Technologies and publishing models change. But sales objections are forever. And this post from December 2014 is evergreen.
A couple of years ago in this space, I wrote about objections that we hear from buyers. More accurately, the post was about the statements that sound sort of like objections that we hear from non-buyers - those who have no intention of doing business with us, and who frankly just don't want to face another option or have another conversation. I call these Scarecrow Objections.
This morning I want to add another bit of language to the canon: Objection of Interest. I've just started using this term in sales workshops and it's proving valuable. An Objection of Interest is a (1) legitimate question or issue that's (2) raised by a customer genuinely interested in a commercial relationship with you and (3) has the authority and means to advance the deal. An Objection of Interest is like the bridge to a sale: if you can cross this, we can continue down the path together.
This week's Drift is proudly underwritten by AppNexus. With AppNexus Mobile Solutions, you can access more demand partners than ever, gain precision insight into your inventory's pricing and attract the ad spend of the world's largest advertisers.
The Scarecrow Objection, on the other hand, is not a bridge at all. It's a parachute that allows a disinterested or non-qualified buyer to eject from the conversation. They're not going to volunteer the fact that they're not really interested: why would they? So they ask us rote questions about minute differences in technology or policy. Or they tell us they need a case study to prove a point. And sometimes they simply put us off with vague promises of later consideration - an RFP which leads nowhere, a buying cycle that never materializes.
My advice is to measure any objection or issue you hear from a potential customer against the 1-2-3 test outlined above. If you think it fails to meet two of the three standards (or if it does not meet the second one alone) then you're looking at a Scarecrow Objection. Do not waste time and energy uncovering facts or chasing down details and case studies: those are hours of your life you'll never get back. Instead, simply qualify the objection: "If we could successfully solve that issue, would you then make the recommendation to fully invest with us?" On rare occasions, you'll transform a Scarecrow into a legitimate Objection of Interest and create a new opportunity to sell. More often your "buyer" will show her true colors and the conversation will melt into a puddle of non-commitment. I hope these ideas help you avoid the costly, pointless exercise of debating with a Scarecrow.
Subscribe to The Drift
Receive actionable insights and perspective for digital sellers sent directly to your inbox.