06 May Smashing objections: How to change your customer’s story from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’
So obviously I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and my business lately. It’s high time as well. A mentor that I’m working with said something to me the other day that has been following me around and niggling my already overwhelmed brain. It’s something that I might have heard before in one form or another, but this week you might as well have slapped me in the face with it. This time, I listened.She said:
“Everyone has a story in their head. Why something won’t work out, reasons not to buy, reasons they don’t back themselves, reasons to bail. our job as business owners is to change that story.”
She was absolutely bloody right as well.
We all have that little inner monologue telling us we’re not enough. It predicts the outcomes of our lives and stops us from being bold and taking chances. It stops us from backing ourselves – in business, in love, with our families, our friendships. It’s one of the things that little shoulder devil loves to do. He pops up in a cartoonesque way and whispers in your ear, “you’re not good enough…”. What a jerk, right?
It’s part of the human condition.
I, for one, am not immune to the ‘story’. The overarching negativity that tells me I can’t or shouldn’t do something, or that things aren’t going to go my way. My shoulder devil absolutely SHOUTS at me. If you’d indulge me, I’d like to share an example…
This week, my favourite handbag broke. I know, nothing major in reality, but it was my favourite and only handbag which had been bought in Edinburgh many moons ago. And I love it. Living rurally, there isn’t a whole heap of handbag repair shops, so the story I told myself came up something like: “I’ll never be able to get it fixed.” “I don’t want to waste money on a new handbag and I couldn’t find a new one around here anyway.” “I don’t want to walk around using a Woolies bag from now on.” (yup. Really went there. Really did it. Tres chic…)
So a few days went by and I finally made some time to find someone locally who could help. Full of negativity, I trudged up to the key cutting/shoe repairing/hip flask engraving genius service that operates out of our local shopping centre. Still with this ‘no’ story in my head, I asked if there was anything he could do to help (or if I should just throw the bag out). I passed it over. He tried a few different ideas, but my ‘no’ had rubbed off on him. He didn’t seem very confident he could help. His colleague, however, had nothing but ‘yes’ in his head (he hadn’t had the dubious honour of encountering my negative headspace). In less than a minute he had the solution to my problem and I was on my merry way. Not only that, they wouldn’t even take my money because the fix was that simple.
Interesting, right? (Maybe not the subject itself… replace ‘handbag’ with ‘bazooka’ for a better hook!) Not only was the story in my head COMPLETELY WRONG, the outcome was actually really positive and, to the gent behind the counter, easy. The stories we tell ourselves are so powerful. We build things up and take simple things and turn them into huge, insurmountable obstacles that nobody could possibly understand or make better.
Our customers do this too.
Every single one has a story in their head as to why they shouldn’t invest with you. Our job as business owners and salespeople is to change the narrative. It’s not pushy, it’s not manipulative, it might not always be an option. But if you’re truly working to provide a great product or service, why shouldn’t it be you who gets the sale and not Shoddy Joe down the road who cuts corners and has a major problem with honesty?
You’ve heard it a million times, but overcoming your customer’s objections (or, changing their story) is crucial to making a sale. Really, the best thing to do is figure out those objections and address them before they’ve even had a chance to raise them. That starts with knowing who your customers are, what they want, what they believe and what they need. That’s maybe a topic for another day, but for today, just trust me…
It comes down to the following:
AnticipateLike I said, knowing who your customers are and what they might have a problem with is crucial. If you don’t do this, you won’t get far. Most objections come under a few headings: price, risk, competition, quality of service and trust.
PrepareIf you’ve done the legwork, changing a customer’s story should be a lot easier. Know what their problems are, how you can solve them. Write down objections you think your customers might have and then what you would say to respond to those objections to bring them around to your point of view.
ListenHave you ever been to a store where the assistant was doing anything but listen to you? Did you want to give them your money? To truly understand, you have to not only hear what’s being said, but keeping in mind what might not be getting mentioned as well. Also, most people just want to be heard. Hold space in the conversation for your customer to get it allllllllllllll out.
RespondTake the time to really consider your response – don’t jump in until you’re sure the customer is done. This is just as important online as in person.
So that’s it for today. Remember that each of us has a story, we’re just here to help sift truth from fiction. Or even just to create a new, better truth.
Go hard, team!