In the first two parts of this series we focused on the preparation necessary to anticipate and prepare for possible questions and objections from your audience. In this part we focus on how you answer the questions.
The key point of this article is that if you’re a salesperson, the skills that you have learned for handling objections during a sales call are not the same skills that you use when dealing with Q&A. In fact, what works during a one on one sales call can actually hurt you during a presentation.
Most sales professionals have learned a technique for handling objections that goes something like this:
It can be a rather long process, but it’s very effective because it avoids turning things into a debate.
So what’s wrong with using the same process for a presentation? The principal difference between a sales call and a presentation is the number of people in the room, sale and that changes the dynamic entirely.
When you’re in a call with one or two people, you need to answer questions to their satisfaction in order to move forward in the conversation. That’s why you give them every opportunity to talk and get their objections into the open.
But in a room full of people, your focus is usually not the individual, but the group as a whole. We all have faced audience members who love to ask questions just to get noticed or show how smart they are, and the worst thing you can do is to let them take over.
The standard objection process lets them do just that. Let’s modify the process:
There is an exception to these principles. When the person asking the questions is the decision maker, for all practical purposes, he or she is the only person in the room at that time.