Monday, 29 October 2012

007 steps of Selling Process in the Daniel Craig era Step 5 Answering Objections

James Bond has to overcome many objections and resistances in the course of his missions to achieve success.

He needs to know who is who in the baddy organisation. He needs to understand the psychology of his adversary and their motivations.

'M'  played by Dame Judi Dench
Today’s style of selling is less transactional than back in the day and a sales professional works in partnership.
This requires flexibility from salespeople.

Do you remember when Dame Judi Dench took on the role of 'M' ?. She had a great speech about change in process, values etc.

M:  You don't like me, Bond. You don't like my methods. You think I'm an accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your instincts.

James Bond ( Brosnan): The thought had occurred to me.

M:  Good. Because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appeal to that young woman I sent to evaluate you.

James Bond:  Point taken.

M:  Not quite, 007. If you think for one moment I don't have the balls to send a man out to die, your instincts are dead wrong. I have no compunction about sending you to your death, but I won't do it on a whim, even with your cavalier attitude towards life
Bond has had to adapt to the obstacles and challenges he meets in different eras. Likewise sales professionals have to adapt to their changing business environments and different bosses.
Daniel Craig's Bond operates in today's  Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous VUCA worldHowever there is a trend of challenger selling or disruptive selling style which is seen appropriate when unseating an incumbent supplier.


·         In the selling of the 50s and Sixties ( the original  Ian Fleming James Bond novels and the Sean Connery era)  it was assumed that at this stage lots of objections would be raised, and this would be likely to occur, because the selling process was more transactional and prescriptive. However, successful modern selling now demands more initial understanding from the sales person. Pre-emption of resistance to your offer is better than cure.

·         Nevertheless objections do arise right up to our Daniel Craig's Bond   VUCA world, and they can often be handled constructively, which is the key. The most page views on this site is on handling objections are a testament to this.

·         Should objections arise, firstly you should qualify each one by reflecting back to the person who raised it, to establish the precise nature of the objection - "why do you say that?" , or better still, "what makes you say that?, is usually a good start. This can be soften by using the TED technique. ( Tell me why… explain to me what..)

·         it may be necessary to probe deeper to get to the real issue, by asking ‘why’ to a series of answers - mots objections result from misunderstandings and assumptions, and some are used to veil other misgivings  sometimes referred to as false objections which the sales person needs to expose. Quite often the Price objection is used by buyers to veil other misgivings or that perhaps they are not the final decision maker but may not have revealed this to you.
Photo taken from the steps of the Royal College of Music
Glass Porch roof at top of photo
007 staging for the World Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall

·         lots of objections are simply a request for more information. Simply ask and probe instead but in a conversational style; a good  approach is something like "I understand why that could be an issue, can I ask you to tell me more about why it is and what's important for you here?.."

·         try to avoid altogether the use of the word 'but' - it's inherently confrontational and its brothers and sisters Yes but…, No but…, OK but…, I take your point but…..

·         A conventional approach was to reflect back the objection as a re-phrasing one’s understanding of it., be careful not to be like the politician answering a question with a question. Avoid phrases like “ what your trying to say or I think what you are really saying is

·         the 'feel-felt-found' approach is still popular in overcoming objections: this is a response built around the words 'feel, felt ,found' elements:
For example "I understand how you feel/why you feel that...//Other clients at first have felt just the same/that...//But (or 'And') when... they have found that..." The method uses empathy in the 'feel'stage,, neutrality and group reference (shifting the issue away from personal confrontation) in  the ' felt 'stage , and then addresses the objection and reinforces the benefits using  majority evidence in ( found)stage, to persuade the buyer . You need case studies and references at the ready. This needs to be used subtly as so often in selling ,it not just what you say but how you say what you say.

·          the  approach is best to work with the prospect in first understanding what lies beneath each objection, and then working with the prospect to shape the proposition so that it fits more acceptably with what is required.
Set up of staging for the World Premiere of Skyfall.
Red Carpet up the staircase to the Royal Albert Hall
Aston Martin taking pride of place and no parking ticket for parking on staircase pavement !

·         avoid  arguments - even if you win them you'll damage the relationship you'll probably lose the sale! - instead you must enable a constructive discussion so that you and your prospect are both working at the problem together; provided your offer is sound most objections are usually overcome by both you and your buyer adjusting their positions slightly.

·         you've handled all the objections when you've covered everything that you've noted down - it's therefore important to keep notes and show that you're doing it


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