Are You Ambushed By The Obvious?

Poor old Nick Clegg. It’s pretty difficult at the best of times to read an English newspaper and not see the UK’s deputy prime minister vilified. And that includes the lefty rags. Yesterday cleggbashing reached another ‘high’. (Here’s what an English lefty tabloid made of the following incident as well as the main London paper…)

So the fella does a weekly radio phone-in on London talk radio. Unfortunately the host is the totally unamiable Nick Ferrari, a man not given to letting a proper debate develop, especially when he can loudly ball out someone (everyone).

For those not interested in British politics, he was asked what he’d have done if he were in the restaurant and seen world renowned telly chef Nigella Lawson “throttled” by her world renowned ad-man and art collector husband, Charles Saatchi. Google the pics for yourself. Domestic violence campaigners and all decent folk were horrified. Saatchi accepted a police caution for his behaviour.

For once I felt sorry for Clegg. The studio-cam footage clearly showed him trying to be thoughtful, measured, not jump to conclusions or on any bandwagon, whilst rightly condemning such an act. Yet he let slip the view that it may have actually been a “fleeting” moment. It is this language that led to his press hammering.

In review, many a commentator were aghast that he fallen down such a hole. This event was the picture story of the week. I even saw it in South Africa where I am today. How his preparation could have not included a brief on the matter was the question sofa-bound talking heads uttered in disbelief.

When managing sales people myself, I’ve been influenced by an early job of mine in this respect. There, I was encouraged to keep an Objection Log.

Primarily when cold calling, the idea was to write down each objection you got. Then after with your line manager, you’d run through them and perfect your response.

Not perhaps an ideal blueprint for today, yet it has great merit in modified application across Sales.

I remember being in a prospect meeting in the mid-90s on a light industrial estate just outside of Coventry. Oh the glamour. I was (wrongly) introduced to that business owner as a marketing guru (I still can’t see how!) and straight away he said to me, “what’s been your best marketing idea?”

It was a tricky moment I can tell you.

If I had have been said marketeer genius, would I have been prepared for this?

Or if I was announced as a sales guru rather, could I have rattled back an immediate and compelling answer?

There are many questions that can crop up that are not objections which salespeople are universally stumped by.

One I came across the other day is along the lines of ‘why do you think you’re so good at what you do?’

I’m also reminded of a retail case when in a restaurant recently. Upon asking the waitron for the difference between the beef dish on the menu and the one as a special she mumbled something about not having eaten one or other. Pretty uninspiring.

There are many such, almost innocent, questions that come up every day across your selling effort. Are you capturing them? Are you debating them in open forum? Are you happy they can be properly handled? Are you sure you won’t be ambushed by the obvious?

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.