Let’s talk baseball. When you're playing offense, you're in a much better position to score. It's true in sports -- and in sales -- that the best defense is a good offense. If overcoming sales objections is a challenge for you, it may be because you're trying to score from a defensive position. It’s impossible to score when you’re in the outfield.
Playing offense is the only way to score in baseball and the easier way to score no matter what sport you’re playing (including sales!). Plan to keep possession of the ball instead of being forced into playing defense. That’s the smartest, easiest way to overcome objections.
Overcoming Sales Objections by Playing Ball
Here are three specific things that you can do when you're standing behind the plate and that curveball comes at you.
You'll be prepared, and you'll be ready to be a hit that ball. It's all about your preparation and being ready. The first thing you can do is take the swing.
Take the swing. Your persistence ... no, actually, your perseverance is going to help you make the connection and hit the ball. What’s the difference? Persisting is just swinging aimlessly over and over and over again. Perseverance is different. It’s purposefully pursuing a desired outcome even in the face of hardship or obstacles.
When it comes to selling, the difference is all about that purpose. The purpose has to be larger than a relentless activity. Purpose is what propels you through adversity. Perseverance, backed by purpose, is what helps you to continually improve. It’s what turns a rebuilding season into a winning season the next year. (Go Royals!)
To persist in sales is really no more than swinging at nothing, and it shows up as activities like “just checking” emails that you send periodically. You’re swinging into the wind when you’re persisting without purpose. But perseverance is another story. That's where you doggedly pursue the important next steps you need to take so you can advance to the solution for your buyers.
Perseverance -- unlike persistence -- requires conviction, a deeply held belief that you can and will connect. It's your zeal, your passion, that's going to help you make the connection and hit that ball.
When it comes to overcoming sales objections, take the swing. Don't leave those objections unanswered. Don't persist with unrelated answers or by presenting irrelevant features. Take the swing at the objection. Persevere with every fastball, curveball and slider that comes your way. Keep practicing, learning and developing your skills. Your practice will pay off and get you on base.
Become a Power Hitter
You can also become a power hitter. To do so, look past the wall. Look out there into the distance. When you take your swing, have a vision -- it ought to be a big vision! -- and go for the grand slam. To get there, look at your buyers’ long-term interests and at the goals that they’re setting.
Don’t think small. Product pitching is like bunting. It's risky, and it won't get you very far. So look out into the field, up into the distance, and swing for the fences. As a power hitter, no matter what objection comes at you, you're going to crush it. No matter what, you're going to make that ball soar. You’ll be prepared to answer the objection and you’ll be ready when it crosses the plate. Because you’ve been persevering and practicing, and because you know your buyer’s vision, you'll be able to knock that ball out of the park
The third strategy for being prepared and staying on the offense when you encounter sales objections is to put a little more speed into your base running.
Speed wins. You want to be there first and fastest as often as you can be. Curiosity is an accelerator.
Curiosity is also the gateway to bigger picture thinking. Be open and nimble when it comes to learning. Always ask questions like “what's next?” and “what can I do differently?” and “what needs to change?” Proactively considering these questions will keep you in the game. These questions will help you anticipate objections and answer them before they’ve been raised.
With curiosity and openness, you'll continually be learning. Learning, too, will accelerate your growth. After all, learning is a master skill and, in sales, learning is also a survival skill. Don't let objections slow you down. Let them be a natural opening to keep going, like the base coach waving you on. Each time you skillfully and immediately answer an objection, you’re rounding another base.
To anticipate objections and turn them into opportunities to accelerate the sale, you will need to be proactive. Knowing the buyer’s vision gives you context for responding appropriately and bringing the conversation back to value. Practice ahead of time by swinging at every objection instead of dodging them in the futile hope that they’ll be outside the strike zone. Demonstrate genuine curiosity and interest in your buyers so you know what pitch is coming next.
Keep Your Head in the Game!
If you want to overcome sales objections, step up to the plate. Get out of the dugout. Stop being forced back into the outfield. Take a full count and swing at those objections every time. When you're prepared, you will hit more home runs and get on base more often.
If you’d like to learn more about how to win in selling, be sure to check out our new book Stop Selling & Start Leading. It's the behavioral blueprint for selling based on buyer preferences, and it includes great stories from sellers about their personal bests in selling and those times when they were making extraordinary sales. You can find Stop Selling & Start Leading at all major book retailers.