Home > Social Influence > Do you use rebuttals to change minds?

Do you use rebuttals to change minds?

If so, how do you avoid conflict with the idea of consumer choice? - by Wonderboy
If the consumer is working from innacurate information I would rebutt that information and I don't think that would conflict with the idea of consumer choice. Would you? - by Houston
When it comes to sales prospecting there are many different reasons you might encounter resistance. There is no shortage of ideas on how to overcome rebuttals either from prospects or salespeople. I think you will find that whether or not rebuttals are a good idea is going to be case specific. - by Tomony
When you're trying to change someone's mind with a rebuttal(s), you're in effect arguing with that person and as the saying goes, when you argue with a prospect, you lose.

A far better strategy is to build the sales concept into your presentation and use it before the customer gets to a decision, otherwise you're hanging yourself out on a limb (one of the big reasons for a return with products that carry a moneyback guarantee). - by Wonderboy
A far better strategy is to build the sales concept into your presentation and use it before the customer gets to a decision, otherwise you're hanging yourself out on a limb (one of the big reasons for a return with products that carry a moneyback guarantee).
IMO, this is the proper way to deal with common questions and concerns.

If the prospect has taken a stand on an issue you'll want to be very selective in your rebuttal. You don't want to get into an argument or spitting contest. - by AZBroker
IMO, this is the proper way to deal with common questions and concerns.

If the prospect has taken a stand on an issue you'll want to be very selective in your rebuttal. You don't want to get into an argument or spitting contest.
Great Friday to all, sn;

Language is so powerful that it could move mountains (metaphorically speaking).
As sales(persons) we must be mindful of the non-verbal and verbal language we think or speak. For instance, in this Q&A alone, I saw the words, rebuttal, argument, spitting contest, lose and conflict, all negative connotations. As (sales)persons, we must make a mental and physical effort to use positive words/expressions such as; letís agree to disagree, I can appreciate your way of thinking, may I recommend/suggest. What are some other words/phrases you can share between salesperson and customer that are positive and leaves the door open to conclude in a sale if not today than tomorrow? Itís all about mental choice. thmbp2; - by job ready strategist
define rebuttal for me please, because I guess my opinion of what a rebuttal is, is different than what everyone else thinks.

Pat - by toolguy_35
define rebuttal for me please, because I guess my opinion of what a rebuttal is, is different than what everyone else thinks.

Pat
This comes from the online dictionary:

"to contradict or oppose by formal legal argument, plea, or countervailing proof"

The main idea in rebutting is to change someone's mind. But you're disrespecting consumer choice when you're doing that. And besides, whatever your intention, you're often regarded as looking out for your own benefit rather than the prospect's when you're in that situation which is why I've made my suggestion earlier. - by Wonderboy
This comes from the online dictionary:

"to contradict or oppose by formal legal argument, plea, or countervailing proof"

The main idea in rebutting is to change someone's mind. But you're disrespecting consumer choice when you're doing that. And besides, whatever your intention, you're often regarded as looking out for your own benefit rather than the prospect's when you're in that situation which is why I've made my suggestion earlier.
When do you believe a rebuttal is not disrespecting consumer choice and when do you believe a rebuttal is the right thing to do? - by Calvin
When do you believe a rebuttal is not disrespecting consumer choice and when do you believe a rebuttal is the right thing to do?
When you give all the relevant information in your presentation to the prospect, there's nothing more. This is the essence of the consumer always being right. - by Wonderboy
When you give all the relevant information in your presentation to the prospect, there's nothing more. This is the essence of the consumer always being right.
The best presentations can't cover all the potentials. Also, I believe the salesperson has a responsibility to protect the interests of the client. If the client is about to metaphorically walk off a cliff because he believes he is "right" the salesperson has an obligation to act which could include trying to change the prospects mind. - by Calvin
The best presentations can't cover all the potentials. Also, I believe the salesperson has a responsibility to protect the interests of the client. If the client is about to metaphorically walk off a cliff because he believes he is "right" the salesperson has an obligation to act which could include trying to change the prospects mind.
I presume that you qualify your prospect before you close the deal.

I've had a situation where a customer was considering about changing his decision to go forward after he first called in to cancel his account ( by the way I've never said he couldn't cancel his account) so I reminded him what he said when he first called in and he then changed his mind again and then said he wanted to replace a defective model with another one.

