Lead with your chin? Or, never lead with your chin? Which is it?
A young man of 23 years old selling to men and women that were much older and wiser is not an easy situation. But that was exactly what I was facing in my first sales position. I was admittedly concerned about the idea that I would be perceived as a young “kid” who really didn’t know anything.
However, relatively early in my career, I learned a principle from Zig Ziglar that said this, “If you are consistently getting an objection at the end of your presentation – learn how to handle that objection during your presentation.” The basic idea was that you take the air out of the balloon when you do that and it improves your closing ratios.
In my case, no one was actually verbalizing any objection about my age – it was more about what I perceived them to be thinking. So I decided to take the same approach that Zig taught. I simply would begin a presentation with the following comment:
“Let me ask you a question before we get started. I know that I am a young “green horn” and I have much to learn. And I also know that you have been in business for a while now and have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. So what I would like to ask you is this: You wouldn’t let the fact that I am still young and have a lot to learn, keep you from making a decision that you really believed would be good for your business, would you?”
What would happen at that point was quite interesting. First, getting it out on the table made me more comfortable. Second, in most cases it was like the business owner would emotionally put their arm around my shoulder and encourage me. They often said something along the lines of, “Well no, son. That won’t be an issue if I think it is good for my business.”
It almost felt like they were cheering me on!
That same process works for any consistent objection you may get. By bringing it up and laying it on the table – you are not actually leading with your chin. You are actually avoiding taking it on the chin later.
Jill Konrath had a great post on this recently that I recommend you watch or read. http://www.jillkonrath.com/sales-blog/bid/156802/Video-Best-Way-to-Defuse-Dreaded-Sales-Objections