Sales Training: Avoid the Counterpoint Reflex

sales training, success in selling, counterpoint reflexToday in our Monday is for Marketing feature I want to introduce an important marketing and selling concept, the Counterpoint Reflex. To be most effective in your selling conversation you want to avoid the Counterpoint Reflex. What is it? Simply put, it is when the person you are talking to reflexively takes the opposite position. This actually happens quite a bit in everyday conversations. You say to a friend, "I hear it is supposed to be nice this weekend." Then they respond by saying, "Really? I heard we might get some rain." Or they say it might be too hot, or too humid, or they might say something like, "Yea, but I have to work." The Counterpoint Reflex is an instinctive and emotional behavior that causes people to respond or push back in a contrarian manner, usually by taking the opposite viewpoint or a "counter" viewpoint on what's being said. Thus we call it the Counterpoint Reflex. The truth is that people will take a contrarian position on just about anything, and they typically do it unconsciously. It is a reflex.

Now why is this important in sales?

The aim of a selling conversation is to bring buyers and sellers together as partners in a mutual exchange of value. The outcome of the conversation should be an agreement that is good for both parties. This requires a "positive" interaction. Sellers should look for ways to build agreement - first around the buyer's need, and second, around the value the seller's product or service provides. Success in selling is largely a matter of achieving positive alignment. This alignment is the emotional bond that brings people together to form mutually beneficial business relationships. This is a key focus of our sales training.

When people disagree, they tend to distance themselves emotionally, often to avoid pressure, coercion, or debate.

The counterpoint reflex is a form of resistance that communicates disagreement. This push back is the buyer's way of distancing themselves. Success in selling requires agreement and emotional connection. Emotional distance does not typically lead to a sell. So when your potential buyer exercises the counterpoint reflex it begins to lower your probability of success. The most effective way to avoid the counterpoint reflex is to ask good questions. Learn to "ask" more than you "present." Focus on questions instead of statements. In upcoming posts I will develop this idea more, but for now, let it suffice to say that we want to avoid putting ourselves in the position to get the counterpoint reflex. And the best way to do that is simply to ask more and better questions! Contact us to learn more about how our sales training and coaching can help you avoid the counterpoint reflex and increase your sales effectiveness.

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