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(You can also read all of this blog and Michael’s past articles by going to his blog page at www.csiconsultinginc.com)

Last month, I shared more about my LACE Objection Handling Process. This month, I’d like to talk about the “A” in the process. I believe it’s the most difficult to do and the most critical to the success of the process.

One piece I want to reiterate and reinforce is to think of objections as questions and, at worst, concerns. It’s important to have the proper mindset to execute against this step of the process. If you think of them as objections, it inherently creates a conflictual situation. Your goal is to come to a mutually beneficial solution, not win a battle or convince your customer or client that you’re right. That way you’re in a mindset to have a conversation about their questions and concerns and fully listen to and understand them.

When I ask most people what they think the “A” stands for, the first guess usually is “Answer”. That is what your customer or client is expecting you’re going to do. They are expecting you to try and convince them their point doesn’t have validity or that what you have to offer offsets their question or concern and immediately provide a solution.

I’d like you to do something that typically isn’t done. I’d like you to “Ask What Else”? What other questions or concerns do they have? You can acknowledge their question or concern. You can’t respond to their question or concern until you get all their questions and concerns on the table.

Why would you do that? Wouldn’t your customer think you’re avoiding their question or concern? To answer the first question, when someone has one question or concern, what is the likelihood they don’t have more than one? Probably very low. As well, if you start to respond and they have other questions and concerns, what is the likelihood they are fully listening to your response? They’re going to be thinking about their other questions and concerns.

The biggest reason you would ask what else is they are expecting a battle or for you to minimize their position or prove you’re right. By acknowledging and asking what else, it allows them to relax and breathe because they now know that you actually do want to listen to their questions and concerns and hear them out.

Another key benefit is for you to be able to work towards a mutually beneficial solution you need to fully understand all of their questions or concerns. If you don’t, you may resolve one of them and because there are still other issues pending, there are still roadblocks to working together that you are unaware of.

With respect to the second question, “Wouldn’t your customer think you’re avoiding their question or concern?” it’s a fair question. And I can tell you that for me and my clients it’s never happened. They’ve never felt that way. In fact, the opposite happens. They feel heard and are grateful you want to fully hear them out and do so in a non-defensive or conflictual manner.

In my next blog, we’ll move into the “C” of my LACE process for addressing your customer or client’s questions and concerns.

Each month you’ll receive more information in the areas of sales, leadership and presentation skills. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help your company improve its success with respect to sales, presentation skills or leadership coaching and development.

Michael Levin is President and CEO of Custom Solutions Inc.  He trains in the areas of Sales, Leadership Development and Presentations Skills. His clients include Pepsi Cola, Oracle, Clorox, McKesson, New Belgium Brewery, Cal Weld, Hexcel as well as a significant number of small to mid-size firms.

He has launched multiple product and service companies and grown them into multi-million dollar entities.  His products have been sold in every major retail drug and mass chain in the country and been featured and recommended in “O” Magazine.

Michael is the author of “Sitting on the Same Side of the Table:  The Art of Collaborative Selling. He is also a co-author of Jack Canfield’s (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) upcoming book, “The Success Blueprint”.  He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows around the country sharing his knowledge and processes and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.

You can find out more information about Michael and his company at www.csiconsultinginc.com. Michael can be reached at mlevin@csiconsultinginc.com.