Objections arise when the client puts up some sort of barrier to whatever it is you’re proposing.
The most widely taught objection handling method is to ‘agree with then outweigh’ the client’s concerns. I think the idea is to maintain rapport, while proving to the client that the issues they have aren’t really valid – and therefore change their minds. And that might occasionally work. Especially if you’re able to show the client a perspective they didn’t previously have.
However, most attempts to change people’s opinions tends to cause friction, lack empathy, and break any rapport that’s been built. Why? Because basically you’re telling the client they’re wrong!
Here’s a different approach:
- Listen. Give clients the opportunity to talk about their concerns, fears, and doubts. Don’t feel that you need to have clever answers to any of these. Make the client right. Just listen.
- Probe. You’ll certainly find that surface level objections are seldom the real issues that need to be addressed. Help the client become really clear about what’s troubling them.
- Scope. Find out what needs to happen for the client to feel that the issues raised have been properly taken care of. The client is the only person who can do this. Make it easier for clients to find answers to their own objections.
This approach is, of course, client centric. It makes sense and looks easy to do. However, when you’re a problem-solving consultant it’s far to easy to take over and try to remove what looks like a stumbling block.
And, while you may come up with some brilliant ideas, reframes, and perspectives remember they’re yours, and probably won’t meet the clients criteria, or soothe their concern.
Give it a try. Listen, probe, scope. Let me know how it turns things around for you.