Book Review of Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art & Science of Getting Past No by Jeb Blount
Ask any workshop what topics they want covered and odds are handling objections will be one of them. That’s why I was so excited when I learned that Jeb Blount’s next book would be on addressing objections. Jeb has an amazing streak of top selling sales books – and for good reason – they’re excellent. And Jeb’s latest book (Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering The Art and Science of Getting Past No) is no exception.
Full disclosure – I am an unabashed Jeb Blount fan and enjoyed speaking with him and others at the amazing OutBound sales conference. Having said that, I read approximately a hundred books a year and I choose to review a very select number of those each year. This is one of those books.
The Art And Science of Addressing Objections And Concerns
I know what you’re thinking. With a title containing terms like “objections” and “getting past no” you might be tempted to think this is a collection of tricky comebacks and manipulative techniques to “overcome” objections. It isn’t. There are no manipulative approaches that offend your sensibilities. Everything you find in this book will be of service to customers and in alignment with your personal values.
Objections has sixteen chapters that tend to fall into four categories:.
- Asking For Commitments
- The Psychology of Objections & Objection Handling
- Models For Addressing Objections & Concerns
- How to Bend Probability in Your Favor
Here’s What You’ll Learn
Within those four categories you’ll learn seven key things:
- Where your fear of rejection comes from and why it is so difficult to control.
- How to master your own disruptive emotions and become rejection proof.
- Where objections come from and why buyers resist.
- The keys to lowering your prospects’ resistance and reducing the probability that you get an objection.
- The four types of objections you get in sales and when they happen.
- Turnaround frameworks for getting past each type of objection.
- How to bend your win probability and put the odds of getting a yes in your favor.
What Triggers Objections?
Most objections are triggered at the moment a request to advance the sale is given. Despite that, it’s not the asking of commitments that is the biggest challenge. Rather, because 50-90% of all sales encounters end with no commitment being asked for whatsoever, the biggest problem is not asking at all. Jeb outlines why asking for commitments is the most important discipline in sales. Just because concerns frequently follow when an advance is requested doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask. Quite the opposite. The reason you’re not getting what you what is more likely because you’re not asking for what you want.
Throughout the pages of Objections, Jeb Blount maintains a practical perspective on what can and cannot be accomplished with objection handling. Those seeking a silver-bullet objection slayer for all objections will be disappointed – because there is no silver bullet. However, what you’ll find within the pages of Objections is the best collection of models for addressing objections and concerns published to date. At the most fundamental level, professionals need to: Ask, Listen and Be Prepared to address concerns.
Verbal & Nonverbal Communication
A huge percentage of the concerns expressed by prospects are actually caused by sales reps themselves. I was very pleased to find a detailed discussion and tables on upgrading both your verbal messaging as well as well as your nonverbal messaging that will actually prevent many of these objections. This is an area where little changes can make a big difference.
Types of Objections
If you ask sales professionals how many different types of objections there are, most will reply that there are infinite varieties. But this isn’t so and Jeb does an excellent job of chunking objections down into a manageable set of four types:
- Red Herring
He then goes on to offer facilitative turnaround frameworks for each one.
The Psychology of Objections & Objection Handling
Once you come to understand the dynamics around objections, why they happen and how they affect both you and your prospect, you’ll be capable of freely adapting and moving in and out of all the models for your own type of sale. This is a valuable aspect of the book. The if psychology bores you, rest assured that the models you learn in Objections will work regardless of whether you understand why they work. But the clarity Jeb offers around the psychology of objections will make you even more effective.
Jeb covers the science of resistance, how they originate at the emotional level and then elaborates why it is that you cannot argue people into believing they are wrong. You will need a more more zen-like approach if you want to actually address your prospect’s concerns. This is an important point because people are emotional first and foremost. If we hope to traverse all of our prospect’s objections and concerns we need to use frameworks that take emotion into account.
Your Own Psychology
An important part of the psychology of objection handling is how we perceive and react to objections. Objections are not rejection, but they often feel that way. Objections are signs of confusion, concerns, the sorting out of options, subconscious cognitive biases, risk aversion, cognitive overload, and the fear of change. They are part of the human decision-making process and in most cases are a sign of engagement. Objections offers excellent advice and actionable tips on how to change your mindset around getting objections that are beneficial for every sales professional and I dare say when embraced will make you rejection-proof as well.
A Goldmine of Valuable Models
Jeb is very generous sharing the valuable models he has developed for sales over the years. This is the meat and my favorite part of the book. You will find useful models for bringing objections to the surface, activating what he calls the “self-disclosure” loop, addressing each of the four objection types, as well as models for mapping stakeholders in your sale.
Prospecting – This section is a microcosm of Jeb’s brilliant book Fanatical Prospecting (which I also recommend). Here the focus is on the objections that surface during prospecting. You’ll learn the rule of thirds and his famous 5-Step Phone Process. Within prospecting there are three sub-classes of objections: reflex responses, brush-offs and true objections. What follows is a detailed discussion of how these fall into predictable patterns and how to develop turnarounds for each using his 3-Step Prospecting Turnaround Framework. There are excellent examples and sample dialog here for each.
Red Herring – Red herrings are things prospects do, say, or ask that distract from the real focus of the sales conversation. Following them does not advance the conversation into useful territory for the customer. Here Jeb offers a useful 4-part framework called PAIS to bring the conversation back to what is truly relevant. He has also included here his Call Agenda Framework which, if used, will prevent red herring objections from happening to begin with.
Micro-Commitment – Micro-commitments are a series of low-risk commitments that lead down the path to a final buying commitment and in my opinion employing them is one of the most powerful techniques in selling. Here Jeb offers a valuable and easily-remembered 3-part framework for addressing the concerns or objections that are sometimes encountered when asking for micro-commitments.
Buying Commitments – Buying commitment objections are, of course, the concerns or objections given when presenting the final ask for the business. And here Jeb provides a valuable 5-part framework that universally applicable to every kind of sale. In fact, this one framework alone is worth the price of the book. It’s both easy to learn and master.
Shortcut to Nowhere
I think it’s important to point out how critical it is to follow a sales process. That’s because if you attempt to take shortcuts and skip parts of your sales process you will inadvertently create objections that you cannot get past without going back and revisiting the skipped step. The frameworks presented in Objections are fantastic. But they are not a substitute for your sales process. So even with the tremendous tools added to your kit from Objections, remember this: Selling requires discipline.
Bending Probability in Your Favor
The final chapters bring all these elements together while providing a very motivating shot-in-the-arm delivered in a way that only Jeb can do. It is highly engaging and I think sales teams would greatly benefit from re-reading these chapters once every few months. It’s a perfect refresher and team exercise.
I’ve read every book on objections (many of which are rare and out of print) and Objections from Jeb Blount is the best book ever written on the subject of addressing concerns and objections. If this is an area where you seek improvement (and every sales professional should) save yourself a lot of time and start right here. The full scope of what you need to address your prospect’s objections and concerns is right here. I recommend it to every every sales professional in any kind of sale.
Until next time!
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