They’re just not that into you – how to deal with detractors

As a smart social seller you do your research to build up an in-depth knowledge of your prospect, discover key decision makers and influencers, and highlight problems to solve. But as you chart your path towards a sale, what do you do if find a detractor standing in your way?

Why the resistance?

Detractors, just like influencers, cannot be bypassed on your way to decision makers. As our guest blogger Frank Bennett recently pointed out “nothing tends to happen in modern organisations with(out) consensus”. To gain consensus, you must rise to the challenge of winning over the detractor.

Knowing your detractors is invaluable. Forrester has classified five different types:

  • legitimate complainers
  • competitors
  • engaged critics
  • flamers
  • and troublemakers

Identifying which type you are dealing with is the first step to winning them over.

Have they had a bad experience in the past, with either you or a similar company, that’s left a nasty taste in their mouth? Could they be an advocate of one of your competitors? Could the solution you’re proposing directly affect them, their team or how they work in ways they perceive as negative? Do they require more proof, or are perhaps in denial that anything needs to change at all? Or are they simply unhappy and therefore being difficult?

Forewarned is forearmed. Make the identification of possible detractors part of your discovery process, in exactly the same way as you would for decision makers or influencers. Social media has made these people more identifiable, so get out there and look for information to help understand who they might be at every stage of the buying cycle, how much weight their opinion carries, and whether their objections are valid or just perceived.

Lifting the invisibility cloak of detractors

Don’t hide them in a cupboard under the stairs. Give them a voice. No, I haven’t gone mad, this really is not as counterintuitive as it sounds. The beauty of social media is that it gives detractors a channel to vent their fears, concerns and objections. Once they vent, you can force them out into the open, and from there you can start responding and engaging.

Honest and open discussion can seem daunting, but as long as you have done your research and are secure in your position you will be fine. Harness every channel available to understand their problems and vulnerabilities, then use the insight you gather to ensure you have answers to their objections and demonstrable solutions to the problems they face.

Should you be able to change the opinion of your detractor you will often find a strong advocate in their place as a result, and who wouldn’t want more advocates?

Build your influencer status to ensure your voice is as loud as theirs, and have advocates on board who can add an invaluable independent voice to the debate. Start building your own messaging and content in positive ways that educate and directly respond to negativity.

One’s detractor is often one’s best teacher…

Don’t shy away from detractors; learn from them. Engage with them openly and use them to make your position stronger going forward. Not only will your detractor go away now, but the chances are you may not have as many in the future. Click here for further information on how Artesian Solutions can help you become a better account manager.

To find out how Artesian can help you discover detractors, engage with them and use them for your own advantage click here.