I was new at this job so I doublechecked with a coworker and found out that the model the customer wanted to change to was
older than the one he wanted to get rid of and has less ports on the back of it. So I doublechecked to make sure he knew that the other model he wanted to switch to was less desirable (because of the fewer ports) and he repeated that's what he wanted.

Calvin, if this customer had stated definitely that he wasn't interested, that would have been the end of the line. Instead he indicated he was only considering cancelling the account (and I got credit on a retention sale).

Again the customer is king (and queen too) and is always right. - by Wonderboy
Ok, so let me get this straight, you make your initial presentation, the customer says "not interested" and you let it go at that?

Sorry, but that's just silliness. Rebuttal is nothing but answering a customer's objections. When a customer says "not interested" it simply means "I'm not interested right now" or "you haven't shown me why I should trade my big stack of money for your small stack of benifits."

In my experience "not interested" means you're not doing your job. All customers have objections, if you're not allowed to rebut those objections then how are you supposed to ever sell anyone anything?

The art of rebuttal is nothing but overcoming objections on the way to the sale. It does NOT mean arguing with the customer but simply a way of saying "ok, I understand why you might feel that way, but here is how this (tool, car, software) can meet your needs."

Pat - by toolguy_35
Ok, so let me get this straight, you make your initial presentation, the customer says "not interested" and you let it go at that?

Sorry, but that's just silliness. Rebuttal is nothing but answering a customer's objections. When a customer says "not interested" it simply means "I'm not interested right now" or "you haven't shown me why I should trade my big stack of money for your small stack of benifits."

In my experience "not interested" means you're not doing your job. All customers have objections, if you're not allowed to rebut those objections then how are you supposed to ever sell anyone anything?

The art of rebuttal is nothing but overcoming objections on the way to the sale. It does NOT mean arguing with the customer but simply a way of saying "ok, I understand why you might feel that way, but here is how this (tool, car, software) can meet your needs."

Pat
Toolguy, how do you respond when the prospect yells at you "Which part of no don't you understand?!" - by Wonderboy
Toolguy, how do you respond when the prospect yells at you "Which part of no don't you understand?!"
Wonderboy what would you say to someone who said, "I want to think about it" or "Your price is too high"? - by Marcus
Toolguy, how do you respond when the prospect yells at you "Which part of no don't you understand?!"
Dunno, never had it happen, I manage my rebuttals in such a way as to not seem pushy.

Pat - by toolguy_35
Wonderboy what would you say to someone who said, "I want to think about it" or "Your price is too high"?
First let me say that an excuse may be legitimate (but as the customer is always right, that's what always counts).

Whenever I get an excuse I just work more on my presentation to give the next customer more of an urge ("thinking about it" or "let me talk to my spouse" indicates there is some interest, but not enough urge). The cliche "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" applies here as your time as better spent going after hot prospects (me and contributor Jack Werth agree on this).

ToolGuy, you probably do business face to face with your prospects which may explain why you haven't heard that phrase.
Over the phone (until I got more professional) I certainly have heard it mainly because it's a more impersonal situation.

To take it one step further, due to rebuttals, the B2C telemarketing industry has lost billions thanks to the federal do-not-call list brought on by rebuttals (which I regard as the greatest business blunder in history). So I'll issue you a challenge.
For one month don't use any rebuttals and think of ways of improving your presentation and I'll bet you'll make out better (I certainly did). - by Wonderboy
Whenever I get an excuse I just work more on my presentation to give the next customer more of an urge ("thinking about it" or "let me talk to my spouse" indicates there is some interest, but not enough urge). The cliche "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" applies here as your time as better spent going after hot prospects (me and contributor Jack Werth agree on this).
Hot prospects can have difficulty making decisions too. A great presentation can make the decision easier but if a prospect voices an objection that doesn't mean they aren't "hot" and it doesn't mean a better presentation would have resulted in a different outcome. - by Mikey
Hot prospects can have difficulty making decisions too. A great presentation can make the decision easier but if a prospect voices an objection that doesn't mean they aren't "hot" and it doesn't mean a better presentation would have resulted in a different outcome.
"...and it doesn't mean a better presentation would have resulted in a different outcome." If a presentation doesn't do it, why do reps think they have a better chance with a rebuttal?

Different people have their own idea as to what an objection is. Some will say that prospects are blowing smoke at you when they give you an objection (which may not be the real reason anyway).

I say that when you do a presentation well enough, you will build up your prospect's confidence in you as well as him- or herself to forestall any objection offered as a mere excuse. But don't expect the prospect to love a red car when he wants black. In any case I say that a good presentation will beat out 10 rebuttals anytime. - by Wonderboy
"If a presentation doesn't do it, why do reps think they have a better chance with a rebuttal?"

