In selling, asking is everything: you have to ask for what you want, directly, assertively and repeatedly. Passive and insecure behavior only serves to encourage greater resistance.
Asking with confidence is one of the most difficult things to do, because when you do it you instantly make yourself vulnerable, you give your side to one of the deepest human fears: the fear of rejection. It is the most treacherous and disruptive emotion for a seller.
The point is that there are no shortcuts to obtain unconditional “yes”, there is no magic dust that can make the refusal disappear, there are no perfect words, valid in all circumstances, to transform “no” to “yes” . The only way to get rid of waste is to never ask for anything.
Three keys to find out how to ask to get what you want
To reduce the resistance and get what you want you have to ask with confidence, concisely and without hesitation. If you look scared, you will transfer fear to the prospect (the potential customer) and create resistance where it did not previously exist. People tend to respond in tone, one of the characteristics of human behavior is the “emotional contagion”, which leads us to reflect the behaviors and emotions of those around us.
The three keys to ask:
- The assertive request: ask with confidence and think of getting what you want. Your positive expectation will manifest itself in body language. Your emotions influence the emotions of those around you, if you exude trust, this trust is transferred to customers inducing them to satisfy your requests.You must develop and exercise techniques to show enthusiasm and trust even when you don’t try them. Start by managing your non-verbal communication: tone of voice (deep), inflection (relaxed and friendly) and rhythm (slow and with the right pauses); use calm gestures, maintain an upright and relaxed posture, smile, offer a secure handshake, maintain eye contact.
- Shut up, don’t be intimidated by silence: after making your request you have to learn to shut up. Often for fear of refusal, the sellers, after making their request, no longer stop talking, transferring their insecurity to the customer.
- Be ready to face objections and negotiate: you must be prepared for objections, in this way you will have the necessary confidence and courage to wait for the customer’s response.
Four objections encountered during an agreement to successfully overcome them
Objections are manifested in different forms and at different times during the sales process, tackling these blocks and overcoming them at the right time is the key to shorten the process, avoid the stalls and close the sale.
There are 4 types of objections:
1) Prospecting Objections: (simple prospecting objections): simple reflex answers, people have little time and don’t want to lose it with sellers. They occur at the beginning of the process, are the most frequent, are fast and are very hard.
2) Red Herrings: (lett. Red herring, that is false tracks): they are irrelevant topics that are introduced into the conversation by the potential customer and that divert attention from the main topic.
3) Objections to micro-commitments: during the sales process you will ask the customer for micro-commitments, small steps and actions to bring him closer to the finish line, you must never leave a conversation with a stakeholder (interested party) without setting the next step. Objections of this type are the least severe, the steps required are risk-free for the customer.
4) Objections to the purchase: when you ask people to make a purchase decision you will always get objections. Objections on price, timing, competition, etc.
Psychological reactance: A way to counter it
You are at the end of the sales process, after weeks of research, meetings, demos and presentations the customer says he needs more time to reflect. What are you doing? It seems dysfunctional that a client hesitates in making a change that is right for him, the fact is that it is not an intentional behavior, but an unconscious one.
You cannot hope to convince the customer that he is wrong, the more you insist the more he will resist. This behavior is called psychological reactance or the tendency to rebel when we are deprived of the freedom to choose, when we feel controlled. Despite the logic of your arguments, facts and data, the people you want to convince will step on their feet and rebel.
When you trigger the ballast, move the customer away from you instead of approaching him. For this reason, debating, refuting, fighting does not work.
Science has shown that decision-making processes, including objections, are driven by emotions and not by logic. If you try to solve them with logic you will hit a wall.
The brain uses heuristic decisions to make decisions quickly. These are shortcuts, the so-called cognitive biases that allow the brain to save time and make decisions quickly. The bias of the status quo, for example, is what makes your client ask for more time to reflect even if the logic says that it is right to change and move forward.
Change makes us anxious. The safety bias is what makes us remember negative events more vividly than positive ones and which makes us tend towards safer choices.
Buying is an emotional experience full of stress. Buyers are inundated with options, misinformation and constant requests from many sellers, the penalty for bad choice can be severe. Even in the face of the urgent need to solve a problem, people will procrastinate to avoid conflict, change, risk, uncertainty.
They will need time to reflect, consider other options, involve other people, they will avoid you. It is important that you take note of the fact that you are dealing with people guided by their unconscious cognitive biases.
Objections are not waste but are perceived by sellers as such
Objections are not waste, they are signs of confusion, of aversion to risk, of fear of change. They are a natural part of any decision making process. Objections, questions and negotiations, in most cases, are a sign that the prospect is still involved.
The anticipation of a refusal and the erroneous perception of the objections as of the waste trigger a wave of disruptive emotions in the sellers, a neuropsychological response similar to that of a real refusal.
Fear of rejection is a survival mechanism, an evolutionary mechanism: in the time of the caves it was impossible to survive separated from the rest of the tribe, therefore we developed this sensitivity, vital for survival.