Overcoming objections

With the UK economy pulling out of recession, many accountants will be
looking to get back in touch with clients. Yet for all their technical
brilliance, many dread picking up the phone and re-establishing contacts – any
signs of objection from the person on the other end of the line and they’re
ready to hang up.

Persuasion may not be some accountants’ strongest skill, but you don’t need
to be a wily politician to overcome objections.

Even the most skilled of sales callers are unlikely to avoid all objections.
The main reason for objections is that you haven’t put yourself in the shoes of
the person receiving the call. Unless they are really interested in what you can
offer, you will get an objection. So ask yourself: “If I were to receive this
call, what would make me listen?” Most callers fail to consider what the other
party wants.

When you call, exude confidence. If you’re speaking to someone you’ve never
worked with before, don’t hesitate. State with confidence your relationship with
their predecessor (use their first name) and say, given their positive comments
about your work, you are getting back in touch to update the client on some
issues of interest.

Fight the urge to argue, disagree with or interrupt the client. Acknow­ledge
their concern (“I understand the way you feel…”) or follow up with an open
question (“that’s inter­esting, why do you think that?”).

Finally, be sure to prepare responses for common objections. For example,
answer “decisions like this are made at a more senior level/another office” with
“who should I speak to there?”; “we’ve just instructed someone else” with “let’s
meet briefly so should you ever need to look elsewhere you can see how we might
help in the future”; and “just send me an email” (a common ‘hidden’ objection)
with “what information in particular would be of most use to you?” to make sure
you’re not just being fobbed off.

Don’t be disheartened if the “objector” doesn’t back down. It’s hard to not
take rejection personally, but it’s often forgotten that they may get in trouble
for making the wrong decisions.

Be prepared to revisit your plan, and remember perseverance will often pay

Jack Downton is the managing director of The Influence Business

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