“Until you can sell it nothing else matters”. -
What does the above statement mean exactly?
Well in a nutshell it means that you can have the greatest product, service, idea or life changing information but if you cannot sell it, it will not serve you well. In life - and specifically in business - your ability to sell will be the greatest attribute that you have. But you know this already.
(You do know this already right?)
This is known as an objection. The English dictionary defines an objection as “a reason or argument offered in disagreement, opposition, refusal, or disapproval”.
“I need to think about it.”
“I'm not sure.”
“I need to talk to my wife.”
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you’ve heard an objection. It’s part of the process. But one of the things that separates great salespeople from mediocre ones is the ability to overcome objections.
Now let me be clear. This is isn’t a blog post filled with scripts that you can use to diplomatically debate with your prospect or customer. Those are a dime a dozen. You can find that stuff just about anywhere on the Internet. This is different. What ’m going to share with you here are ten unconventional objection killers that are designed to subconsciously help overcome the hurdles that stand in your way from gaining compliance.
There are actually ten more which I reveal in my program Universal Influence: 101 Ways To Influence Anyone.
Killer #1 - Belief Affirmation
Dealing with objections is very common in the world of influence. Objection is the twin brother of agreement – there really is no way to have one without the other. This doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to losses and defeats; you just have to know how to entice agreement (instead of objection). The easiest way to handle objections is by avoiding them in the first place. You see, people hold their core beliefs and principles sacred. They have to protect these beliefs because these ideas represent stability in a person’s life. Attempting to change them on the spot will cause the other person to become overly defensive. To avoid the situation where you have to engage in verbal fencing with a defensive influencee, I suggest that you find as many values and beliefs to reaffirm before making your offer. Because as you agree with another person’s beliefs, his defenses go down until he no longer feels threatened by your presence or your ideas. A person would slam the door on a stranger who’s offering the fountain of youth – but a person would never say no to a best friend who has cooked up a crazy idea. I want you to strive to become your subject’s ‘best friend’ during the conversation. I want you to make the subject as comfortable and trusting as possible so you can avoid objections. Of course, there would still be objections but as a person becomes more and more trusting, he would find fewer and fewer reasons to object to what is being laid out on the table. Avoid debates that directly counter the subject’s longstanding beliefs – even if you win, your subject will never forgive you for debunking his belief. It’s better to harmonize with subject as much as possible – arguments only create friction and distance between you and the subject.
Killer #2 - Outcome Focusing
When a master influencer comes across a truly reluctant subject, he must not feel even an iota of despair because even the most reticent subject can be gradually drawn out from their defensive stance and fully influenced. If your influence groundwork is falling apart, you need a more robust system of persuasion. In this section I’m going to share with eight simple steps that will counter most objections by focusing on the outcome of the transaction between you and the other party.
1. Identify the problem that your offer can solve. You have to be very specific here because wary subjects tend to ignore generalizations even more. Be specific about the issue or problem that you can help solve.
2. After identifying the problem I want you to show the subject what would happen if this problem continues and he does not do anything to resolve it. Showcase the negative outcomes (i.e. extra costs over time) that will result from inaction.
3. Ask the subject what type of resolution or outcome he wants to see after being confronted with the issue or problem.
4. Ask the subject what would happen if he chooses to solve the problem.
5. Ask the subject again if this new route (the resolution) is really what he wants at the moment. 6. Think of the long-term effects of the solution that you are offering the subject. Will it really help the other person or will it benefit only you in the end?
6. Reevaluate. If you think your solution won’t help in the long-term you have to make this clear to the other subject so he won’t have any undue expectations.
7. If the subject gives an answer that doesn’t completely align with what you want to hear, don’t be too quick to judge. Hear him out and try convincing him again.
8. Never insinuate or state that the other person’s beliefs are wrong. You will only open a can of worms each time that you do that. Harmonize instead of creating more friction.
Killer #3 - Peak Experience
Humans have a funny way of processing and remembering events. If a person enjoyed something, even if it were just ten minutes of relaxation, he would remember that for as long as he lived. But if he were enjoying something and that enjoyment was interrupted for even a short period of time, he would remember the end-experience (which is negative) and forget all about the previous pleasure or enjoyment that he had experienced prior to the negative end-experience. This is by no means an obstacle to influence but rather, it is a window of opportunity. If someone says no to your offer, backtrack just a little bit so you can ask questions that would later erode the resistance of the subject. If your offer was rejected at first, I want you to ask the subject about his last experience with your competitor. A competitor is any person (or business, if you are a business person) that was previously associated with the subject. Slowly draw out their negative experience and what happened after they had that negative experience. At this point in time, your subject will slowly remember the negatives more than the positives because that is simply how the human mind operates. After drawing out the negative experiences from your competitor, slowly lead the subject to what you have to offer and what you can do so that he will never have such negative experiences every again (if he chooses to stick with your offer). Just make sure that you can back up your claims with action; otherwise, the subject will most likely leave you again after having a bad experience. You can use this tactic to transform a “no” mindset into a “yes” mindset. It might take some time to take effect, but it will eventually work. And it can be used in any situation, too!
