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He who Tries to Justify Himself Incriminates Himself

Objection handling is like quicksand. Everything you do to try to get out, so often causes you to sink deeper. Everyplace you step into to try to avoid it holds you down deeper. When you cease struggling and diverting objections you can begin to provide the conditions to address them.

The French have a term, "Oui's excuse, s'arcuse." He who tries to justify himself incriminates himself. The idea is not to disabuse customers of their objections, it is to locate, isolate, and assess what is behind the stated objection. Customers rarely vocalize real objections. The idea is not to overcome objections, it is to transcend them.

Understanding objections will get you much quicker resolution (pro or con) than answering objections. Most objections reinvent themselves so employing hackneyed catchphrases are not very effective. Letting the customer express their objections without defensive posturing is very refreshing. "Sales resistance from the client or prospect gives you valuable insight into their thinking. Do not maneuver around the resistance, but get it into the open as soon as possible," says Tim Connor.

In sales it is your willingness to be vulnerable that can actually protect you from being attacked with objections. It is the strong defenses that sales people construct that can make them vulnerable to attack, because customers feel a need to go on the offensive when they think sales people are inflexible in their viewpoints. All that is valued has to be defended and fortified. However, when you engage a customer with a totally flexible position you are able to go with the flow and remain open to all possibilities.

The more you try to prove yourself through your petty objection handling, the more you set yourself up to be a little more intolerable. Never give up your right to be wrong and imperfect. As long as you do not hide the shortcomings of your offering you will be able to minimize resistance. Do not fear bringing up negatives and objections before your customer does. Nothing is worse than losing momentum when an intractable objection has been brought up in the 11th hour. "Total disclosure eliminates objections and creates relationships of trust," says Jacques Werth.

On the other hand, sales people unconsciously create resistance when they go overboard with product detail that is only positive. The more you give out one-sided information, the more likely the customer will have something to object to. Selling attracts resistance when one's whole sales strategy relies on output of information, instead of input of information. When you soft sell, ask a lot of questions, or undersell, you get a negligible amount of superficial objections. However, it certainly does not mean you will not get legitimate objections and doubts.

Classic sales people fault at pumping the customer only for good news, or positive information. They avoid any type of resistance, objections, or negative information at all costs. They have old-school notions that a "no" is not a "no," it is just a "timeframe," it is only a matter of time before they will be able to turn their customer around and sell them. God bless them if they can sell this way. More power to them!

"The classic sales person fears that by investigating the customer's objections he will discover they cannot buy. So he asks leading questions that wiill get the answers that he wants. Most sales people believe the measure of a good sales person is their ability to handle objections. But objections are not evidence of failure. They are nothing more than situational factors you did not focus on before recommending action," says John Costello. Keep in mind in the world of selling the time to win an objection is before it starts. No different than the time to win a war or a fight is before it starts.

No discussion on objections would be complete without touching upon price. The more time a prospect has to research, delay and self-educate, the less they need a sales person's value-added insight, and the more inclined they will be to buy on price.

Dealing with price pressure is more a function of managing information, and picking and choosing correctly the right opportunities, than it is a function of negotiating price. Sales people often lose the price war when they sell logically. It is less frequently about price when customers are buying emotionally, instinctively and by their gut.

"Hell, if the American consumer bought on price and price alone, they would not buy anything. Because doing nothing is always cheaper than doing something," says Bill Caskey. The reality is sales people who buy on price themselves will always be at risk at attracting disproportionately like-minded people. Like attracts like. Birds of a feather flock together.

"Price objections are not things to be overcome they are to be prompted," says Mack Hanan. Do not hide behind your value. Discuss it openly and early. Walk away from customers who are price shoppers. To make good deals you need to be willing to lose bad deals.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com