We often hear the spousal objection in day to day calls, unfortunately we often lay down when we hear this and schedule an appointment, or worse yet just let the customer ask us for an email and we never call back.
When I ask agents about this, the reason typically given is that they identify with the objection. If they were shopping they think that they’d want to talk to their significant other as well.
I’m here to tell you that identifying with an objection isn’t the same thing as allowing it to control the call.
STEP #1: UNDERSTAND THE OBJECTION-
Here is a breakdown of the Spousal Objection in reality-
50% of the time the Spousal Objection is a Complete Smoke Screen Brace yourself… Customers Lie. Customers don’t like confrontation and for whatever reason they know that if they pretend to pass the decision making process on to someone else who is inaccessible you will give up. You have sales skills and routines, they have customer skills and routines. They have probably run this play many times in the past and it’s worked. There is some other option available that the customer hasn’t made you aware of or a decision was already made and they are placating you on the phone with zero intentions of ever speaking to you again.
25% of the time the Spousal Objection is a Partial Smoke Screen Brace yourself… Customer Lie. Seriously. Customers need a reason to get off of the phone, but in this case it’s because THEY don’t like something and instead of talk about it, they would rather talk to someone who gives them what they want the first time around. This scenario means that the customer has an objection to your cost or service, this is an objection that you could overcome, if you only knew about it. The objection that you don’t get kills the deal.
25% of the time the Spousal Objection is Real 1 out of 4 Customers that give you the spousal objection really aren’t capable of making a decision on their own. These customers need to speak to their significant other and come to some sort of agreement before they can move forward. These customers need to either get you in touch with their spouse, or they need to become advocates for your service.
STEP #2: ADDRESS THE OBJECTION-
Assume that like 75% of your customers, the Spousal Objection is a Smoke Screen. Here are 3 Ways to Overcome the Spousal Objection-
1. Avoid the Objection in the first place. Get tacit approval from the spouse up front: ask if both parties are on the same page, ask if they have already talked about this, ask if they have clearance to make a decision.
2. Uncover the true objection. Use non-threatening language that transfers blame for the non-agreement to the 3rd party, Example- “If your wife were here right now what would she be concerned about?”, or use a proactive approach, Example- “What do you and I need to do so that your husband loves this and thinks that it’s his idea?”. This may draw out the real objection that was hidden, in which case we can address it.
3. ARC. Acknowledge the Objection, Respond to it and Close. Example- “I realize it’s tough to make this call right now but I believe it’s safe to say that we are going to move forward, we just aren’t sure whether or not to (insert options here) right?”, (wait for the YES, or if it’s slow in coming apply a qualifier statement like “because the last thing you want to do is nothing, right?”). Once the customer implies that they will move forward take it to the next level and let them know that you will make the various options available to them and that they can adjust the order as they see fit together. This shifts the decision making process to the Spouse, which is what they wanted in the first place. Then, re-close and ask for the business.
STEP #3: PLAN TO RESOLVE THE OBJECTION-
Sometimes this Objection is an impasse and we need to revert to plan B-
1. Integrity Close. Ask for the business 1 more time anyway. Let the customer know that it would keep you up at night knowing that they hadn’t done the right thing yet, or that you hadn’t been able to help them out like you should have. Use the Power of Please and ask if they would Please let you help them out today. If they still say No, then tell them that you had to try for your own peace of mind, they understand right?
2. Conference Call. If you can’t get past the gatekeeper, maybe we should ask more aggressively now. If the spouse really is just the gatekeeper ask to conference in with the decision maker, or ask for an alternate number. Let the customer know that they have done a great job of gathering info, explaining the situation, but that the spouse would really want to talk to you directly in order to move forward, it’s that important.
3. Schedule an Appointment. When all else fails, move to the appointment. Don’t give an inch on this option, it’s the last option and you want to leave a wedge in the door so it’s open. Ask for a firm appointment time and let the customer know that you’ll be setting aside crucial time since their file is important to you.
A Couple of Tips-
Even if you believe the Spousal Objection is a Smoke Screen, don’t insult the customer by ever attacking their integrity and insist that they are untruthful. Always remain as if the trust has been unbroken.
Use qualifying statements like “…. Because of XYZ” or “… we found that….”
Remain Polite, customers are more likely to move forward with someone who is socially appropriate.
As always, Happy Selling! You can follow me on twitter @salesfumaster or review the blog at www.salesfumaster.com