Interviewing for market research #4: managing objections in 4 steps
Imagine: you know that a particular person would be the perfect match for your research. They are the keeper of the information you really need, and you dial them up. The phone rings, they pick up and you are met with a resounding rejection that you don’t know how to recover from. You’ve just run headfirst into an objection. We take you through 4 steps on how to manage them.
1. Prepare for objections when writing a script
Many objections occur because you have not been able to grab attention from the start of the conversation. To read more about this objection, please read our previous blogs on how to get in and how to write a good pitch.
One common objection is: I’m busy / Now is not a good time / Just send me an email. This objection is a little tricky. It’s quite likely that they are not making excuses, but even if they are, you have to take their word for it. You can say something like, “Oh, of course. We don’t have to talk right now. Just save room for a brief talk later in the week, while I further prepare my research.”
And as soon as the person agrees, segue to the appointment by saying something like: “That sounds perfect! Will you be more available on Friday?”
2. Do not give up when receiving an objection
Explore the objection. Try listening and fight the emotion you are likely to feel. Listen to the objection and before responding, ask your prospect for more information. Ask questions like: “Why do you think that” or “What is the reason that you don’t want to participate?”
Is it time, privacy, relevance, or something else?
Think about three points that you can put across to answer the objection. Be concise and to the point! Use examples to reinforce the three points that you have thought of.
3. Acknowledge the objections and turn them into something positive
Take the heat out of the objection by acknowledging it. Tell your prospect you see where they are coming from and why you understand they might be hesitant to participate at first.
Instead of sounding demanding and pushy, try to anchor your pitch on something you know they are interested in. Are they working for an association? Tell them how your research can benefit their members. Are they working for a company that could benefit from your research or contacts? Let them know!
Find something that you have in common. People are more likely to talk to people they feel like they have something in common with. Examples are a shared interest, a shared goal, perhaps you visited the same conference once, or you have mutual contacts on LinkedIn.
Build your message around those concepts and make a smooth transition to asking for an appointment to interview them.
4. Do’s and don’ts
In any case, be a good listener, be confident, make notes, adapt to the conversation, and summarize if you can. Last but not least: make sure you don’t sound like a salesperson. Of course, you have to maintain the right tone of voice during the whole conversation. Read more about hitting the right tone of voice in part 3 of this series.
Marieke de Haan