How to Use the Your Experience with Turbulence to Overcome Resistance

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Feb 24, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

turbulence

We were on a JetBlue flight from Florida to Boston and the turbulence was much worse than usual.  More dramatic, longer lasting, and bad enough for the flight attendants to remain seated for the entire flight.  You've probably experienced a flight like that too.  Fun!  

The jet was probably traveling 500 MPH but it's funny how when the air is smooth, it doesn't even seem like you're moving, but when you add some serious bumps, you can feel every single one of those 500 MPH.  It feels more like an out-of-control roller coaster!

Sales calls work the same way.

When prospects are rushed, disinterested, resistant or rude, the call feels bumpy, like a jet traveling through turbulence.  When prospects are engaged, interested, and answering your questions, it feels smooth, like you're hardly moving.

So how can you get that smooth feeling on every call or meeting?

It's all about managing resistance which I explain in this 2-minute video.

 

When pilots encounter turbulence they might seek to find smoother air by lowering their altitude.  When great salespeople encounter turbulence they must first seek to lower resistance.  Most salespeople are unable to do this because it's more natural for them to respond with logic, talking points and specifications, which only serve to raise the resistance even more.  Or they might be more focused on how their prospects don't seem to like them enough to buy from them.

There are only a few steps required to improve in this area.

  1. Observation and Awareness - pay attention!  It's easier when you're listening than when you're talking.
  2. Lower Resistance - agree with them. Offer to leave.  Ask if you're boring them.
  3. Ask a great question - about them - to get their attention and then follow up with an even better question to get them engaged.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, jet blue

12 Reasons They Didn't Like You Enough to Buy From You

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 @ 10:07 AM

conflict.jpg
Image Copyright iStock

Everyone has had this happen...probably more than once.

You worked hard and smart, thought you did a great job, expected to win the business, but didn't.  Later, you learned that the prospect "Didn't really like your style."

It's not at all unusual, but it is almost always misinterpreted.  Salespeople tend to take this personally by internalizing the comment as, "They just didn't like me.  But why?"

What most salespeople fail to understand is that "style" is really code for something completely different.  I have listed 12 possibilities that style could really mean.  Think back to one of those situations and determine how many of these 12 could have been the real culprit:

  1. Relationship - it wasn't strong enough and you failed to connect.  In extreme cases this would be termed a personality conflict.
  2. Resistance - you were not effective enough at managing their level of resistance and it failed to drop.
  3. Accommodating - you were actually too accommodating and failed to gain their respect.  They saw you as a facilitator as opposed to an expert, a resource or an adviser.
  4. Value - the prospect failed to receive value from the time spent with you and considered you to be more of a vendor or supplier than a resource or adviser.
  5. Content - they did not like what you presented, suggested or recommended.  It wasn't what they wanted to hear.
  6. Listening - they didn't believe that you listened to them or to what they wanted.  You were too interested in following and achieving your own agenda.
  7. Authority - your statements lacked authority and you failed to establish credibility.  You were just like everyone else.
  8. Aggressive - they found you to be too confrontational, or obnoxious.
  9. Intellectual - you relied too much on facts, logic, and figures and failed to include anecdotal stories and examples.  You weren't engaging.
  10. Cultural - they have a defined culture, specific core values, and you didn't fit with their culture
  11. Flow - your meeting or call wasn't conversational, it lacked the give and take and back and forth associated with being a mutually authentic conversation.
  12. Expectations - they had certain expectations of you, your capabilities, your offering, the meeting or call, and you failed to meet those expectations.

Have you been guilty of any of these dozen?  If so, what can you do to improve?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, Closing Skills, sales effectiveness, lost a deal, beating the competition, personality conflict

Managing and Overcoming Resistance is the Key to Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 @ 13:03 PM

[Another disclaimer - this is not a political post and I am not taking sides. I am simply using an example from President Trump's recent address to the joint session of congress to illustrate my message about managing resistance when selling.]

resistance.jpg

Image Copyright SIphotography 

If you watched the address on Tuesday evening or the news coverage on Wednesday morning, you couldn't help but notice that there were three separate and distinct audiences in the hall.  On the right, joyous republicans.  On the left, resistant democrats.  And in the gallery, a mixed group of guests.

Prior to his speech, the media were saying that for Trump's Presidency to be successful,  it was crucial that he must "sell his vision" to America and Congress. 

There were mainly positive reviews of his speech and  most pointed out the distinction between the republican and democrat audience.  But the reviews of the speech aside, did he really sell it?  Continue reading for my analysis.

The reality is that the President only "sold it" to Republicans as well as those Americans who thought his message resonated.  He didn't sell it to the democrats seated in the hall last night.  He didn't sell it to the haters and he didn't sell it to the left - they weren't buying.

Several years ago, I recorded a two-minute video that accurately describes what happened.  Watch it now and then I'll add a few more thoughts.

Since the Republicans were predisposed to like his message, their resistance was low and Trump didn't need to be great last night.  He only had to not screw it up.  

