I read a great quote from Picasso (yes, the famous painter) the other day, and it really resonated with my sales philosophy. Here it is:
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
You’re probably wondering what that has to do with sales, and it’s simple: Most sales rep’s instincts are to ad-lib when they get an objection or when they get into a sales situation that isn’t going their way.
The art of handling objections
The problem with this is they haven’t first learned the rules of proper objection handling – like questioning an objection first, or isolating an objection – so instead they just wing it. And if you are doing this now, then you know how that turns out.
For years, I’ve been preaching, teaching, and training sales teams to put in the time and effort to learn the proper sales techniques first, and then after they understand and have mastered the fundamentals, they can ‘adapt’ them to each particular prospect or situation.
Here is a quick example:
A common objection in sales is, ‘I have to show this to my (boss, manager, partner, etc.).’ How does your sales team handle this?
The ‘rule’ a pro follows is to isolate this objection to make sure it isn’t a smokescreen hiding other objections like, ‘It’s too much money,’ or ‘I can get a better deal elsewhere.’
Because pros know the rule above, they can then ‘break it like an artist,’ by adapting their rebuttal to each prospect. This can include:
‘I understand, just out of curiosity, what is your take on this now?’
‘I’m with you, let me ask you this, though: If your partner says ‘do whatever you think is best’, what would you tend to do?’
‘If your partner could go either way, which way are you leaning now?’
‘That’s fine and we talked about this earlier. But given what we’ve just gone over, what is your opinion on this?’
‘And if your partner asked you what you thought he should do, what would your answer be?’
This is the ‘art’ of handling objections. Unfortunately, most sales reps and sales teams have never been taught the rules or fundamentals of proper selling, so they ad-lib, lose sales, and get discouraged. And your company misses its revenue numbers. It’s also the reason my business grows each year. The solution to this is to invest the time, money, and effort to learn and master core inside sales techniques.