Don’t Handle Objections, Steer Them

*Editors Note: Recap post of the Deck presented at Sales Hacker Series in San Francisco on October 23rd, 2014 by Zack Kass, Head of Sales and Customer Experience at Shyp.

Salespeople are often taught to handle objections. The notion of – how you handle this, that, or the other thing. That doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that you got the right objections.

If you’re selling the same thing over and over, you’re going to get the same objections and they’re probably 10-20, maybe 30 that are the best objections. So your only goal is to get them to bring up those objections.

Just like in fencing, in sales you want to draw your “opponent” closer to you.

Every question is in the following scenario.

Objection Framework

  • Critical or Irrelevant
  • Rational or Emotional
  • Genuine or Rhetorical

Don’t answer a rhetorical question. Make someone make a rhetorical objection.

Defining a great objection – relevant and rational objections are the best objections and there are probably around 10-30.

For example, using an objection for Dropbox could be “Dropbox is going to lose my stuff” and that’s actually a relevant objection, but it’s extremely emotional because Dropbox isn’t going to lose your stuff, so say “Let’s talk about that. What do you think is going to happen to your stuff? What preconceived notions do you have about cloud storage?”

You want to steer them to ask you the right question, which in this case the rational one would be “What does Dropbox do to protect my storage?”

If you can focus all of your time steering objections to the best questions, you will win. Guide people through the process knowing that most will start off emotional and irrelevant.

Objection Steering Guide

  • Don’t condescend irrelevant objections
  • Empathize with emotional objections
  • Field great questions with honest, specific answers
  • Ask equally tough questions about their business

Objection-Based Sales Methodology

  • Build a list of the top 20 “great” objections a prospect can make
  • Rank-order the objections on two dimensions
    • Relevance
    • Favorability
  • Check a box when each question is asked

A Simple Focus

“Spend your time with people with people in one of two ways, asking great questions or driving great questions.”

Zack is the VP of Revenue at BrightFunnel. He loves taking great products to market, building valuable businesses, and scaling great teams.

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