How To Unhide Objections!

Did This Man Leave Us A Lesson In Selling Skills ?

Some of you may be too young to remember Columbo – my dad loved his show – it seemed it was always on in our house in the ’70’s and early ’80’s…

He was a homicide detective, he cracked the most serious of cases, other cops would come up blank against cunning suspects, and where they would come up blank he would come up with the truth – how?

Simple…

He would go to the suspect’s house and ask very innocent routine questions, on the basis that he was simply ‘eliminating them from his enquiries’ and he would watch their body language very carefully. At the end of this ‘informal chat’ he would thank them for their time, give them his business card on the off chance that they thought of anything that would help him with the case, apologise for intruding and make for the door…

At this point the suspects would ‘know’ that they’d ‘fooled’ him, ‘thrown him off the scent’ and they were pleased with themselves, and of course their mental guard, their mental defence would come down…

Just before he opened the door to leave, he would pause, then turn around, raise his hand, adopt a pose of ‘curiosity’ ‘and then say

‘Just 1 more thing, there’s 1 thing bothering me, I wonder if you cold help me with this, how did………….’

and the question would point to something that didn’t make sense in their story, that would incept the suspect at the deepest level when their guard was down…

Their body language alone would tell him everything he needed to know – guilty or innocent. He had them, they knew it, he knew it!

It was pure magic, and even though we knew it was coming in every episode, and in the same way, we just loved it!

Why?

Well, here’s why – it’s such a quick snippet you may miss it – so concentrate for just 60 seconds…

So good – ok, enough of our self indulgent nostalgic trip down memory lane here already!…

What has all this got to do with selling……?

Only everything…

If you’re in sales you may recognise this scenario…

‘You’ve spent some time with a potential client, the meeting has gone well – they need the product, say they want the product, say they can afford the product, but don’t buy – and when you ask for the order they give you a reason for not buying that doesn’t quite compute – you ask them the usual ‘what’s holding you back?’ type questions but their guard is up and they stick to their guns – they’re not buying…

So instead of pushing against a closed door, resorting to pressure tactics that will threaten any chance of them ever coming back, you pull back completely, start packing up or wrapping up, thanking them for their time, give them your card or explain the ‘how to come back to me’ process, and shake their hand / smile and tell them you are grateful for their time…’

Their ‘buying guard is down’…

they’re off the hook…

Then you pause, all of this applies whether face to face / on the phone / skype – whatever…

and you say…

“Just before I go, what one thing would I have needed to have done to have got earn’t your business today?”

and you shut up!

This question (more often than not!) incepts straight through to truth, and they tell you – usually it’s the price, or something to do with the ‘Money’ – and it opens up another chance for you to close by asking another question ‘so had the price been right, would you have trusted me with your business today?’ – and many say – ‘well, yes’ – so you say ‘ok, well look, before we admit defeat here, let’s see if we can find a way to make that right for you’ and you open back up the conversation…

ps. Very often it isn’t the price or the money – it’s something so little, you may have even thought you’d covered it an they’d understood it, but you hadn’t or they hadn’t – and you just need to clarify something really simple – this can also be the case!

pps. In any case, you need to know why they aren’t buying – always!

…And Finally, Just One More Thing…

The subtle beauty of this is that your questions are in the ‘Past Tense’ – not the present tense – if you were saying ‘what have I got to do to make you buy?’ that says ‘I’m still selling’ – and the guard comes back up – the very fact that they are in the past tense tells the subconscious mind that it’s over, it’s just a hypothetical question about a now finished past event – which is why the truth often comes out…

It is sales magic Columbo taught us here…

Is it unethical ?

Well, do they need your product ? Have they said they want your product at some stage? Can they afford your product? Finally, will they thank you for how your product meets their needs if they buy? If the answer to these questions is YES – then it is not unethical – it’s the opposite – you are doing them a dis-service if you don’t close!

I have used this technique myself successfully countless times, and taught thousands of sales people to do the same, with great results – that involves no pressure!

Try it for yourself, for your sales team – and see how Columbo’s Legacy in Selling Skills can still today help us to ‘catch the suspect!’ – only this time everybody wins and nobody goes to prison !

Respect! Paul