Killer #4 - Harmonize
When an influencer is operating on full power, he usually views the subject as a direct target. The influencer will do everything in his power to disprove the other person’s beliefs about what is being offered at the moment. The result of such all-out attacks is usually utter failure. Because no matter how hard you insinuate that a person is wrong for holding certain beliefs, that person will simply ignore you – or worse, fight you until the very end. And we know what that means for influencers. Influencers are at a disadvantage because if the subject walks away, the influencer walks away with nothing but tension and disappointment. So here’s my advice to you when you are faced with the task of persuading someone who is unmoving in his beliefs. Don’t tell the other person that he’s wrong. Don’t tell him that he has been holding ineffective or false beliefs all his life. Don’t say that you are in the right and he’s utterly wrong. Instead, harmonize with the other person and ask him to imagine himself performing something for you by accepting another belief. The subject must realize himself what he can gain by accepting your offer. And if his beliefs are getting in the way, you must loosen those deeply embedded beliefs by providing beliefs of your own. Beliefs eventually lead to target behavior. Your goal is to change someone’s belief so that his behavior will also change. You can’t change a person’s behavior for the long term if his beliefs remain the same. Your subject must experience for himself what would happen if he changed his beliefs. You become more than an influencer – you will actually be instructing and guiding the person as he transforms his deeply rooted beliefs. That is completely different from just saying that the other person is wrong. Doing that will clearly get you nowhere – fast.
Killer #5 - Avoid Option Attachment
There are three things that you would always want to avoid when you are pitching an idea, product or service: buyer remorse, anticipated regret and the worst of the three, option attachment. Buyer remorse takes place when the person regrets having purchased something from you. Anticipated regret is the decision to not buy anything because the buyer feels that he will only regret it later on. Option attachment is the deadliest of the three because it can leave a potential buyer paralyzed with indecision for a very long time.
What is option attachment anyway? Option attachment happens when a person is faced with two options that he finds very attractive. To the decision-maker, choosing one would mean losing the other good option and so choosing would actually equate with instant loss. The option-attached individual would also feel that if he chooses one, the other option would probably look tantalizingly attractive a few days later. Faced with this loopy conundrum, the option-attached subject will think about the two options to no end – but he will not make a decision anytime soon. To the influencer, option-attached individuals represent uncertainty and a potential dead end. You can remedy this problem in two steps. First, you have to make sure that during the dialog, the subject will not grow fond or attached to any other option that you present (in the effort to explore both sides of the coin). To be safe, showcase an inferior option so that it would not be logical to be found of such an option at all. The decision-making stage should also be as quick as possible. Lead the subject to say yes; don’t wait for him to say yes because if you allow him to do that he might grow even more attached to options that you presented him. The second step has something to do with the options involved in your discussion. Don’t start with the better option (which is your offer). Start with the poorer option and then transition as fast as you can to the better option. Don’t let the subject develop a connection with the option that will ultimately be discarded.
Killer #6 – Behavioral Scripts
Behavioral Scripts Objections arise because the subject is unsure where to go – the ‘default’ response to uncertainty is disagreement. Disagreement is equated with stability and avoidance of change. Change can either be good or bad – but humans instinctually associate change with negative consequences so that’s another obstacle that you should prepare for. If you do encounter a staunch objection, you can try behavioral scripts to modify the cause of the negative behavior, which is just the belief of the person regarding a particular issue or object. Here’s an example of a behavioral script: “You open your email in the morning to find that you have made three hundred sales in just one day. You also receive a report that your store has been restocked and your website is in fine working condition. You don’t have to worry about a thing anymore as you prepare for a fine day with the family. We take care of everything, night and day for you.”
When you give a person a script to work with, you are actually giving the other person instructions as to how he can modify his own behavior. He might not understand the nature of the script, but that’s how it works. The best thing about behavior scripts is that people tend to repeat the script even after the meeting. This is influence in action. Your words and your intentions stay with the subject even if you are not there with them anymore. However, in order for a behavioral script to be truly effective you must instruct the subject to imagine himself in the ideal situation. It won’t work if he imagines some John Doe getting all the benefits of your offer. He must experience the benefits in his own imagination so that the effect and impact of the script will linger for days. In your next meeting, try asking for compliance again – you might be surprised with the subject’s answer then.