blunt essays with sharp points

Question, Don’t Attack, Objections

by Scrvpvlvs
Sep 24, 2010 7:00 AM–A friend of mine, a salesman I respect*, privately circulated an article titled Question, Don’t Attack, Objections.

Paraphrasing, he made the point that when you tell a person flatly that they’re wrong, or make them feel stupid, or paint them into a corner, or preach at them, you are not going to endear yourself, are you? And you are not going to make the sale.

He wrote that you must first help the person to doubt their existing beliefs. If they do, then they will become more open to what you have to offer as an alternative.

He offered a two step process for creating doubt.

  • First, think through in advance the reasons the person might object to a new idea.
  • Second, develop questions which isolate and create doubt about each objection in a non-adversarial way.

Be prepared for possible answers and your next responses.

Suppose you know a mother who tends to believe the anti-vaccine propaganda, and you want to sell her the idea to vaccinate her baby. An objection to the idea might be, “I hear that vaccines can cause autism”.

Instead of contradicting, an isolating question might be, “If it weren’t for the concern about autism, would you vaccinate your baby?” If so, a doubt-creating question might be, “Let’s talk about the risk of autism then. How much risk of autism would your pediatrician say is created by this vaccination?”

Be prepared for her to answer, “I don’t know,” or “none,” or, “my sister is a nurse and she heard lots of babies got autism from vaccines,” and prepare questions to ask next.

My friend pointed out that it’s impossible to anticipate or answer every objection, or to be sure of getting the person to the point of openness right away, or to make every sale. The goal is to plant seeds of doubt. Doubt will grow in its own good time. And that is when you pitch your new idea to them.

* I realize I may have lost my audience with that phrase alone :-)

I originally wrote this article on January 7, 2010 as a comment on the Swift Blog.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share: submit to reddit


Post a Comment

<< Home



E-mail: enter address

Project Euler competitor metaed


Project Euler competitor db8

profile for MetaEd on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Recent Articles

Google Translates Steve Jobs Out Of The Picture

Intelligent Transportation Systems (revisited)

Will coal, oil, and gas destroy us?

Chrome Heats Up Faster Than Firefox

Hostway admit fault in domain renewal, violate ICA...

Copyscape: Who Stole My Page?

Essentialism and Food: Why We Seek Natural and Shu...

The Associated Press: Disputed isle in Bay of Beng...

How A Representative Can Use Surveys To Good Advan...

The scientific evidence for health supplements


November 1999
June 2000
July 2000
September 2001
October 2001
February 2002
March 2002
June 2003
February 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
February 2005
March 2005
November 2005
July 2007
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
April 2009
September 2009
December 2009
February 2010
March 2010
May 2010
June 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
April 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
December 2011
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
November 2012
January 2013
February 2013
April 2013
February 2014
May 2014
October 2014
June 2017