“Going to McDonald’s for a salad is like going to a whorehouse for a hug.”
Funny and true, but there’s a much larger strategic concept going on that strategic marketers and salespeople use. (This saying also confirms my observation that there are three companies marketing authors use in their case studies more than any other: Apple, Coke and McDonalds. )
I was first exposed to the concept of “denying the deniers” in Michel Pollan’s Book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which his eleven-year-old son, excited to eat McDonald’s, overcomes his mother’s objections and sadness that she’d be missing out on a “real meal” by pointing out that she could order one of the new “premium salads”.
“These healthier menu items hand the child who wants to eat fast food a sharp tool with which to chip away at his parents’ objections. “But Mom, you can get the salad . . .”
Despite directly contributing just 3% of McDonald’s sales, salads survive unpopular product culls because of their use bringing in the rest of the family/group, and for their power in PR, allowing the company to claim it promotes “a healthy, balanced lifestyle”.
Proactive salespeople have a prepared list of ways to overcome a customer’s objections and enough practice to make the delivery smooth. A good marketer has given the salesperson the tools to overcome objections. Anyone who has ever had a furnace or air conditioner salesperson in their home, or tried to buy a car are also probably intimately familiar with the tactics used.
The two most common are
- Demonstrating the value of your product
- in the case of cancellations, you can demonstrate ROI a customer has already received
- Offering interest-free purchases, payment plans, etc.
While plenty of sales books and courses exist, the two best short guides to overcoming customer objections come from a blog from HubSpot, and blog from Close. It’s curious that both are from CRM companies, and both look at 40 examples. I found these examples to be very straightforward, and very B2B oriented. Personally, I found the more realistic emotional, psychological guide from RAIN [Consulting] Group to be better preparation for the real world. Plus, it comes in handy poster form!
My absolute favorite: #4, Good Cop, Bad Cop. That trope in movies where teams of lawyers square off against each other in a conference room? The same thing is happening in sales when someone brings along a colleague. Several subconscious things are happening that are evolved into us, foremost the fact that there is strength in numbers. This makes every way you project confidence all the more important. Frank Luntz was right to make the tagline of book Words That Work “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear”, and in many ways, what people hear is how you said what you said.