Prospects are going to bring ideas and beliefs to the table that a salesperson wouldn't even know needed addressed until the objection was raised.

"Different people have their own idea as to what an objection is."

Definately. What an objection means or how much weight an objection carries can vary from person to person.

"I say that when you do a presentation well enough, you will build up your prospect's confidence in you as well as him- or herself to forestall any objection offered as a mere excuse."

There can be background issues you don't know about which cause the prospect to offer an excuse.

"But don't expect the prospect to love a red car when he wants black."

No question. - by Mikey
"If a presentation doesn't do it, why do reps think they have a better chance with a rebuttal?"

Prospects are going to bring ideas and beliefs to the table that a salesperson wouldn't even know needed addressed until the objection was raised.

"Different people have their own idea as to what an objection is."

Definately. What an objection means or how much weight an objection carries can vary from person to person.

"I say that when you do a presentation well enough, you will build up your prospect's confidence in you as well as him- or herself to forestall any objection offered as a mere excuse."

There can be background issues you don't know about which cause the prospect to offer an excuse.

"But don't expect the prospect to love a red car when he wants black."

No question.
"Prospects are going to bring ideas and beliefs to the table that a salesperson wouldn't even know needed addressed until the objection was raised." Again an excellent presentation should prevent that as you should always qualify the prospect.

I agree with the hidden issues that you touched upon (to the inexperienced rep, that can be exceeding a budget that a husband
set up with his wife for carpet cleaning so the wife needs her husband's approval).

With a rebuttal, more damage can be done (and has been done) than if nothing were said (e.g. I've had more customers turn themselves around by keeping my mouth shut than all the rebuttals put together which eventually helped set off a chain of events leading to the most wonderful presentation system ever developed). - by Wonderboy
Again an excellent presentation should prevent that as you should always qualify the prospect.
"Prospects are going to bring ideas and beliefs to the table that a salesperson wouldn't even know needed addressed until the objection was raised." Even after the most thorough qualifying process.

With a rebuttal, more damage can be done (and has been done) than if nothing were said.
That can be said about so many things done improperly not just rebuttals. - by Mikey
"Prospects are going to bring ideas and beliefs to the table that a salesperson wouldn't even know needed addressed until the objection was raised." Even after the most thorough qualifying process.

That can be said about so many things done improperly not just rebuttals.
"That can be said about so many things done improperly not just rebuttals" Nothings going to top all the telemarketing jobs lost due to the federal do-not-call list that was spurred on by rebuttals.

As I indicated before, I accept the first no as a final no and just try to improve my presentation which has resulted in many more sales for me (I simply respect consumer choice which includes his or her right to turn down the offer). - by Wonderboy
"That can be said about so many things done improperly not just rebuttals" Nothings going to top all the telemarketing jobs lost due to the federal do-not-call list that was spurred on by rebuttals.

As I indicated before, I accept the first no as a final no and just try to improve my presentation which has resulted in many more sales for me (I simply respect consumer choice which includes his or her right to turn down the offer).
Wonderboy, I started in the telemarketing industry and I have to tell you that a properly done rebuttal, that is, one that is not scripted, never seems like a rebuttal.

The federal do-not-call list was brought on by over-pushy telemarketers (not sales people, there's a difference) who were forced to use a script and had to make so many rebuttals, according to script, or lose their jobs.

Scripts are idiotic and should never be used.

And yes, most of my business IS face to face, with customers with whom I have built a relationship. I see the same 500 guys week after week and about the only objection I face, outside of "will this do what I need it to do" is price. Which is usually easily overcome by pointing out how the price is not bad given the number of features on the tool and then discussing payment, not price.

That being said, rebuttals should never be arguing and if you're any good you should be able to tell by tone of voice, body language and just sheer intuition when "Not interested" means "You either haven't given me enough information to make a decision or you haven't made the product seem interesting enough for me." Or when "Not interested" is a firm "screw you I don't want your stinking product."

Generally speaking "not interested" is a request for more information.

Pat - by toolguy_35
Wonderboy, I started in the telemarketing industry and I have to tell you that a properly done rebuttal, that is, one that is not scripted, never seems like a rebuttal.

The federal do-not-call list was brought on by over-pushy telemarketers (not sales people, there's a difference) who were forced to use a script and had to make so many rebuttals, according to script, or lose their jobs.

