Objections by Jeb Blount [Book Summary]

When we talk about improving your sales performance, there are few ways that work for everybody; the product you’re selling and who you’re selling that too will decide what answers will let you change more people into paying customers. But, there is one huge exception: objections. Every salesperson in the world, regardless of where or how they work, must face people saying no them.

That’s where these chapters come to play. Taking on understandings from psychology, and from Jeb Blount’s a sales consultant decades of experience, you’ll know how to handle effectively objections at each phase of the sales process. From the prospect who says to you he’s really busy to talk, to the almost-buyer who says to you that she needs more time for her to think through, you’ll learn how to change that stubborn no into a keen yes. These chapters expose what your prospective customer is actually thinking of during your discussions and expose the secrets of moving even the most unwilling buyers through the sales pipeline. 

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Chapter 1 – Arguing with prospective customers only causes frustration.  

If you’re a salesperson, you may have seen the excitement of working with a potential customer over a period of time, offering them numerous presentations on the advantages of your product or service, and making any problems less serious as you direct them on the sales process. Unluckily; also, it’s likely that you might have had this experience: right at the moment of truth, rather than signing on the dotted line, that potential customer says to you that they need time to think things through. 

Circumstances like this are really frustrating. You haven’t sealed the sale, and you’ve been deceived with a vague excuse that doesn’t actually clarify your prospect’s reluctance at this late phase. 

You as a salesperson want your prospective customers to be as precise and honest about their uncertainties as they can. If they mention what the issue is to you, then you can deal with it effectively and carry on with the sale. 

However, if not, and you see yourself in this tough situation, take a deep breath, think thoroughly before you take any action, and take time to know the reason why your prospective customer is being really hesitant.

To start with, your prospect views things really differently from you. They’ve most likely had previous experiences with forceful salespeople that argued, attempted to prove them wrong, and pressured them into buying. Having these experiences in mind, there’s just one thing they can do to prevent being pressured or even bullied by you: keep their reasons really unclear that you won’t be able to criticize them and start arguing with them.

This doubting situation has arisen because of the shared belief among salespeople that you “shouldn’t take no for an answer.” Though this persistent attitude is essential, the manner that a lot of salespeople practice it by arguing with hesitant prospects until they ultimately break down and purchase it.

Arguing with your prospective clients is extremely counterproductive. Psychological research states that the more we say to people that they’re wrong, the more likely they are to abide by their opinions and assert that they’re right. This occurrence is called psychological reactance and research claims that the consequence continues even when people are shown strong proof that opposes their view. Therefore, the more you explain to your prospect that their doubt is incorrect, the more they’ll tell you it isn’t.

Luckily, there’s a better approach; one that enables you to handle your prospect’s worries without it leading to conflict. We’ll learn about that in the next chapters.

Chapter 2 – Change prospecting objections by knowing your prospective customer and making a cliché-free script. 

The first phase towards having a sale is regularly the most uncomfortable: knocking on someone’s door or calling a person on the phone totally uninvited. People’s first answers are generally negative – the majority of the prospective customers will basically say to you that they’re busy and suddenly cut the discussion off. Therefore, how can you change these first negative answers, or prospecting objections, into meaningful relations that might ultimately lead to a sale? 

First of all, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed by all the various kinds of ‘nos’ you’ll get when making cold calls or visits. Sales teams who consult the author regularly tell him that they receive a virtually countless number of reasons for people’s first hesitancy to participate. However, this hardly turns out to be true.

As a matter of fact, as soon as these teams take the time to scrutinize the reasons that prospects provide for not engaging, they discover that the majority of these are the same problems conveyed differently. For instance, when a potential customer says “I’m happy,” that’s regularly the same with “your rival is doing us well already.” 

As a matter of fact, there are a few reasons why a prospect will reject your advances. Also, each and every industry has its own set of basic prospecting objections, 80% of which are basically the same three to five main reasons for answering with no. 

Having this in mind, you can expect and get ready for the majority of the common prospecting objections before you even call. The best manner to do this is to write down answers beforehand. Therefore, for instance, if you are aware that one of the most common prospecting objections in your field is “we’re happy already with our present provider,” or words related to that effect, then you are already aware of what your answer will be. 

With that answer and your script generally, avoid using clichéd sales expressions. Instead, attempt to confound your prospect’s hopes a little. If they say to you that they’re happy with their present provider, for instance, don’t say a cliché like “you’d be happier with us!” Rather, say something like “if you’re already happy then you definitely shouldn’t change to my company. However, I can give you a quote for you to at least make a comparison.” 

When you meddle with prospects’ hopes like that, you’ll also meddle with their usual pattern of behavior. Therefore, rather than telling you another immediate ‘no’ like they normally would, they’ll be more willing to engage with you and carry on with the discussion.

Chapter 3 – Red herring objections can ruin your sales meeting if they’re not handled properly. 

When you are speaking with a potential customer, you need to do more than only be ready; also, you have to keep the focus of the discussion where you want it to be. Derek was a salesman who had an encounter with the author to provide him a demo of his company’s software. Although, before the demo started, the author questioned Derek an apparently innocent question: “what is the cost of this software? It looks like it might be really costly for me.” 

