selling author. His books include his #1 inspirational best seller, “Let Them See You Sweat,” along with “The Art of Collaborative Selling.” He is also co-author of Jack Canfield’s “The Road to Success.”
To learn more about his winning sales methodology, reach out to Michael via his website at michaeljlevin.com.