I learned a neat trick once when I used to sell cars. See, building rapport with a client is essential. But it’s a double edge sword. If you’re doing any kind of sales, persuasion, or seduction, once rapport is established, you’ve got to step back and start leading.
Otherwise, you’ll too easily fall into the other person’s frame, and they’ll end persuading you.
Case in point. One of the woman that worked at our dealership would FANTASTIC at creating rapport with customers, but TERRIBLE at taking the lead.
Typical sales meeting would go like this:
Customer walks in, she establishes deep rapport, elicits needs, demonstrates product and asks for the sale. But then the customers would start explaining why they can’t afford the car. And then she would fall right into their frame.
Now, most salespeople listen to reasons why the customer can’t buy, go and speak with the manager, and the manager gives them a strategy to overcome that particular objection. (That’s the real reason the sales people go back and forth to the manager).
But this lady would be talking to the manager, sometimes in tears, because she really BELIEVED the objection.
This leads us to the “trick” we were taught. Whenever somebody starts laying an objection on you, be it a customer, your kids, your spouse, and you KNOW that objection isn’t really true, there’s two ways to handle it.
You can meet it head on, and defuse whatever reasons they give you. Or you could just ignore the objection, and continue on with the persuasion.
The “trick” we were taught was that as soon as the customer launched into their objection, we were to think about what we were going to eat that night for dinner. We’d look at them with a compassionate expression, but in our minds we were preparing, or buying, and eating our dinner.
Then when they wound down, we’d say something like “Yes. I totally understand that. And…” and then carry on selling. Of course, it helps that while you’re thinking of dinner, you’re also actually paying attention to them and listening to their specific objections.
The whole “thinking of dinner” part is just a defense so you don’t subconsciously fall into their frame.
Now, there’s a fine line here. If it’s a real objection, like they really DON’T have enough money, or we’ve done a poor job eliciting their criteria and the product really DOESN’T match what they’re looking for, this particular strategy will backfire.
But you’ll be surprised how powerful this works.
Because often times, when people are giving objections, they really just want to be heard. To be listened to. To be told that their fears are OK. That their anxieties and worries are normal, and that they aren’t going to come true.
Remember, most people, deep down, actually need to be told what to do. Just patiently listen to their fears, maintain a strong, leading frame, and everybody wins.