Thursday, November 15, 2007

Embracing Objections

If you find yourself constantly dealing with or dreading objections late in the buying cycle then there's something you're not doing early in the buying cycle: you're not creating objections. You should be.

Embracing Objections:
Stress is caused by the things you don't do. One of the largest sources of stress among those who do not see themselves as natural salespeople is the conversations they are avoiding. An objection is a little like bad news in the investment world: if it exists, you want to hear it as soon as possible. If you ignore it, it only gets worse.

The Race to Object:
Once you become aware of the potential objection consider yourself in a race to see which party can first serve it up to the other to address. Let's say that you, the buyer, beat me, the seller, to the price objection - you get it on the table first. I can try to convince you that the objection is not real, or I can share my concern and try to hand it back to you. “I have the same concern. Reengineering your entire business development approach is not a trivial investment. It's a sound investment, but my experience is that of firms the size of yours, not all can afford my fee, which I require in advance.”

The Common Mistakes:
The wrong way for me to respond to your objection is the way I typically responded throughout the early part of my career: defer (“Let's not worry about price right now – I'm sure we can work something out if we get that far,”) cave (“I might be able to lower my fee,”) or shamelessly convince (“You really need to make this investment. Isn't there some way you can come up with the money?”)

It may seem counterintuitive to create objections when you see yourself in the business of overcoming them, but look at it this way: the objections are there anyway, and somebody has to address them. Why not ask the client to do it?

Just ask early. Start looking for reasons why it might not make sense to work together as early into the relationship as possible and then ask the client to address them before he asks the same of you. You'll find out which objections can be dealt with and which might be cause to part company.

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