The Democratic Senators and Congressmen were predisposed to dislike the message and since their resistance was sky high there wasn't anything that Trump could have said or done last night to change that.  Even when he modified his position and included policy that Democrats traditionally favor, their resistance remained high.  When Democratic lawmakers were asked how they felt about some of Trump's message being more along the lines of the Democrat's agenda, they criticized him for chaning his position.    That's what real resistance looks like.

Most salespeople encounter prospects with that kind of resistance only when they are making cold calls and then, only because most of them are so inept at lowering resistance! When salespeople finally get an opportunity to meet or schedule follow up calls with their prospects, resistance is rarely close to what we saw last night. But when it is, the following steps must be taken for there to be any hope of success:

  • Be aware of the resistance
  • Stop what you are doing
  • Agree and Take the necessary steps to lower the resistance
  • Offer comforting messages that your prospect can agree with
  • Confirm that resistance has been lowered
  • Ask and receive permission to continue
  • Remain aware of any change in resistance
  • Rinse and Repeat if necessary

Don't resist dealing with resistance!  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, resistance to change, sales resistance, Donald Trump

Case History - Another Pitiful Sales Cold Call Exposed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 07:03 AM

objection

Copyright:  123RF Stock Photo

The salesperson who cold-called me gets kudos for, well, cold-calling me and getting through.  Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.  She said she was calling from Charter Business and wanted to talk about phone and internet.  I told her that we were all set and that's when it got interesting.To her credit, she pushed back.  Unfortunately, her skills were as bad as most salespeople and when she pushed back, she did it completely wrong.  Here's what happened:

I said, "We're happy with what we have." (which is completely true).

She said, "Is there another time we could review what we have to offer?" 

Did I say I was too busy to talk right now?  Was she reading the wrong objection handling tactic from her computer monitor?  Was she learning disabled?  Or was she simply not listening?  I'm placing my bet on the likelihood that she was not listening.  When salespeople fail to listen, not only do they fail to gain favor, traction and velocity, but they perpetuate their well-earned reputation as a group of people who do not listen, only care about making a sale, and who couldn't care less about helping.

If she was listening instead of reading a script, she would have heard the word "happy."  Usually, when a prospect simply doesn't want to engage, they'll say, "We're all set."

She could have pushed back in so many ways...notice how each of these goes a bit further:

  • "I don't hear that very often, who are you using?"
  • "That's great to hear; you must be thrilled!"
  • "Terrific - what are you most happy with?"
  • "That's interesting because most of my new customers began by saying the very same thing - that they were happy."
  • "Since you're happy, you must never have to wait for a page to load..."
  • "And every file transfers instantly..."
  • "And videos never have to buffer..."
  • "You can easily store all of your large files in the cloud..."
  • And your voice calls are always perfect..."

She wouldn't have been able to turn me around, but I am certain she would have been able to turn around any prospect who was able to recognize that their service wasn't as good as it could be.

Most salespeople are afraid to push back.  It's a shame when someone is actually willing to push back, but hasn't been properly trained on how to do it effectively.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, overcoming resistance, cold calling, lead generation, phone sales, overcoming objections

3rd of the 10 Sales Competencies that are Key to Building a Sales Culture

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 @ 06:10 AM

I went out of order in my last post  and presented #6 from my list of 10 Sales Competencies That are Key to Building Sales Cultures.

In this post I present the real #2, The Enemy is Resistance.  I've written about this before too.

The gist of Resistance is this: Selling would be far more simply for many more of your salespeople if they would focus on recognizing the resistance rather than attempting to overcome the many forms it takes:

  • lack of interest
  • happy with who they're using
  • price
  • quality
  • features
  • benefits
  • claims
  • satisfaction
  • problems
  • reputation
  • service
  • questions
  • put-offs
  • timing
  • perceived need

Rather than dealing with these objections individually, if your salespeople could just recognize the earliest stages of resistance...

  • a certain look
  • a change in posture
  • a nod
  • "well..."
  • "maybe..."
  • "I'm not sure..."
  • "but..."
  • a shoulder shrug
  • a stated objection
  • a loaded question
  • etc.

...and deal with it right then and there - at the earliest stage - by simply:

  • agreeing ("Yeah, I would have reacted that way too" or "You're right" or "You didn't react too well to what I just said...")
  • acknowledging ("I understand")
  • questioning ("Out of curiosity, why do you feel that way?")
  • questioning ("Can you explain?")
  • questioning ("What if it (or I) could?")
  • etc.

Resistance itself is pretty easy to deal with because you can lower it very quickly.  But if your salespeople aren't able to recognize it early, or worse, they ignore it, then they'll have to deal with the objections.  When they deal with objections, as soon as they attempt to overcome them, by using:

  • reason
  • logic
  • facts
  • figures
  • features
  • benefits
  • selling points
  • explanations
  • validation
  • rationalizations
  • charts
  • graphs
  • testimonials
  • defending

...they will be seen as putting on the hard sell, resistance will go up, not down, and their position will worsen!

Make sure your salespeople become masters at overcoming resistance.  Speaking of which, I am presenting a Sales Master Class on the very subject on behalf of The Sales Experts on October 15.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Salesforce, Sales Force, overcoming resistance

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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