Acknowledging Objections

Purpose: To help participants understand the importance of acknowledging customer’s objections and resisting the initial urge to contradict customers when they have an objection.
Participants: 6 - 18
Time Required: 45 minutes
Materials Needed: “Aknowledging Objections” handout, pieces of paper, pens.

Steps to Follow:
a) Split the group of participants into teams of three. Assign a product in the “Acknowledging Objections” handout to each group. Tell them that they have to decide on the first two sentences they will use to handle each of the objections for their product. Set the timeframe for completing the exercise to 5 minutes.
b) Ask a member of each team to read out the first two sentences they would use to handle that particular objection. Listen to them carefully. When they are done reading, ask them whether any part of the way they started to handle that objection is contradicting the customer’s objection in any way.
c) Make a mark on the flipchart for any contradictions they identify on the flipchart.
d) Tell participants that one of the common mistakes inexperienced salespersons make is that of interrupting and contradicting customers when they have objections. Once such a contradiction has been phrased, prospects tend to become defensive and focus more on sustaining their own point of view than on hearing convincing arguments that might overcome their objections.
e) Ask participants write down a phrase that lets the prospective customer understand that we acknowledge their objection, for all the objections they have handled by contradicting the customers.
f) When they are done, ask them to read out the sentences that acknowledge objections. Make sure that they don’t confuse acknowledging objections with agreeing to objections, and point out the difference through various examples. “You are right” (agreement) must become” I see why you would feel that way” (acknowledgement).

Questions for Debriefing:
• What is the added value of acknowledging customer’s objections?
• How can you resist your initial impulse to contradict the customer?
• What do you think a customer feels when you acknowledge his objection?

Tips on Making This Activity Go Well:
• If none of the participants make initial objection handling statements that contradict the customer, be sure to congratulate them and hold the small lecture about the importance of acknowledging objections. Since avoiding contradictions and acknowledging objections are not precisely the same thing, ask them to find acknowledgement phrases as well.

Download Handout