In B2B sales, we are expected to do a lot of convincing, teaching, consulting, and, well, communicating. So, why are sales people so threatened by objections?
First, let’s talk about an age-old practice of handling objections. The buyer challenges the seller. The seller hears it as an objection and provides a well-rehearsed response.
But, what does the buyer make of this seemingly rehearsed response?
At some level, they're aware that the salesperson has been trained to anticipate this challenge and to provide a well-rehearsed response. If it’s a good and sincere retort, the buyer will consider the reply carefully. If not, they will dismiss it out of hand.
Most of the time, buyers don't believe they are giving objections. For the buyer, they are simply asking for clarification because they are confused or concerned about something.And, this confusion must be tended to before a decision can be made. If the salesperson didn't understand the intent of the challenge, a less-than-optimal response will be given.
So, Why Are We Threatened By Objections?
Isn’t it better for the salesperson to question if what they heard was the same as what was meant?
If the seller needs to make the sale, then all interactions will match to this frame of reference.
Similarly, if the buyer needs to weed out imperfections in the seller’s arguments, then their context is to keep their guard up until the seller has passed their internal tests and proved the solution is worth buying.
Most of the time, these conversations are kept to ourselves.
But, what if they became known to each other?
And how could each party understand where someone is coming from? What if each party came from a sincere intention to explore and determine if there’s a match? Doesn’t this enable a legitimate yes or no decision?
Yes, it’s the buyer’s decision to buy the solution. But if this act is the final step in a flawed process, then effective buying was not enabled.
The remedy is to employ workability and the first step is being transparent.
In an ideal world, the conversation might sound like:
“Could we have an honest conversation where you might decide to buy what I’m selling?”
We won’t speak this way because of the fear of negative perceptions.
“I can’t say that – it would be offensive,” “who the heck is this person and what right do they have to ask me this question?” “this is weird,” “this sounds pushy,” etc.
Given the right context, it’s quite acceptable. In fact, it's perfectly in tune with the context of honesty, straightforwardness, and transparency.
We would, however, adjust the language to conform to social norms. By keeping the basic truth in mind (meaning we seek an objective, honest decision), “objections” are less likely to be threatening.
Being threatened by objections is merely an example of misaligned contexts.
A buyer would consider the utterance of an objection as a challenge, a question, or point of clarification. It could also indicate disagreement or disapproval. If the seller doesn’t know which and doesn’t put it in the right context, then they're doing “enabling buying” a disservice.
In its current state, the world of buying and selling is rarely open to this level of bare-boned dialog.
But what if it were?
Handling objections effectively is key to positioning yourself as the ultimate-solution provider. Are your sales reps threatened by objections? Let's get the conversation started in the comments.