Facing objections? Be like bamboo...

Facing objections? Be like bamboo...

In the Far East bamboo is revered as a sacred symbol. It may look small and weak but it will withstand high winds and storms far better than a rigid tree.  In a storm a large tree will stay rigid and will snap. The foundation of the bamboo is solid with a deep root structure, yet it will move and sway in the wind, never fighting against it. In time even the strongest wind tires itself out and the bamboo remains standing tall and still. It then has the power to spring back after adversity.

In a sales situation when faced with objections, it is easy to think that what you need to be is firm in your convictions and keep giving an opposing view – in fact to be just like a rigid tree. The conversation becomes a battle or a war of wills and the customer can become more and more resistant.

It is far more effective to be like bamboo. This goes in several stages…

  • Really listen - Not just pretend to listen – this is not a struggle, allow yourself to bend.
  • Acknowledge – Show you have heard – be respectful – show you have taken what they say on board (This is not a superficial process of saying ‘I hear what you’re saying BUT’)
  • Delve deeper – Ask gentle questions to help you understand where the customer is coming from. Lean in, be curious. You’re not going to be able to influence them until you have really understood them. Acknowledge what you find out.
  • Only then respond and offer an alternative view. Remember the power to spring back. You will be in a much better position to respond with the information you’ve gained.

Human beings are simple creatures. There is really only room for one idea in their brain at a time – especially if it is something they feel strongly about. By really listening and by showing you have heard the other person you will make room in their head for them to hear your idea.  If you refuse to listen they will hold onto their idea and become more and more attached to it.

The sales process has traditionally been quite an adversarial process. It has been quite macho and  about ‘winning’. That is fine in a situation where you are selling once and then never seeing the client again. Today however, the majority of companies want to maintain a long-term relationship with their clients and to sell to them over a period of years. Reputation and relationship are to be treasured.

This method described here is not only more effective in dealing with objections. It also allows you to maintain a respectful and cooperative relationship with the client. So it’s a win-win.

Tags in this article: leadership training, Leadership Training

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