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Disciplines > Sales >  Objection-handling > LACE

Listen | Accept | Commit | Explicit action

 

Objections happen. If you perform the sales or persuasion process well, you will succeed in seriously reducing the number of objections, but they may still happen.

Objections can be transformed into an opportunity. For example, you can increase understanding of the other person's circumstance and to get closer to them, building a more trusting relationship.

Listen

Before you can act on the objection, it helps a great deal if you can understand properly not only the objection but also the thought and emotion behind it.  

Find the objection

First, listen some more. Ask questions that elicit the background and detail of the objection. Listen not only to the objection but to the emotion behind it. Seek to 'read between the lines'.

The objection as stated may well be a cover for the real objection. Probe for more detail. Ask 'what else' and 'how come'.

Find remaining objections

Find out whether there are any other objections. Ask 'Is there anything else'. Tip the bucket. This can cause you more work now and it may seem that it is better to let sleeping dogs lie. But if you do not do so, then when you get towards what you hope is closure, they may easily pop up to frustrate you once again.

Accept

Once you have discovered the objection, the next stage is to acknowledge not only the objection but the person, too.

Accept the person

First and throughout, accept the person. Accept that they have a right to object. Accept that you have not fully understood them.

You do not do this by saying 'I accept you' or anything like this. The simplest way is through your attitude. Objecting can be a scary act, and people can fear your reaction. By not reacting negatively, by accepting the objection, you also accept the person.

By accepting the person, you build both their trust and their sense of identity with you. You also set up a exchange dynamic where they feel a sense of obligation to repay your acceptance. 

Accept the objection

Accepting the objection means understanding how it is reasonable, at least from their current viewpoint for them to object to what you may believe is an excellent offer.

It also means accepting the work that addressing the objection will require of you. Objections can be frustrating and if you object to the objection, you will have a mutual stalemate.

Commit

Now it is time to get serious. With the increased understanding and trust, you have an ideal opportunity for a trial close.

Get their commitment

Get a commitment from them such that if you can satisfactorily address their objections, they will agree with you and make the purchase.

This is also a good method of identifying further objections. If they say no, then loop back and elicit these. Eventually, they will run out of objections. If you can address these, it's in the bag. 

Make your commitment

This is also the point where you may well be making a commitment to them, to resolve their objections. This may be difficult and cost you in various ways, from calling in favors from other people to putting in additional effort. 

The decision you have here, is 'Is it worth it?' Persuasion is often an exchange, and you always at liberty to back out.

Explicit action

Now it is time to address the objections, to take explicit action on the commitments made.

There are two types of objection: real ones and accidental ones. Accidental objections are where the objection is due to a misunderstanding. Misunderstandings are usually easy to address, with an apology and an explanation.

Real objections take work, but if they can be resolved, you've got the sale! 

Persuade your way through

Persuading your way through an objection means working to change the way they view the objections. You can wear them down such that they no longer view the objection as being worth pursuing. You can also change the way they view them more positively such that they have an 'aha' experience that leads them to perceive the objection as being no longer important. 

Concede your way through

You can also concede your way through, giving in and effectively buying their commitment. If they object to the price, you can always lower it. If they don't want it now, you can come back next week.

Concession can be both a useful approach, especially if you are in a hurry, and a threat. If you give them an inch, then they may want to take a mile. But this is not necessarily so, and a prepared concession strategy can pay dividends.

See also

 Tipping the bucket, Objection-handling process

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