“I would encourage you to get as good as you can at truly acknowledging and stopping for the yellow and the red lights.” – Jennifer Colosimo in today’s Tip 1159
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Jennifer Colosimo. Jennifer co-authored Strikingly Different Selling and Great Work, Great Career with leadership expert Stephen R. Covey. As president of FranklinCovey’s enterprise division, she is accountable for profitable growth in over 160 countries. She’s led teams in consulting, global operations, learning and development, CSR, and IT at FranklinCovey, Accenture, and DaVita, and served as a COO, CLO, and VP of Wisdom. Here she is:
Jennifer Colosimo: Some sales pursuits feel like a late-night drive where we mostly encounter intersections with green traffic lights. It’s easy drive. Others feel like a midday drive. And you’ve got some city streets. We see less green and much more yellow and red. And some are rush hour grind where we slog through a constant stream of yellow and red lights.
I’m guessing by now you know what I mean by using this metaphor of selling traffic lights. There’s three different colors. There’s green, client questions, and minor concerns that we can easily answer. We can resolve them. We can keep moving, moving forward. And then there’s yellow and red. Big pushback, challenges, objections. They slow us down or bring us to a big stop. We’ve all been buyers as well as sellers, so we know it’s natural and normal to ask questions. And it’s never a good idea in sales to ignore those questions that are symbolically yellow or red lights. Don’t ignore them. Don’t go around them. Don’t accelerate through them. Slow down.
So there’s three steps when you’ve got a yellow or a red light. First, acknowledge. And I’ll invest most of the time talking about acknowledgment understanding, which has a whole skill set in and of itself for solution selling and resolving, if possible. When you acknowledge what I mean by that is genuinely with authentic empathy. Like, I really believe this is a valid question, concern, or challenge, not in what can be perceived as in a trite way like, I understand or yes, I appreciate that and moving on.
Acknowledging with authentic empathy means you don’t run the light. You don’t immediately respond, answer, or defend, which is really what most salespeople do. They often immediately just respond, answer, defend. I’m going to run this light. With a yellow or red light, this approach tends to shut down dialogue and you won’t even get to understanding, which means you could solve a problem that actually isn’t even the problem to solve, if you don’t go any deeper.
So sometimes these red lights are also they hit us emotionally. I completely disagree. You’re way off the mark. It’s too expensive and your physical body can react. Sometimes impacting breathing. Sometimes oxygen doesn’t flow to your brain. Your reptilian brain takes over. It’s hard to be authentic empathic if you feel attacked with emotion.
So number one, breathe. Practice responding to the types of objections that you get and practice some examples of acknowledging. So a genuine thank you for raising that concern. Let’s slow down and talk about it. I appreciate you being upfront that could have been something we skipped. May I ask a few questions to make sure I understand the concern?
Here’s a key point.
Acknowledging does not mean we agree. Now, of course, then you have to get to understanding. You have to get to resolution whole other skill sets. But I would encourage you to get as good as you can at truly acknowledging and stopping for the yellow and the red lights.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with Jennifer and to pick up a copy of her book, “Strikingly Different Selling: 6 Vital Skills to Stand Out and Sell More,” just click over to DailySales.Tips/1159.
Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!