Scripts are idiotic and should never be used.

And yes, most of my business IS face to face, with customers with whom I have built a relationship. I see the same 500 guys week after week and about the only objection I face, outside of "will this do what I need it to do" is price. Which is usually easily overcome by pointing out how the price is not bad given the number of features on the tool and then discussing payment, not price.

That being said, rebuttals should never be arguing and if you're any good you should be able to tell by tone of voice, body language and just sheer intuition when "Not interested" means "You either haven't given me enough information to make a decision or you haven't made the product seem interesting enough for me." Or when "Not interested" is a firm "screw you I don't want your stinking product."

Generally speaking "not interested" is a request for more information.

Pat
A bit more:

"Wonderboy, I started in the telemarketing industry and I have to tell you that a properly done rebuttal, that is, one that is not scripted, never seems like a rebuttal.

The federal do-not-call list was brought on by over-pushy telemarketers (not sales people, there's a difference) who were forced to use a script and had to make so many rebuttals, according to script, or lose their jobs.

Scripts are idiotic and should never be used."

Two things brought on that list:

(1) Pushy telemarketers with their rebuttals

(2) Being barraged by too many telemarketing calls

I can see using a script for a month, for training purposes, to get started (but no rebuttals). After the month, give the telemarketer leeway to say what he or she wants (of course keep it legal, truthful and not misleading - this requires greater responsibility on the part of the rep).

Where you say that a rebuttal can sound natural is our only real disagreement (not the part about sounding natural, but that it'll get you more sales). In this day and age, sales reps are highly distrusted. I've gotten better results on average keeping my mouth shut (e.g. in the middle of writing an order, a lady changed her mind about adding deodorizer to the order after first declining it). Eventually not using rebuttals helped inspire my system and I saw my sales take off. - by Wonderboy
Wonderboy do you consider a salesperson's response to an objection as a rebuttal?

Example objection and response...

Prospect: I want to think about it.
Salesperson:Thinking is good. Tell me, what's the biggest doubt you have about this decision? - by BossMan
Wonderboy do you consider a salesperson's response to an objection as a rebuttal?

Example objection and response...

Prospect: I want to think about it.
Salesperson:Thinking is good. Tell me, what's the biggest doubt you have about this decision?
It's how the public itself regards any response to an outright declination or "time to think about it." As I said the public has a high distrust of salespeople (due in part to telemarketing - by the way, I've had face-to-face encounters with some sales reps who were desparate for a sale so it's not all telemarketing). - by Wonderboy
It's how the public itself regards any response to an outright declination or "time to think about it."
Any response or only those responses that are perceived negatively by the individual consumer? - by BossMan
Any response or only those responses that are perceived negatively by the individual consumer?
The key is "on average". The selling climate is such nowadays that no matter how skillfully a rebuttal is done, you'll get more sales without them than with them (want to mention when I've done telemarketing which is usually thought of being outbound, I've also done the inbound telemarketing as well). Customers are very sophisticated than are usually given credit for and through experience, many have developed an instinct to ignore anything that follows the presentation.

To see this for yourself, try selling without rebuttals for a month and witness the difference (it would be smart to build into your presentation any rebuttals you frequently use). - by Wonderboy
The selling climate is such nowadays that no matter how skillfully a rebuttal is done, you'll get more sales without them than with them...
The skilled salesperson will help alleviate the buyer's concerns before, during, and after the presentation.

...many have developed an instinct to ignore anything that follows the presentation.
In my experience the customer is an active participant in the sales call which can include asking questions before, during, and after the presentation. - by BossMan
The skilled salesperson will help alleviate the buyer's concerns before, during, and after the presentation.

In my experience the customer is an active participant in the sales call which can include asking questions before, during, and after the presentation.
I improved to the point that with my customers, it's now or never (with the sole exception of Best Buy - posted elsewhere). I find rebuttals to, overall, hinder.

On your first point, since we're on the subject of rebuttals, I have a question for you after a story. When I worked at Best Buy doing tv demos, when I wasn't busy I was expected to help out customers (usually giving directions to other departments).

A lady came up to me saying she needed a tv stand. So we went over to the tv stand section. While we were walking she explained she needed a high one because when she put her feet up on the bed, her legs blocked her view of the screen.

When we got there, we found a stand she liked a lot (it even swiveled), but there was a problem. It was made of wood and she
needed metallic because her bedroom furniture was metallic. We
tried another section with no luck and with Best Buy, what you see is what you get because there is no "back room" furniture.

