My oldest daughter, Amanda, recently graduated high school. During her junior year, while we were still trying to figure out where she would go on to college, I brought up the possibility of considering the University of Missouri (MIZZOU).
Clearly not excited about that possibility she told me (read her response with a heavy dose of really not liking this idea), “Dad, if that’s what you decide I should do, you know I’ll do it, BUT, EVERYONE goes there. It’s only an hour and a half from home. I just feel like it would be too easy to get home.” Honestly, I respected her approach and the logic behind her “objection”.
It was just a couple days later when my younger daughter (by 2 years), Emily, was in the car with me and we were talking about Amanda’s college search. I said, “Em, I know it’s a long a way away for you, but have you given any thought to where you might want to go to school?”
Emily immediately got very excited and said (read her response with a level of excitement usually reserved for lottery winners), “You know dad, I was just thinking about that earlier this week. I think I want to go to MIZZOU! Everyone goes there! It’s only an hour and a half away! I can come home whenever I want!”
Is that hilarious or what?! The same exact three observations made by each girl, but with completely different impacts for each.
That just got me thinking about how often we hear objections from prospects that sound similar to one another. Clearly, the emotion of my daughters made it very obvious that, while they were using the same words, they were making very different statements. You won’t usually have the benefit of that kind of emotion with a prospect.
When we hear an objection we think we have heard before, our tendency is to probably answer those “similar” objections with the exact same response we have used every time before. I think that’s a big mistake. Fight the urge to respond to your prospect’s initial objection. Instead, follow up with a question of your own for the purpose of clarifying and confirming what they mean. It’s only once you have clarity about their position that you will be able to offer the appropriate response.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, my daughter will be heading off to the University of Arkansas in the fall.
Photo by J. Scott 2.