Most people don’t get what they want because they don’t understand what’s not working in their communication. They’re so busy talking that they miss the most important point — listening.

As a result, most salespeople, entrepreneurs, and business leaders fall short of their goals.

They miss their sales targets. They don’t meet their projections. And they end up polishing up their resumes as a result.

But not listening effectively can also cost you in life, because it stops you from creating enriching relationships that fuel your success in all other areas.

And let’s not forget, relationships are at the heart of business and sales success. Poor communication often stops you from developing lucrative and powerful business partnerships.

When you don’t listen…

  • You lose customers because they don’t believe you care about them (and you actually don’t)
  • You leave lots of money on the table that could have easily been yours
  • You don’t develop powerful relationships that could result in future partnerships
  • You’re not collaborative, but selfish — and no one wants to work with a self-centered snob

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can develop amazing relationships with clients and partners. Most importantly, you can learn to develop deeper relationships with the most important people in your life.

But until you learn this vital skill, all of your relationships be mediocre at best — not over the top awesome! And isn’t that what all of us really want?

Use the QUIET Framework to Overcome Objections to Whatever It Is You’re Selling

My sales mentor, Zig Ziglar, taught me a simple framework to deal with objections and handle them in an efficient and effective way that improves communication and gets people to commit.

And it’s easy to remember. When you hear objections to your sales offer or any request you have, it’s time to get…Q-U-I-E-T.

Each letter stands for a step you can take to help the other person gather the information he or she needs to overcome whatever objections may exist.

So when you get an objection, pause, and think QUIET.

Question: Come Alongside the Other Person

If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing. — W. Edwards Deming

When you ask questions, you change the nature of the relationship. If it’s a conversation with a potential customer, sales stop being something you do to your customer and becomes something you do for your customer.

If its an interaction with a peer or supervisor, it becomes about trying to see things from their perspective and not advancing your own agenda. Remember what Zig said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Asking the right questions makes you your customer’s ally. You pull up next to them, look at the situation from their perspective, and try to help them see what they’re missing.

Asking questions does a few vital things:

  • It shows them you want to understand their position
  • It helps you gain a clearer sense of how you can be of service
  • It gives them a chance to articulate their position
  • It makes them reexamine whatever objection they had offered
  • It gives you direction for the next step

Understand: Show You Care about Their Concerns

Learn avidly. Question repeatedly what you have learned. Analyze it carefully. Then put what you have learned into practice intelligently. — Edward Cocker

It’s not enough to simply ask questions. You have to take the answers and make sense of them. You have to understand where the other person is coming from — their pain points, their needs, and their aspirations — before you can add value to them.

Seeking to understand shows them:

  • You’re more interested in the relationship than a sale
  • You want to find mutually beneficial solutions
  • You have an idea, product, or service that can make their life better
  • You are a good listener who puts their needs first
  • You have a solution to their objection

Identify: Focus on the Objection That Matters Most

That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer.— Jacob Bronowski

The point of asking questions is to identify the other person’s objection. I’ve worked through countless sales with customers whose first instinct was to say no. Often, they didn’t even know why. It was simply their default position.

But there is good news. When you hear an objection to whatever you’re selling, CONGRATULATIONS! Objections are opportunities to sell your idea, product, or service, not challenges to scare you into retreat.

The person who raises an objection is actually engaging with you and demonstrating an interest in your idea, product, or service. They’re not ignoring you. And that’s a good thing.

Remember, if everyone could sell anything without having to encounter objections, there would be no value in learning to sell well.

After you’ve asked a question and begun to understand you can identify the problem.

This shows the other person that:

  • You have a solution that makes their life easier or better.
  • You value their objection and hear their voice.
  • You can restate their objection into a mutually-beneficial solution.
  • You are taking their objection seriously.
  • You can restate their objection in a way that honors the intention but shows your value.

Empathize: Show You Care But Won’t Leave Them There

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. — Henry Ford

Empathy is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. This is true if you’re in sales, are an aspiring entrepreneur or a business leader leading an established team.

But a word of warning: be sincere. People can spot a phony a mile away. That’s why the stereotype of the sleazy salesperson exists. Don’t be that person.

When you truly empathize you:

  • Put yourself in their position.
  • Try to help them come up with the best solution, even if it’s not what you are selling.
  • Help them understand what you are selling from a different point of view.
  • Help them see their problem with an objective set of eyes.

Test: Find Out What the Real Problem is by Trial and Error

It is easy enough to hold an opinion, but rather more testing to act on it. — Jonathan Dimbleby

The final step is to test whether or not you’ve identified the real problem by putting their objection to the test. You have to see if what they are objecting to is real or not. It may be that they are saying one thing because they really want to avoid the core objection.

You test it by addressing it in order to solve it. If they keep pulling up more objections as you resolve them, the problem may not be the problem. There may be something deeper going on.

The good news is that by this time in the process, you should have gained the other person’s trust. When you’ve asked questions, understood their viewpoint, identified the problem, and empathized with them, you’ve earned the right to test their objection.

Testing the objection:

  • Demonstrates that you were listening and understand their needs.
  • Shows them how your idea, product, or service actually does overcome their objections.
  • Helps eliminate their concerns.
  • Dramatically improves your chances of making a sale.

Don’t Let the Fear of Rejection Hold You Back

[Tweet “Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back. – Kevin Harrington”]

If you truly believe that what you are selling is valuable, that it will help the person you are speaking with, then don’t hold back! If you care about your customer you won’t let a simple objection stop you from doing everything you can to get to an emphatic “YES!”

Use the Q.U.I.E.T strategy to get to the heart of the matter and move beyond the initial objection.

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