- To offer a reason or argument in opposition.
- To express or feel disapproval, dislike, or distaste; be averse.
We have all been there. You are having a discussion with a potential (or actual) client and you get to the point where you want to be paid for your time that you have invested in them, brainstorming for Introductions. And BANG! The STOP sign goes up and this person that you have helped, that was engaged and interacting, suddenly slams the breaks on the forward motion by throwing out “Well, I don’t feel comfortable referring people” or some such clichéd excuse.
Instead of swerving uncontrollably and crashing, you need to alter course in the situation and retake control of the discussion and relationship. But you need to not panic, and remember your training and practice to maintain your progress and get through the potential accident. If you can remain calm and remove the fear from yourself and your client, you will continue on the journey together and build your Introduction Based Business.
Previously we have addressed both WHY you need to practice to achieve mastery of your language, as well as HOW to practice. Now let us focus on WHAT to practice to be nonplussed when the client throws an objection at you.
First and foremost, review the discussions on Upfront Contracting, the deal before the deal where you get the client to agree that If you create Value, Then you earn the right for Introductions. This morally binding contract with the client will give you additional leverage that you can use to force them into cognitive dissonance and the only way out of the uncomfortable position is for them to do the right thing and introduce you to other high-quality people. Failing to establish this agreement before entering into your process with the potential client removes you from the moral high ground and weakens your position.
Assuming that you have properly laid the groundwork with your process and have actually brought value to your client in the discussion, handling the objections is a simple matter of Acknowledging, Addressing, and Requesting. By creating an internal mental process of Acknowledging, Addressing, and Requesting (ARR, like a pirate would say), the vast majority of objections become ephemeral as the morning mist.
Acknowledging: The worst thing you can do is ignore what a client says. They are expressing a feeling, an emotion, a concern that often originates in the older parts of the brain. Failure to acknowledge that they have a concern will make you seem like a manipulator as you will be using neo-cortal reasoning to overcome crocodile brain “fight or flight” reactions. The computer logic of modern human thinking will always lose to the million-year-old gut response. So you should literally say “I hear what you are saying. In other words you feel like…” and reframe their objection. This shows them on a fundamental level that you “get” them and why they are worried about introducing you to others. By embracing the fear and then moving it slowly towards a rational exploration thereof, it removes the power of the fear and slows the situation from panic mode. If you ignore this step you remain in danger.
Addressing: Now that the client’s million-year-old croc brain has been stroked sufficiently that they are no longer ready to run away, we need to interact with the middle part of the brain that focuses on social interactions and emotions, our monkey brain as it were. This is where you calmly and slowly discuss the emotional why of their objection. Remind them of their moral contract with you, invoke the name of the person that introduced you so that you can capture part of the sheep mentality effect (everyone else gives introductions, don’t you want to be part of the cool kid crowd?) and actually answer the objection (how will you contact the person, few people mind being contacted because 75%+ of Americans have expressed desire for the products you provide, explain your process again, etc.) and then get them to once again agree that you are a professional that adds value and wouldn’t do anything untoward to ruin your reputation or relationship with referror. The 100,000 year-old monkey brain bridges from the irrational reactive croc brain to the modern thinking human front brain and must be engaged as the second step of the process because it will move the social animal towards building and sharing additional connections.
Request. Ask again, going straight into a soft demand for Introductions with a phrase such as “so based upon this, who do you know that both you and (referror’s name) know that should get a chance to meet me so I can take them through a helpful discussion like we’ve had today?” Ask and you shall receive. Roll straight into a triangulated Introduction that draws upon the strength of the positive emotions you have engendered with the person you are sitting with as well as the halo effect of the relationship of the person who got you into that meeting to get that first, hardest Introduction from this potential client. Once you get a single Introduction it is easy to brainstorm on additional people.
If they object again, go through the same process again. And again if need be. After a few iterations, if the person you are talking with is an ethical individual and you address their fears and emotions and leverage the social aspects of the how the mind works, you will be paid for your time and your journey will continue.
Remember that objections come from averse feelings, based upon their experiences and cultural biases and heuristics from popular opinion. Acknowledge how they feel and why, gently but firmly show why that feeling or bias does not apply in your situation, and prod them along to open up their mind and their Rolodex. Be calm, be controlled, and objections are little more than bumps on the road of your journey to build an Introduction Based Business.