3 Ways We Experience the Counterpoint Reflex in Sales

sales training, selling conversationIn a previous Monday is for Marketing feature I introduced the Counterpoint Reflex. It is common in selling conversations for the potential buyer to reflexively take the opposite position. This is the counterpoint reflex. In our sales training we encourage sellers to avoid this whenever possible because it reduces the likelihood of a sale. Here are 3 common ways people manifest the counterpoint reflex.

1. The Contradiction

A contradiction is a reflexive response that directly rebuts a comment or statement. When you say something in your selling conversation that your potential buyer takes issue with, emotional distance begins to set in. To make a sell we need to build an emotional connection, so this "contradiction" is typically signalling movement in the wrong direction. A contradictory response impedes the conversation and discourages dialogue, so we want to avoid this if at all possible. However, when it happens what can we do? Usually the best thing to do is to pause and respond with, "Oh, I can see your point." Or "Oh, tell me more. I want to understand your point of view." The goal here is get back into alignment with your prospective buyer as quickly as possible. This is best accomplished by acknowledging thoughtful agreement (if that is truly how you feel) or by pursuing them to understand their point. Once understood (and they feel understood) you can quickly gain alignment again and keep the conversation moving forward.

2. One-Upsmanship

One-upsmanship happens when someone makes a statement or tells a story, and then you jump in trying to make an even bigger impact by saying something like, "The same thing happened to me, only worse." As a sales professional you never want to one-up your prospective buyer because it reduces their significance. You may experience your prospective buyer "one-upping" you by saying something like, "If you think your proposal is competitive, you should have seen what the other company was offering." Either way it happens it reduces the probability of a sale because emotional distance begins to set in. The selling conversation should not be a contest. Don't take it there. And if your prospective buyer chooses to go there, remember that the best course of action is to pause and begin to pursue them by using thoughtful questions. Possibly ask, "What did you like most about the other company's proposal? What are the factors that are most important to you?" Ask them questions so that they feel both valued and understood.

3. The Unnecessary Clarification

I was recently engaged in sales coaching with a client. We went on a call together where I could actually observe him in action. We received a warm reception from the prospect and began to have a very productive conversation, when suddenly my client started going off on a tangent. He started telling the prospect detailed information about a peripheral issue that had nothing to do with our selling conversation. I watched the prospect's eyes begin to glaze over and I felt the energy in our conversation deflate. I stepped in and redirected the conversation and we eventually got out of the office with minimal damage, but obviously no sale. It's very important to pursue the prospect so that you know their reasons for wanting to consider your product or service. Ask questions. Find out what's important to THEM! Then stick with their needs and concerns. Give them what they need but ONLY what they need to make a genuine commitment. When you take off on unnecessary detail and clarification you begin to lose the sell! By learning how to identify and avoid the counterpoint reflex you will significantly increase your probability of making a sell. Focus on the prospect. Ask sincere, meaningful questions. Make the emotional connection, nurture that connection in your conversation, and watch what happens. You'll be glad you did!

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply