I recently coached a sharp team of sales managers. They expressed a common frustration that their well-intended feedback often was met with “Yeah, but” responses.
- Yeah, but: If I had a better territory, I would be closing more business.
- Yeah, but: If marketing would create better leads, my sales pipeline would look better.
- Yeah, but: If the customer-service team would give out the right information, my customer wouldn’t call me all the time.
In response, sales managers get triggered and default to overcoming the yeah, but objection. It’s human nature to want to defend and justify.
My coaching suggestion is to apply the emotional intelligence skills of impulse control and self-awareness: Control the impulse to fix or justify and apply self-awareness.
You’ve tried the overcoming objections approach and it doesn’t work. Instead, agree and align with the salesperson’s objection to diffuse their emotional state. Then ask the powerful coaching question: What part of this selling challenge do you need to own? By asking this powerful coaching question, you build your sales team members’ self-awareness and internal locus of control. “Yes, marketing could provide better leads. However, what part of this empty sales pipeline do you need to own? What can you do better to improve the quantity and quality of leads?”
Salespeople possessing a high locus of control don’t fall into victim or blame mentality, which psychologists call “learned helplessness.” They believe they can control their destiny, regardless of external circumstances or events. This results in proactive thinking, action, less stress and increased optimism --all good traits that lead to more sales success.
Sales managers, the next time you hear a “Yeah, but,” apply your self-awareness and impulse control.
Don’t overcome the objection.
Instead, ask the powerful coaching question, “What part of this do you need to own?”