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How To Handle Objections Like The Politicians Do

11 January 2012 4 Comments

To see a fresh approach about how to handle objections during a sales presentation, smart sales professionals can take lessons from smart politicians.

You share a lot of goals with them, but they have one big drawback that most marketers never face; the politician has nothing real to give the person at the time he is seeking something quite real from them, like money, votes and support.

The politician takes a four-step approach to handling challenges.

First, listen to the objection carefully. Don’t rush to meet the objection head on. Don’t let the fact that the question interrupted your momentum and the flow of your presentation annoy you into a curt or dismissive comment. The best approach in how to handle objections always begins with the phrase, “Yes, and….”

Next, refine and narrow the question with your own questions. This uncovers the real scope of the objection, as opposed to only rhetorical challenges. It also exposes and isolates the person who is simply opposed to your presentation on general principles, as distinct from the person open to compromise and persuasion. You can restate the question, but never distort or minimize it. This is a tactic used by desperate meeting facilitators and hard-sell artists, and most people recognize it, even if only unconsciously.

There’s a point where you want to suggest a “lay all your cards on the table” approach which gives you clear targets and paints the challenger into a corner with his own words. This is key to how to handle objections, because once his points are addressed he cannot honestly bring up new ones. “Is fuel mileage your only concern with this car, or do you just not like its looks?”

By now you should be seeing a solution. Use positive phrases, such as “Yes, that is a very important question that leads to an equally important point we are making about our product…..” Most politicians have a deep supply of such stock phrases they can roll slowly off their tongues when most of their brain cells are working quietly on the final details.

Finally, frame your answer in the form of a solution for everyone. Stress what you give up, like a discount or an added feature. You’re being reasonable and more than generous, so invite the challenger to do the same. Seek confirmation that your answer is understood and accepted.

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