Just within a few minutes, the meeting unraveled. Derek had been thrown a red herring objection and had no knowledge of how to deal with it. 

A red herring objection is a question or words your potential customer throws at you that makes you lose concentration and shift your attention away from your purposes. Red herring objections are anything like direct challenges such as “what is the reason why your firm’s reputation is really poor?” or words like “I’m also talking to your competitors.” 

In this previously mentioned meeting, Derek’s purpose was to wow the author with a great demonstration. Then, in an attempt to deal with the author’s red herring objection, he began concentrating on pricing instead. Since he was enforced to talk about prices earlier than he wanted to, and totally misunderstood, Derek immediately started sounding unconfident and defensive, making him get more probing questions from the author about the cost. 

You can prevent Derek’s error by making use of the tried and true method of Pausing, Acknowledging, Ignoring and Saving, or PAIS, to handle any red herring objections. Let’s look at what would have transpired if Derek had made use of PAIS during his terrible meeting with the author. 

Initially, when the author talked about the cost, Derek would have paused to gather his thoughts, rather than rushing into the wrong answer. After, he would have recognized the author’s objection, by just saying “I hear you” and jotting it down. Then, he would have tactfully disregarded it and distracted the author –maybe by asking him a question that is not related to it before continuing with the demo. Though this might seem risky, a lot of red herring objections are never asked again by the prospect after they’ve been documented. 

But, if Derek felt this was a significant objection that had to be dealt with; rather than disregarding it completely, he could have kept it for later on in the sales process, going back to it after the author was already swayed by the qualities of his product or service. 

Chapter 4 – Existing a sales discussion without deciding on the next moves will hinder your progress.  

When the author speaks to an under-performing salesperson and questions the salesperson on their pipeline of prospective customers, he gets answers such as: “this prospect seemed very interested. When the customer has time, she’s will call me about the next moves.” Even though this might seem somewhat positive, statements such as that make the author extremely frustrated. What is the reason? It is because they show the salesperson’s failure to win micro-commitments from their prospects. A micro-commitment is a minor; however, an essential next step that a salesperson and her prospect decide on before their discussion finishes.

For instance, when the first sales call is about to end, you might get the prospect to decide to offer you a tour of her company’s facilities. Deciding on micro-commitments is really essential because immediately your prospect leaves your present discussion, it is possible that she will forget about it. Hence, you can’t let her decide when to get back to you in the future. Rather, you need to decide on a particular action that both of you will agree to after the end of the discussion, and also a set date for when you’ll talk more again to go through those actions. 

Micro-commitment objections occur when your prospect refuses to reach an agreement to your suggested next move. These kinds of objections regularly happen because the prospect doesn’t see value in accepting your offer. For instance, she might say she’s given you the entire information you require to provide her a quote; therefore, she doesn’t see the need in offering you a tour of her company’s facilities. 

To change micro-commitment objections, you have to demonstrate to your prospect the value of your proposal. Perhaps you could say, for instance, that the facilities tour would give you a better understanding of how her company operates, which means you’ll be able to provide her a tailored quote that’s fitted to the needs of her organization.

Finally, as soon as you’ve changed your prospect’s objection by showing the value of the micro-commitment, remember to ask for it again. Finish your description of value by saying “so can we fix that facilities tour for coming Wednesday at 2 pm?” If you don’t do that, and your prospect exits the discussion with an unclear promise to inform you know when you can take that tour; meaning you’ll be in the same condition as the unfortunate salespeople who basically wait for their prospects to call them about next moves! 

Chapter 5 – Purchasing objections can be changed with a direct, five-step process.  

As soon as your sales process has moved forward, built in the micro-commitments you and your prospect have created together, the final phase is the crucial commitment: your prospect giving you his money, and purchasing from you. The stakes couldn’t be higher during this final step– for you, or for your buyer. Therefore, when you are faced with last-minute buying objections, be certain you deal with them in the right manner. 

Luckily, there’s a five-step process you can depend on to change objections at this late stage for good. 

Let’s assume, for instance, that just as your prospect is close to signing your contract, he says he wishes to discuss it with his boss first. Rather than jumping in and handling his objection, you should link to it first. For example, you could tell him, “absolutely, it’s essential that everyone included in this deal is involved.” Relating to him like that assures him that you know him and his needs. 

After relating with him, the next stage entails explaining his buying objection. 

Regularly, a prospect will talk about an objection that doesn’t really solve their issue; therefore, ensure that you’re dealing with the right problem. You could maybe say something like, “apart from discussing it with your boss, do you have any other thing refraining you?” After you have asked this open-ended question, your prospect may talk about a totally different and more essential uncertainty. For instance, he could share with you that, he just found out some secret costs to leaving his old provider. 

As soon as you recognize what his actual issue is, you can tackle it by minimizing his objection. You can successfully minimize his uncertainty by changing the focus of your discussion on the pain and issues he’ll experience if he doesn’t move forward with the contract today. If you are aware that he’s working towards a close delivery deadline, for instance, you could say to him “I am aware you need this working by the first of April. If we don’t seal today, I’m worried it will mean additional work for your team.” As soon as you have minimized his issues, you need to then ask for the deal again. 

