Over 22 years ago as a bride-to-be, I registered for wedding gifts (I know you are thinking I don’t look that old…I married young :)).  One of the items I spent a lot of time selecting was our silverware.  I was so happy when we got 24 settings!  (When you are from a large Italian family, you need bulk everything.)  This silverware has served us well.  But I was ready for a change.

During our huge kitchen remodel a few years ago I replaced most daily-use items. Since then I have intermittently purchased new silverware – but none of it ever “felt” right in my hands.  It was too light, or the tongs were too short, etc.  I returned these samples after a thorough in-home review.  And kept using the old.  So, you can imagine my delight when I found the PERFECT silverware a few weeks ago.  It passed my test and my husband’s test so we started the process of removing the old and replacing with the new!

A moment of domestic bliss, right?  Let me emphasize the word moment…  We have three teenagers, and they did NOT see the need to make this change.  They didn’t like the feel of the new forks, thought the spoons wouldn’t hold enough ice cream, and on and on and on.  Wow!  Who knew they cared this much about anything domestic?? We listened to them, empathised with them and let them know we were still making the change.

What I didn’t realize is that they had decided THEY weren’t changing and they had taken some of the old silverware (which I was keeping for the move-out-of-the house process soon to come) and stashed it in the kitchen for their own use!  What?  It was that important to them?  As a good mom, I promptly removed those pieces and hid it all again.

silverwareFor days, there was a lot of moaning and groaning every time they ate using silverware (a lot of “teen” food doesn’t need silverware they tell me – eating out of the box seems to be okay if I am not around.)  Last night was our first dinner where I did not hear one complaint.  Nearly two weeks for them to accept the change!

What does this have to do with sales?  Think about what you are selling…and the objections you hear…how many of those objections are because your prospect is comfortable with what they are now doing or using?  The objection might come out as price, timing, etc. but if you dig deeper you may find that the biggest obstacle is they don’t want to change! They are comfortable.  So what do you do?  In sales we don’t have two weeks to help move  through their discomfort.

A couple of tips on working through an objection:

  1. Ask more questions before responding with new information.  Hiding the silverware and forcing the change did not gain buy-in.  If I had taken the time to clarify what they were uncomfortable with, how we could transition to the new easier, what the downside to making the change was, etc. it might have gone more smoothly.
  2. Listen to what they are saying.  Clarify further by digging deeper into the real reasons they are objecting.  It might not be a logical reason – it might be very emotion-based!
  3. When responding, tie the benefits important to THEM into your response.  Make it about them, not about you.

Now, my approach to hiding the “old” won’t work in business.  But, often, taking the time to help them sort through their discomfort will remove the objection…or at least put it into a perspective where together you can work through it.

What objection have you recently faced that was based on discomfort/change issues?