bearIf you are selling something, what is the best way to overcome a prospective customer’s objections?

My answer is simple: don’t.

Let’s look at a real-life example: this morning, I just got off a phone call that went something like this:

Them: “Hi, this is the Big Business Referral Service. Potential customers often contact us for recommendations, and we are glad to inform you that R.S. Gallagher and Associates is a candidate for being listed by us.”

Me: “Thank you for calling. I am a one-man consulting firm, and R.S. Gallagher and Associates is just my business name for when I write for people. My clients all know me pretty well, and I don’t really do any marketing, so I wouldn’t be …”

Them (cutting me off): “Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re small!”

This is how many sales people view overcoming an objection (including the idiot who trained this caller). I call it an invalidating conversation. I tell you how I feel, and you respond by yeah-butting me and shutting me up to try and make the sale. Did this approach stir me to action? Absolutely it did – I hung up on her.

In my world, there is only one successful way to overcome objections: totally acknowledge them with gusto. Completely blow the other person away by establishing instant credibility with them. Then – and only then – explore alternatives that benefit them. For example:

  • Your product is too expensive? The first word out of your mouth should be that absolutely, it does cost a lot. Then discuss where it might make the most sense for them, if it really does make sense.
  • Your consulting services might not help? Own their concerns. Believe it or not, you might even give them an example of where you did crash and burn, and why. Then show them examples where you hit a home run.
  • You’re too new on the market? Tell them you would worry about someone’s track record too. Then ask them what makes them feel comfortable about working with someone.

Now let’s go back to my call. If I were calling you … well, first of all, I wouldn’t be calling you, but that is another story … I would completely acknowledge your concerns and *then* makes my pitch.

For example, “Good point. Lots of small businesses don’t need to be listed with a service like ours. We also offer other benefits for businesses of your size, such as insurance and dispute resolution. Are these ever issues for you?”

Next time a customer says, “I object, your honor,” welcome the opportunity. Give them credit for their concerns, learn how they are thinking, show them that you get them, and explore how you might best benefit them.

Try this, and fewer people will object to doing business with you.