However, there are some buying objections you cannot defeat, regardless of how hard you attempt. This is where your best decision is to use a fallback position, where you change your objective. Rather than sealing the deal, attempt to win a deal to a lesser commitment, like a trial phase of your product. This offers you the chance to take another run at the deal at a future date. 

Chapter 6 – The fear of rejection prevents a lot of salespeople from asking for what they need.  

The number one problem that’s preventing salespeople from attaining their actual potential isn’t what you most likely think it is. It’s not the inability of slick one-liners that close the deal or the know-how to handle tricky objections. Basically, the big problem refraining sales professionals is a failure to ask for what they need. 

Basically, sales are totally about asking for things, generally in the form of time, information or money from your potential buyers. For instance, when you first cold call a potential customer, you’re asking the person for her time and concentration. 

Unluckily, in spite of the fact that sales success hinges on confidently and constantly asking for what you need, many salespeople are really afraid to do that. Rather than strongly asking for what you need, they sneak around their needs, expecting that the potential buyer will just deal them up. Instead of asking to set that meeting on a particular date and time, for instance, the unwilling salesperson says weak statements such as “so I’m free if you’d like to meet” and afterward thinks on the reason why people never want to make meetings with him. 

What’s the source of this inability to request for things? Fear of rejection. 

When we openly ask for what we need, we risk the other person telling us no. We are not sure about how she’ll respond and are exposing ourselves to the risk of rejection. This entire risk, uncertainty, and exposure form a deep feeling of vulnerability – an emotion that humans certainly want to evade.

However, in order to be a great salesperson, you have to open yourself up to both vulnerability and rejection – not only one time; however, hundreds of times per day. For instance, the author remembers a time when he invested in new software for his company after a salesman presented a remarkable demonstration of the product. 

When the salesman asked if he wanted to buy the product after the demonstration, the author responded with a definite yes. However, guess what? In order to get the author to accept to see the demonstration, the salesman had called him more than seventy times over the last five months! And on the three other times, they had formerly spoken, the author had rejected his advances. This only goes to tell us that in order to receive a yes, you can’t be scared of hearing no.

Chapter 7 – For you to win big, you need to first to get past rejection, and tolerate lots of “nos.”  

Regardless of how good a salesperson you are, handling objections and experiencing rejection will continuously be part of your job. However, when you feel like you’re sinking under the burden of ‘no,’ it’s essential to know that you are not the only one; some of the world’s greatest successful people experience several rejections before they eventually got their ‘yes.’ 

For example, Stephen was an unsuccessful writer whose short stories and novels had been rejected for publication basically severally. He was broke, married, and with two children to cater for, he stressed out living in a trailer with his family, hardly able to cater for them. One day in 1973, Stephen’s wife went to the school where he taught. She had a telegram in her hand from a publisher saying they wished to publish his novel, Carrie. 

As you might have predicted, that man was no one else than Stephen King, currently known as one of the wealthiest and most successful writers in the globe. 

Do you still want some inspiration? Then consider Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur who lived in his car as he traveled the United States during the late 1950s searching for restaurants to franchise his unique fried chicken recipe to. Nowadays, Harland Sanders is well known as Colonel Sanders – the icon behind fast-food behemoth, Kentucky Fried Chicken. It definitely didn’t cause any harm to him to hear the word ‘no’ – whether you believe it or not, he heard it over a thousand times while he was on the road! 

These success stories teach us that, in life and in sales, if you can get over the fear of rejection and brace yourself for a likely ‘no,’ then there are huge prizes to be won. 

Unluckily, when encountered with the rejections and objections of others, a lot of people are scared to try. Therefore, they make do with mediocre lives, continuously deliberating about the life they could have had if only they’d had the bravery to breeze past ‘no’ until ultimately sealing a remarkable deal. 

In order to prevent this fate, you can’t allow either rejection or objections, to refrain you. Just like Colonel Sanders and Stephen King, you have to allow those rejections fuel your forward march and make use of them as a motivation to do more next time. Perhaps, there are people who say to you that you’re not made for this, that you need to surrender and move on. Don’t listen to what they say. Continue going, keep accumulating the nos, and continue looking for those yeses. 

Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No by Jeb Blount Book Review

When you’re attempting to seal a sale with an uncertain prospect, it can be enticing to argue them into submission. Unluckily, this aggressive way only drives them away from you. Rather, you can effectively deal with buyer’s oppositions by predicting them beforehand, getting your view to make small duties at every stage of your sales process, and by slightly reducing their worries. Also, remember that even the most successful among us experience rejection along the route to success. Therefore, don’t be excessively disappointed when you can’t change every no into a yes. The most essential thing is to continue striving! 

Let your prospect pursue you

It’s a commonly acknowledged truth that we want what we can’t have. When you’re on a sales call with a potential customer, don’t be scared to maximize the phenomenon. Begin the call by saying to the customer “I’m not certain if our companies are a good fit.” This shows to your prospect that they may not be likely to have you and you won’t be pursuing them. Nearly immediately, they’ll subconsciously begin attempting to win you over. 

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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