For years I’ve written about how sales suffer because the sales model ignores the vast opportunity to close more sales by adding the function of facilitating Buyer Readiness (i.e. systemic change). This restricts sales to searching for those ready to buy, and causes objections en route:
You’re getting objections not because of your terrific solution, your professionalism, your lists, your competition, the buyer’s need, or your price (It’s never ever about price.). Nor because buyers are liars (David Sandler once told me he never meant the take-away that that expression has evolved into.), or stupid.
You’re getting objections because you’re using content sharing and various methods of information push as your main vehicle to selling, before people actually become buyers, before they know why, or when, or if to listen to your message.
You’re getting objections because you’re annoying those who aren’t (yet) buyers and don’t know how to make sense of your attempts to engage them.
You’re getting objections because you ignore potential buyer’s real frustrations and instead focus on your own needs.
Indeed, because the goal of the sales model is to place solutions, you seek a very restricted group you assume SHOULD buy, ignoring the vastly larger group who CAN buy but aren’t yet ready (and who won’t object once they get their ducks in a row). Sales is designed to
- find those ready to buy: the low-hanging fruit – those who have already recognized that making a purchase is the only way to resolve a problem, have the buy-in to proceed, and know how to manage any change a new purchase would demand;
- offer great product data in hopes of promoting interest in those who appear (to you) to have a need;
- ignore those who haven’t yet decided on bringing in an external solution but will ultimately be buyers (Read my article on the 13 step Buying Decision Path.);
- use accepted sales tools to ‘get in’ to:
- gather needs (restricted by a seller’s biased questions and listening),
- pitch (which annoys the hell out of folks not yet seeking new solutions),
- seek appointments (restricted to those who end up using your presentation to learn to do internal workarounds)
and as a result you’re getting objections.
With a function limited to using your content as the route to placing solutions and searching for those who SHOULD buy – and getting objections from those who don’t find relevance (yet) in your offering – sales overlooks the possibility of facilitating the far larger group who CAN and WILL buy when they have their ducks in a row.
It’s only when they’re certain they can’t fix the problem themselves AND get buy-in from all stakeholders, do buyers consider going ‘external’ for a solution. And objections are merely a reaction to feeling pushed by your content and goal to place a solution before they’ve determined their change management issues – necessary for all folks before risking something new coming in and disrupting the status quo.
WHY YOU GET OBJECTIONS
I define ‘buyer’ as a person/group who has discovered they can’t fix a problem internally, traversed their change management issues, and has gotten agreement to seek an external solution. The very last thing buyers need is your solution – literally.
So here, in no particular order, is a list of reasons why you get objections, and why/how the limited solutions-push focus of the sales model merely handles a small fraction of a Buying Decision Path instead of actually enabling buying. And fyi: if you aim to help potential buyers traverse their systemic change management issues before trying to sell anything, you’ll get closed sales, not objections.
- Selling doesn’t cause buying. Do you want to sell? Or have someone buy? Two different activities and mind-sets.
- Buying involves both systemic change AND (when there’s no other option) solution choice. Using solution data to make a sale restricts possibility, getting you objections from those who don’t know/aren’t yet ready how to hear it (Remember: we all listen through biased filters.)
- Buyers buy according to their buying patterns, not your selling patterns.
- Pushing solution data too early causes objections, regardless of need or the efficacy of your solution. Folks don’t know what to listen for and don’t think they need to hear it.
- Until buyers recognize how to solve a problem with maximum buy-in and minimum fallout to their status quo (i.e. when they have their ducks in a row), they aren’t buyers regardless of what you believe to be their ‘need’.
- Until buyers are certain they can’t solve a problem themselves with their own resources, they can’t recognize, and don’t have the full data set to understand, what they might need to buy and will resist/object when having seemingly pointless content shoved at them.
- Sales and marketing pitches use biased language to describe solutions, further restricting the buying audience. It’s possible to design unique pitches for each stage of their Pre-Sales Buying Decision Path.
- By restricting the sales model to seeking those with a ‘need’, you’re only addressing those who have shown up during the last 30% (step 10) of the 13-step Buying Decision Path all people take before becoming buyers. In the first 9 steps (Pre-Sales) people aren’t even prospects yet, as they first must manage change, get buy in, and try to fix their own problems internally.
- Sales ignores the possibility of influencing the path of (Pre-Sales) change that is driven by the buyer’s system of unique rules, people, history, etc. that protects itself at all costs (i.e. objects).
- Your sales and marketing efforts seek those who you’ve determined will have a likelihood of buying (the low hanging fruit), and you’re competing for this small percentage, ultimately closing only 5% of a much broader set of possible buyers.
