by Certified Life Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Have you ever watched an Aikido martial artist before? Aikido is a Japanese martial art that involves unifying with the other's energy and creating harmony—even in a fight. It requires the ability to relax the mind and body. Watch this short video and observe how the two people sparring are transferring each other’s energy between them. When the person “attacking” the sparring partner brings energy toward the martial artist, he defends himself by redirecting his opponent’s energy—not resisting, fighting or struggling with it.
What if overcoming objections could be similar to this sparring session? They can be if you are willing to add another tool to your tool belt.
Most Financial Representatives (FRs) overcome objections by trying to anticipate the objection and overcoming it before it happens: “I have no reason to think you are in need of a financial advisor, nor did John say you were.” While this can often work, sometimes it may feel like you are blocking your martial arts opponent before s/he even made a move! It can feel like a wall for some Qualified Suspects (QSs) or clients—completely obstructing open communication.
Other FRs talk very quickly so the QS can’t get a word in—ignoring the person on the end of the line—setting an appointment (!) and then being shocked when the QS no-shows. Chances are the QS did not even know what they were agreeing to—they just wanted to get off the phone. Preventing the opportunity for QSs to object by talking over them just masks the fact that the objections are there all along whether you let them be said or not.
Do you stifle a groan and resist rolling your eyes when yet another client says, “I have to check with people before I can give you their names and contact information.”
What are you feeling right now as you read these common scenarios? Unified with other people? Harmony? Relaxation of mind and body? Yeah…I didn’t think so. If you are like most FRs, these scenarios are probably all too familiar and bring a sense of needing to fight people just to do your job. Many FRs wonder why people resist the process so much and wish it could be easier.
The first step to turn this around is to check yourself: are you resisting the process? If you are feeling tense about objections, the first step is to help yourself relax. Why should the person you are working with relax into your process when you aren’t?
Next, rethink the objection. What if it is a sign of engagement—not resistance. After all, the person is responding to you with his/her concerns. What’s so bad about that?
The last part of the technique is to AGREE with the objection! Validate it. This is the other person’s legitimate point of view that they are expressing. So what? This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it and it won’t be the last. Then, BRIDGE to redirect the conversation.
Here are examples:
Objection: I have to check with people before I can give you their names and contact information.
Technique: I’m so glad that you said that! That’s exactly what I was going to talk with you about. (Read about using a second technique that will redirect this objection into teeing-up the referral.)
Objection: I already have a financial advisor
Technique: That’s really great—most people do not. Well done. Interestingly, most of my clients have more than one advisor. Why don’t we find a time to meet and see if I can be a part of your planning team?
Objection: I’m just too busy to meet with you.
Technique: I hear you—you do sound really busy! I am fortunate to work with many busy, successful people. I’d like to see if I can make your life easier like I have for others. Why don’t we find a convenient place and time to meet and see if I can be a help.
Objection: Can you call me next week?
Technique: Sure I can. But while I have you on the line, why don’t we make sure that your financial bases are covered? Are you in town next week?
Objection: I can’t afford insurance.
Technique: You are not alone in feeling that way. Thanks for telling me. Why don’t we take another hard look at the budget and see what you can do.
Objection: I take care of my own finances.
Technique: It’s always great to talk to clients who have taken charge of their own finances. I enjoy working with people who are really engaged. Is there any harm in a second set of eyes? I’d be glad to take a look and make sure you are all set.
Objection: I have to run this plan by my uncle. He’s a financial advisor.
Technique: It’s so great that you have resources like that in your family. Would you like to invite him to our next meeting? How can I best support you through this planning process?
Instead of dreading and fearing objections, embrace them! They are a sign of a thinking, engaged person and an opportunity to move energy in a more productive direction. How can you act like an Aikido martial artist and greet each objection with relaxation and redirect its energy toward a happy resolution?
Coaching Tip Clients are your mirror. Observe how they appear to be feeling. Next, check inside yourself to see if you are feeling the same way. For example, if you are anxious, uncomfortable or frustrated, chances are your clients feel that way, too. This is an inside job!