How an FBI Hostage Negotiator Might Defuses a Common Sales Objection

Here’s the scenario.

You’re selling an outsourced SDR team as a service.

The prospect says:

“We’re still not sure that outsourcing our SDR team is the best idea. We’ve always done this in-house.”

What do you say?

If you’re like most salespeople, you’ll try to overcome the “objection” by saying something like this:

“Many people felt the same way. But what they found was …”

“ACME was able to 10X their meetings. Their only regret was that they didn’t sign with us sooner.”

Statements like these destroy trust because prospects can smell your commission breath.

They know you’re putting your best interests before theirs.

So let’s try another approach based on Chris Voss’s approach. Chris is former FBI hostage negotiator turned best selling author of Never Split the Difference.

“I’m sorry, not sure?”

Mirroring is a simple technique where you repeat 2-3 of the most important words with a slight uptone as if to say, “Tell me more.”

Mirroring builds rapport with your prospect because it shows that you’re listening.

“It seems like you’re passionate about sales development.”

Labeling calls out the underlying emotion the prospect is feeling. Again it gets back to making people feel heard.

Accusation audit

“You’re afraid a one size fits all mentality won’t work for your business.”

“You won’t have control over the process.”

“Information might fall through the cracks.”

An accusation is a sub technique of labeling where you describe all the negative things the prospect is probably thinking. In other words, you get out all the uglies.

As Voss says, labeling negatives defuses negatives every time.

Calibrated questions
“If you don’t mind me asking, what are the reasons that you’re considering an outsourced team?”

“How is that affecting you?”

“What would happen if you waited until next quarter?”

People are motivated to buy for their reasons, not yours. Calibrated questions help you understand your prospect’s motivations for change, rather than you giving them your reasons.

If there’s no “energy” or “oophm” behind prospects can’t stay with the status quo, the problem isn’t big enough.

If there is “energy” or ”oomph,” prospects will persuade themselves why they should switch.

Knowing what to say to make people feel heard and understood is a good skill to master for your professional and personal life.

Rewire your brain to listen.