Change Their Direction – Not Their Mind

By Tibor Shanto

No one likes objections when prospecting, rejection in any form is never fun, but when it cost you money and opportunity, it’s even worse. If you are in sales, you need to quickly figure out how to best deal with objections in a way that leads to more opportunities.  Some choose to hide from it, using things like e-mail, where the rejection is less direct, in the form of no response, to the first or 15th attempt; personally, I prefer to deal with objections to lack of engagement or silence, mostly because they need to be dealt with, the question is how.  Most people deal with the wrong element of objects, and in the wrong way to boot.

First, and the hardest, is not taking things personally.  This is hard when you are invested in your in your success, your product, and your company.  Add to that the Kool Aide you’ve been made to consume before they wound you up and sent you out to conquer, and it can be devastating when someone your convinced is the perfect profile or “persona”, dismisses you, your message, and your new improved never before seen disruptive thingamajig, without even a second of consideration.

I know I can tell you not to take it personally, but unless you’re Mr. Spock, it is probably better to focus on other elements you can better control.

One thing you can control, is how you choose to deal with the objection.  Most try the obvious, which is to change the mind of the person objecting, try to explain why they the prospect is misunderstanding, or in all too many instances, why the prospect is wrong.  Way to start a “relationship” – “Let me tell you why you are wrong”.

Your goal needs to be to change the direction of the conversation, not to change their mind, which what most sellers try to do.  First problem, only a small percentage of buyers are actually looking for what you are selling.  The large group, some 70% Status Quo, are not thinking about what you need them to be thinking about for your “pitch” to make sense.  As a result, their objection is not based around product or need, but more on their assessment that this does not apply to them at this time, and their primary goal at that point is to get back to work.  Worse, the harder we try to convince them that we have the only and best mouse trap they’ll ever need to deeper the hole we dig for ourselves.

The smarter alternative is to what the customer is trying to achieve, and pivot to that.  By focusing on Objectives, and impacts you have been able to help others, some similar some not, achieve, and deliver a positive impact on their business, independent of product; as I have urged you before, leave your product in the car, and go in as a subject matter expert, not a product rep.

By changing the direction of the conversation to things they do in fact care about.  (To answer your question, you would know that by looking at your 360 Degree Deal View).  By focusing on specific elements of the outcomes they are going for, and less on how they get there, you will change the direction of the call from their view of your product, to how they plan to achieve their objectives, objectives you introduced to the discussion, and how you are the one to get them there.