Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

May 25, 2009

How to Scale a ‘Ten Foot Wall’ of Objections

Do you frequently struggle with overcoming objections from your prospects? Do you often feel that they are nothing more than excuses? Then you’ll really appreciate today’s feature article guest authored by Robert Middleton. Robert is one of the mentors we’ve worked with previously, and in fact worked very closely with, in person. Enjoy the article.

The Ten Foot Wall

I’ve found that there are three big objections that frequently come up when anyone is looking at retaining the services of a professional.

  1. I don’t have the money.
  2. I don’t have the time.
  3. I’m not ready/can’t do it/am not able.

This is assuming everything else fits. They have the need and you have the services that can help them. They like you and trust you and you are both excited about the possibilities.

But then an objection bomb falls. So what do you do?

First of all, it’s important for you, the professional, to understand the nature of the objection. And the first fact about all three objections is that they are lies. Everytime.

Even if they really don’t have the money, have absolutely no time and are in some way not ready or able, they are lies. I suppose a softer way to say it is that they are excuses. And excuses are lies.

We lie because we have not made the distinction between an external reality and our belief about confronting that reality. To most of us they are exactly the same. For instance:

  • I don’t have the money now = I can’t raise the money.
  • I have a completely booked schedule = I can’t make the time.
  • I don’t have the experience = I’ll never really be ready or able.

Several years ago I participated in a workshop that included a ropes course. And one of the exercises was getting over a ten foot wall. The reality was that the wall was ten feet high. Everything else I thought about it was a lie: “I’ll never get over it, it’s too high, I’ll hurt myself, this is impossible, etc., etc.”

And then our instructor told our small team that it was time to go over the wall. And he really had no interest in our reasons why it was impossible. “It’s a ten foot wall. Now go over the wall.”

So we put our heads together and in just a few minutes (no kidding!), amazingly to me, we found a way to get over the wall.

And this is exactly how a potential client looks at working with you. They see a high fee, a commitment of time and a challenge that they have never faced before – a ten foot wall.

So the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to lie about the wall.

And the worst mistake you can make is to believe the lie. “Yes, that wall is too high. You’re right, it’s impossible to get over. I understand how hard it is, so let me call you back in a few months and see if you’re ready to get over the wall then.”

I promise you, they won’t be ready.

Again, assuming the work or project is right for them and they will gain a real benefit from working with you, then it is simply irresponsible to buy into their lie. You are definitely not serving their best interests if you “just let it slide.”

So what do you say when they lie to you like this?

You tell them the truth:

“This is something you really want to do, right?”

“Yes it is.”

“And if we do this, you agree that it will make a huge difference in your business (or life), correct?”

“Yes, it will.”

“Then I’d like you to make a commitment to move forward. And when you do that, we’ll work together to find a way to pay for it (or fit it into your schedule or get past your uncertainty). Are you willing to do that?”

“Well, I’m not sure. What if I can’t pay for it (or find the time or get past my uncertainties)?”

“Let’s do this: You make the commitment and I promise we’ll find a way to make it work. The worst that could happen is that things will get delayed a little while. But I know when you make the commitment, we can make it happen.”

“OK, let’s do it!”

Will it always go like this? Can you use this script verbatim? What if they accuse you of pressuring them? What if they tell you never to darken their doorway again?

All I can tell you is that if you make the commitment to take a stand for the truth about the difference your work will make for your clients (and don’t back down when they tell you lies), you will have a client who puts themselves completely in your hands and produces a magnificent outcome.

Give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?

Robert-Middleton©Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has been helping Independent Professionals be better marketers since 1984. On his web site ActionPlan.com find valuable resources, products and programs for attracting more clients and get a free copy of his Marketing Plan Start-Up Kit.


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