How To Use ‘Agree & Align’ When Dealing With Sales Objections

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Young managers discussingWhy do objections occur?

It’s an age-old question that gets salespeople crying into their beer.

There are, naturally, many reasons why they come up, but they tend to revolve around one main cause…that the value of change doesn’t match the status quo.

Here’s a different way to deal with objections.

When a prospect states an objection, avoid the natural response, which is to defend your position or to fight back.

Instead, you can apply the form of conversation known as ‘agree and align’.

In linguistic terms, this is known as a ‘pattern-interrupt’.

By raising the objection, the prospect is expecting you to come back with a question, a change to the offer, a fighting response, or something similar.

This is a pattern that the prospect may be expecting.

By adopting the ‘agree and align’ conversation, you interrupt their pattern of thought.

Here’s how it can work:

Prospect: I’m not sure that one company has all the answers in one product

You: You know, Mr Prospect, I agree with you. I don’t know if my company has all the answers either. So let’s talk about the specific answers you are looking for, and see if we have the solutions that would fit your specific situation.

This reduces the knee-jerk reaction that a lot of salespeople would follow, where they try to justify why they would be right for the customer, when really they are digging an early grave in the sale by trying to make the customer wrong that they even thought about the objection in the first place.

It lays the foundation for further discussion and questioning.

Here’s another example:

Prospect: Your prices are really high. Can you do something about them?

You: Do you know, you’re right about them being high. We made a conscious decision to build quality into our products rather than skimp or try to save money by not being the best. Let’s take a look at your needs and see if we can adjust the proposal to match those needs.

What you’re doing here is agreeing with the prospect that the up-front price is higher than other offerings.

Then you align the offering to the specific needs that the prospect has, so you can get their agreement.

This is in direct opposition to what they might expect.

So there’s no need to fight with the prospect.

Do the opposite of what they expect so that you can validate their position.

When people feel heard and understood, they often respond by lowering their resistance and starting conversation.

It helps you ask more questions, learn more about their company and discover what’s really important to them.

It also offers a different way of looking at objections and how to deal with them.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 31 July, 2017

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