- There is an entirely different goal, focus, solution, thought process, skill set, necessary to become part of, and facilitate, the Pre-Sales, systemic, Buying Decision Path that must, as per the laws of Systems Congruence, enable change congruently before any purchase is considered.
- You’ll avoid objections when you first facilitate and expedite the change that those who CAN buy must handle, and THEN use your information-centric approach to sell to those you’ve helped be ready to buy. The time it takes buyers to get buy-in for congruent change is the length of the sales cycle, regardless of their need or the efficacy of your solution.
- Pitching, content marketing, presentations, cold calling, etc. get objections because they push solution data before there is systemic agreement to go external for a fix.
- Judgments regarding the reasons buyers offer objections are subjective, biased interpretations contrived by sellers to make buyers ‘stupid’ when they aren’t getting the outcome they sought. Sellers rarely consider that they’re entering at the wrong time, in the wrong way, for a unique set of internal, systemic dysfunctions they really (really) have no understanding of, or that the buyer is in the early steps of change and hasn’t yet recognized a need to buy.
- You can accelerate a buyer’s route to decision making by helping them traverse their route to congruent change, but not with a restriction that begins by using solution-based information, or needs-based (biased) questions to influence buying. It’s possible to close five times more than you’re currently closing.
You’re actually causing your own objections. You get no resistance when facilitating prospects through their own steps to congruent change and then continue on to placing your terrific solution content with those specific prospects who CAN buy. (Read my article on the Buyer’s Journey that lays out the entire Pre-Sales buying decision process.) But you’ll need to take a different – additional – path through a different lens. You’ll need to understand the change management issues within your industry. And no, you cannot use your current sales skill to accomplish this.
FOCUS ON FACILITATING BUYER READINESS FIRST
Here is the deal. People don’t want to buy anything, merely resolve a problem with the least internal disruption. Actually, the cost of the fix must be less than the ‘cost’ (people, policies, time, money) of maintaining the status quo. The last thing people want is to buy anything, and then only when they have no choice and the cost is manageable.
Until now, you’ve waited while buyers do this internal change stuff: they must do this anyway (with you or without you). So you can continue pushing your content and getting objections, or you can add a new function to your outreach to connect with the right ones sooner: enter their decision path, get onto their Buying Decision Team, and facilitate the ones who CAN buy through to buying.
Just recognize the sales model doesn’t do the facilitation portion as it’s solution-placement based and Buying Facilitation® is change-management based. And, using a change management goal as the reason to connect with a potential buyer enables you to find those who WILL buy on the first call.
I designed a new methodology to facilitate the front end of the decision path (Buying Facilitation®). It’s a change facilitation model that works with sales to help buyers congruently and
- Recognize all of the elements they must assemble to get appropriate input for problem solving and change;
- Figure out if they can/cannot fix it themselves (You can facilitate this on the first call so long as you avoid discussing need or solution.);
- Pull together all of the systemic elements that must be in place for any change (i.e. purchase) to happen to ensure a minimal disruption;
- Be ready to choose your solution.
Buying Facilitation® is a generic change facilitation skill set, with no content focus, no bias, and is systemic in nature. It involves helping potential clients facilitate change in the area you can help them resolve. It employs a new form of question (Facilitative Question) that enable systems to manage change congruently; a new form of listening that involves Listening for Systems; and Presumptive Summaries to enable people to move outside of their subjective experience and view the entire situation as an Observer/Coach. I’ve trained it to about 100,000 sales folks globally, in several industries and product price points, and generally get a close rate of 8x the control group.
Right now, you’re closing 5% and wasting a lot of resource to find them. You’re hiring too many people to close too few; ignoring real prospects on route to making an appointment – and then going to appointments with a fraction of the appropriate people present, to push content they don’t know how to listen to, and fighting with competitors for the same restricted group of buyers – when if you could enter differently, with a willingness to add a new skill set, you could find/close more buyers.
There are a lot more REAL buyers suffering from lengthy Buying Decisions as they fumble through change. They really could use your help. Read Dirty Little Secrets; why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell, and learn about the systems involved in buying (or any change), and add this to your sales initiatives. You’ll have more clients, shorter sales cycles, meaningful relationships built on trust, and no objections.
Sharon-Drew Morgen is a breakthrough innovator and original thinker, having developed new paradigms in sales (inventor Buying Facilitation®, listening/communication (What? Did you really say what I think I heard?), change management (The How of Change™), coaching, and leadership. She is the author of several books, including the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell). Sharon-Drew coaches and consults with companies seeking out of the box remedies for congruent, servant-leader-based change in leadership, healthcare, and sales. Her award-winning blog carries original articles with new thinking, weekly. www.sharondrewmorgen.com She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.