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December 1999


Ten Years of Upline

The Ultimate Secret for Handling Objections - John David Mann

I've tried a lot of different approaches to "handling objections." But try as I might, I keep getting slammed with the same few objections. What am I doing wrong?

One reason Network Marketing is a "numbers game" is that it takes many encounters with different people to develop the communication skills of a good Networker. Five or ten conversations won't do it! There's a natural progression here; let's take a look.

John David Mann The first time you take your newfound enthusiasm, offer it excitedly to someone, and get "slammed with an objection," chances are you handle it the way people usually react to criticism-- get defensive, retreat and disappear, or fight back. That's familiar: It's the famous "fright-- flight or fight" response. It's hardwired human behavior; comes with the equipment. This approach is otherwise known as "Handling Objections With Your Adrenal Glands": Survival Mode.

Soon, you start using your brain to control your adrenaline and emotions; you learn to counter "objections" with facts: Knowledge Mode.

"It might seem expensive, but do you realize that this is a three-month supply, and on a per-day basis, that's only 75 cents..."

"Actually, Network Marketing has been around for over 60 years, and there are quite a few Fortune 500 companies that employ its methods, including..."

The information-based approach lets you feel more in control, which certainly feels better-- to you. But soon you notice a problem: It's not getting great results. Why not? Because people don't really care about facts. Facts are features, and what people want is benefits. As Peter Hirsch says in his book Living With Passion, "Millions of drill bits are purchased every year-- and you know what all those drill-bit-buyers want? They don't want drill bits. They want holes." Besides, in this information-saturated age, people are bombarded with way too much information anyway.

So time and experience make you wiser. You start tempering your eagerness to dump information all over people and learn to focus on benefits. You learn to anticipate certain objections and "handle" them before they even come up. (For example, if you've had people say, "I don't have time," you might include a most-people-do-this-part-time, ten-hours-per-week benefit in your initial presentation.) You start developing more skillful ways of responding to people's questions and concerns; perhaps adopting the famous "feel, felt, found" formula ("I know how you feel, that's what I felt, but then I found ...").

The Skill Mode is a big step up from Knowledge, and it gets better results. But it's still limited: It tends to be more you-based than them-based.

The next dimension of communication comes with listening-- really listening-- to the other person. When you do, you start hearing through and beyond the content of their "objection."

What you start hearing is them-- how and what they are feeling.

Most people's objections are ten percent, at most, about what they're saying-- and 90 percent or more about what they're feeling. When you get into Listening Mode and respond to the person, you're ten times more effective than if you simply respond to the information in the question.

Do you see what's really happening here as you move through this progression? What's changing? You are.

You're becoming not simply excited and enthusiastic about your products, company and profession, but truly confident. The more grounded you feel in your own opportunity, the less you feel the need to defend, attack, escape, out-logic or out-maneuver. Because you yourself no longer buy into the objections you hear, they don't frighten or rattle you. You're becoming free to simply be with the person.


  Most people's objections are ten percent, at most, about what they're saying - and 90 percent or more about what they're feeling.
Aha-- there's a clue as to the Ultimate Secret. 

As you become more and more secure with the Listening mode, you gain access to the Mastery Mode, where you find The Ultimate Secret to Handling Objections: Handle your own.

The only objections that truly challenge you are your own objections.

A few quick examples:

Years ago there was a woman in my Network who complained that everyone she worked with was having problems "reacting" to one specific product. She got some coaching on how to help people use that product, on what they might do to get better results. Then someone asked her, "How do you like that product?" She didn't use it herself--that particular one "always gave her reactions"!

It's not always that obvious. Here's another:

There are entire legs in my organization that routinely get "price objections," and entire legs that seldom get that objection. Can you guess which groups are comfortable selling at retail, and which ones don't like to retail, and prefer instead to give away products at wholesale cost?

And another: The people who seem to have the most trouble finding serious business-builders are those who are not yet totally comfortable themselves with the idea of their own "business."

And another: Several years ago, a friend and associate complained loudly that he couldn't attract serious people to do this business professionally. Our company, he said, was simply not behaving professionally, and that was the problem. Today, this same company is prospering. And my friend? He's gone: He left the company in a dispute over some alleged unprofessional behavior-- his.

My friend was the victim of his own objection.

As metaphysical as it may sound, objections people most consistently offer you as gifts for your development and ultimate success are precise projections of your own objections-- no more, no less.

That's why objections are such a blessing-- and why it's a waste to attempt to crush, quell or conquer them.

Love thine objecting prospects as thyself-- they are terrific mirrors!


Five Stages of Communication


1) Survival Mode Fight or flight
2) Knowledge Mode Information dump
3) Skill Mode Focus on benefits
4) Listening Mode Hearing past content
5) Mastery Mode Handle your own objections


This article first appeared in the February 1994 issue.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, The Ultimate Secret for Handling Objections - December 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,