I just saw the term, “Objection free selling.” In fairness to the person raising the issue, I didn’t read the article, so I’m not certain the premise or his position.
It was the phrase that caught my attention, making me flashback on my own history of dealing with objections.
At one point, I feared them. I did everything I could to avoid them. I’d prepare, I’d anticipate questions and concerns. When the inevitable happened, when the customer raised an objection, I thought I had failed. Somehow the act of raising an objection meant that I hadn’t convinced them, that they were disagreeing.
Part of my concern was, to some degree, objections seemed to create a conflict, I thought sales people should avoid conflict, aligning with the customer and getting them to align with you.
As I grew more experienced and confident in my capabilities as a sales person, I embraced objections. It seemed an opportunity to demonstrate how smart I was. Getting an objection and “handling” it gave me a feeling of superiority—almost as if I were competing with the customer, challenging them with, “Give me everything you have, I can deal with all of it.”
At one point I got cocky, if I wasn’t getting the objections from the customer, I would raise them myself, then answer them. I’d do something like, “You might be thinking this……, Well that shouldn’t be a concern because of that…..”
At one phase, I thought not getting an objection meant I had so “wowed” the customer, they couldn’t think of anything to disagree with. But then I realized, if I had completely wowed them, why wasn’t I getting the order?
I’ve come to be at peace with objections. Neither provoking them nor avoiding them. I no longer view objections as a battle of wits to demonstrate superiority over the customer, eventually winning them over through the power of my knowledge and to leave no question or concern unanswered.
I’ve come to embrace objections—they are a natural part of conversations, they are a natural part of learning. We all have differing points of view, opinions and experience bases. We have different goals, priorities, and needs. In selling or working with our colleagues we will misunderstand, we will disagree. But it’s the process of exploring these, aligning our views and goals that enables us to engage customers deeply on things important to them. It maximizes our ability to create value with them.
The objection is really an expression of engagement by the customer. We don’t want to provoke them artificially just to demonstrate how smart we think we are. But the objection shows the customer is involved, thinking about the discussions, and they care enough about the conversation to raise an objection of different point of view.
In fact the concept of “objection free selling,” is quite frightening. To me, it’s an indicator they don’t care and they aren’t engaged.