So what to do? Many reps would say come back or go to another
store. Before you rack your brains out, let me say that I have customer service experience and I do come up with solutions.
The solution: I suggested to the customer to buy the stand and spray paint it metallic.

She was delighted with my suggestion (and kept calling me a "...great salesman" when she learned I wasn't employed at the store) so I turned her over to a Best Buy associate to complete the purchase.

My question Bossman is do you feel that my suggestion is a rebuttal because without it, a sale would have been lost or do you feel that the sale was made when she said she wanted to get the stand and my suggestion is simply part of a presentation (unrehearsed mind you) which helped to close out the deal? - by Wonderboy
My question Bossman is do you feel that my suggestion is a rebuttal because without it, a sale would have been lost or do you feel that the sale was made when she said she wanted to get the stand and my suggestion is simply part of a presentation (unrehearsed mind you) which helped to close out the deal?
For sake of discussion let's come to agreement on terminology. A rebuttal, evidence that attempts to explain, counteract, or disprove facts, can be a response but not all responses are rebuttals.

Your suggestion was a response, not a rebuttal, to resistance, an objection, about the product, wood instead of metallic. I don't view responses to resistance as "simply part of a presentation". - by BossMan
For sake of discussion let's come to agreement on terminology. A rebuttal, evidence that attempts to explain, counteract, or disprove facts, can be a response but not all responses are rebuttals.

Your suggestion was a response, not a rebuttal, to resistance, an objection, about the product, wood instead of metallic. I don't view responses to resistance as "simply part of a presentation".
My definition of a rebuttal is any statement(s) that attempt to change a prospect's mind to say yes regardless how factual the prospect's statements may be. - by Wonderboy
My definition of a rebuttal is any statement(s) that attempt to change a prospect's mind to say yes regardless how factual the prospect's statements may be.
Do you view your suggestion to the customer she buy the stand anyway and spray paint it metallic as what you call a "rebuttal"? - by Jolly Roger
Do you view your suggestion to the customer she buy the stand anyway and spray paint it metallic as what you call a "rebuttal"?
She never said she didn't want it so there was no mind to change (but I anticipated the objection before she stated it as she made clear her needs, otherwise I'd say it's pretty obvious she wouldn't have bought a non-metallic stand).

When a prospect clearly states a flat out no under any circumstances, then give up the chase (some sales reps have yet to learn). - by Wonderboy
She never said she didn't want it so there was no mind to change (but I anticipated the objection before she stated it as she made clear her needs, otherwise I'd say it's pretty obvious she wouldn't have bought a non-metallic stand).
What would you have done if she had said she didn't want it because it was non-metallic? - by Jolly Roger
What would you have done if she had said she didn't want it because it was non-metallic?
Would have checked to see whether another Best Buy in the area carried it (keep in mind I didn't actually work for Best Buy so I'm limited as to what I can do). Would also have requested a rain check (as she liked the price too) so if a metallic stand did come in, she could come back to pick it up at that price or better (no other options come to mind).

What would you have done? - by Wonderboy
Would have checked to see whether another Best Buy in the area carried it (keep in mind I didn't actually work for Best Buy so I'm limited as to what I can do). Would also have requested a rain check (as she liked the price too) so if a metallic stand did come in, she could come back to pick it up at that price or better (no other options come to mind).
And when those options had been exhausted what would you have done? Would you have made the suggestion to paint the piece? - by Jolly Roger
Wonderboy,

What you can't seem to get is that ANY response to an objection is a rebuttal. The objection is what you are rebutting!

If you can't respond to objections because it might is some way "violate" the customer then you will never sell anything. I'm extremely dubious of any so-called system that says I'm not supposed to respond to objections.

Come to that, I'm pretty dubious of sales "systems" in the first place. Sales is as much art as science and systems are too inflexible to work consistantly.

Pat - by toolguy_35
Wonderboy,

What you can't seem to get is that ANY response to an objection is a rebuttal. The objection is what you are rebutting!

If you can't respond to objections because it might is some way "violate" the customer then you will never sell anything. I'm extremely dubious of any so-called system that says I'm not supposed to respond to objections.

Come to that, I'm pretty dubious of sales "systems" in the first place. Sales is as much art as science and systems are too inflexible to work consistantly.

Pat
I gave you my definition of a rebuttal along with examples which doesn't correspond with your first paragraph.

Your next two paragraphs don't correspond with my experience (and others too). - by Wonderboy
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