by Brad Roderick
“Man, it was an awesome call. I just met with this mega-company on a new deal and nobody raised a single objection! Crushed it. This is going to be a slam dunk.”
Those were the words coming from the guy at the next table. Ah, just another delusional sales rep chatting over coffee with a friend. Setting the, “crushed it” remark aside, let’s look at what just happened AND what is NOT going to happen.
“What’s the next step?” the buddy asked. “I’m not totally sure but it’s going to be good! They seemed like they were ready to go. They said they would get back to me after somebody reviewed the agreement … but they let me know that’s just a formality.”
I wanted to go over to their table, give the guy a big hug and say, “everything is going to be OK, little buckaroo. You have no chance of getting that deal, but there will be others.” Since this seemed like it might be a little weird, I pulled my headphones on and drifted away to the sounds of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Life on the Road.”
What is going to happen next? Could be one of several things. The prospect goes into the sales equivalent of the witness protection program and is never heard from again. It could be the, “They looked it over and it’s just not going to fly” email. Or maybe, “Everybody loved the idea but … (fill in the blank with “no budget,” “other priorities,” “the time just isn’t right,” etc.).
What is NOT going to happen is a closed deal. Bottom line: No objections = No chance. Period.
Why? Because in the realm of revenue generation, there are ALWAYS objections. Recently I read about a guy who offered to give $100 to anyone who gave him their email address. That’s it. $100 for your email address. Two people responded. Two. Why wasn’t he flooded with email names? Because there were objections! If you ask someone to do something (particularly if it involves their time or their money) there are almost always emotion/psychological/physical risks and reasons for the other person to not do it. And by the way, they probably won’t tell you why … even if they know it themselves. Which, frequently, they don’t.
Let me restate this: If you are selling something that involves asking another person to give you their time, their money, their trust, there will be reasons they may not want to buy. These are called “objections.” The ones they share with you, the “stated objections,” are the good ones. The “unstated objections” — those are the deal killers. They are silent, and they are deadly.
Libraries are full of ideas and suggestions on how to overcome stated objections so if that’s an area you need help in, there is a ton of material at your disposal. Look it up, practice it, apply it, refine it, repeat. Just make sure you don’t use the tips and tricks offered by those who choose the manipulation/belittlement approach. You may gain some short-term sales, but you will lose your reputation (with yourself and others). OBJECTIONS ARE NORMAL. OBJECTIONS ARE OK. Stated objections are FANTASTIC. STATED OBJECTIONS ARE NOT SOMETHING TO OVERCOME, THEY ARE CONCERNS TO ADDRESS.
UNSTATED objections, those are problems! Unstated objections are, quite literally, SILENT DEAL KILLERS. Let’s look at one way to uncover “unstated objections.”
- Ask, “Other than what we have covered, (list any open objections) are there any other things that could get in the way?
- Ask, “what else?”
- Keep asking.
- Restate the list for understanding and confirmation.
The key to doing this well is to keep it conversational and refrain from addressing ANY of these until you have exhausted their list. Keep digging for objections. Ask questions. Provide the prospect with the comfort level they need to speak honestly. Offer up “normal objections.”
Once you become an expert at uncovering “unstated objections,” prospects will never again hide; they will never again send a brush-off email. The will never again … OF COURSE THEY WILL! Learning to uncover unstated objections isn’t the secret to sales stardom, it’s simply another tool in your kit to help you deliver your solution to as many people as possible who will truly find value and become fans.
Remember, you won’t hear what you don’t welcome being said. The fact is that you will probably hear more, “Nos” than before, but that’s only because there will be much less silence.
Let me know your favorite approach to uncovering unstated objections.
Brad Roderick is executive vice president of InkCycle Inc. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He is an active member of the imaging industry as an author, trainer and speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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