An Effective Method for Objection Handling – LAER: The Bonding Process®
In Carew's flagship sales training program, Dimensions of Professional Selling®, we teach LAER: The Bonding Process® (also referred to as just LAER) as a method to handle objections, defuse anger, and build relationships. LAER intrigues most of our training participants for its application in handling objections because objections create some of the most uncomfortable and challenging situations for sales professionals, and LAER: The Bonding Process® is tremendously effective in improving the dynamic when objections arise.
But we shouldn't overlook the continual need for LAER: The Bonding Process® in our day-to-day sales life. While we are not always handling objections or defusing anger, we are continually building relationships, and in that regard, LAER: The Bonding Process® is an ongoing, universal necessity for effective selling.
What does LAER look like in practice? Those who have been through Dimensions of Professional Selling® might know, but here’s a refresher:
The first step in LAER: The Bonding Process® is empathic, attentive, non-judgmental, and active listening. According to a 2018 analysis of thousands of sales calls, top-producing B2B sales professionals have a talk-to-listen ratio of 43:57. In other words, top performers spend over half of their time listening to customers and prospects. However, careful, active listening isn’t easy; it requires concentration and an honest attempt to understand the customer’s situation.
- Listening shows interest, encouragement and respect
- It requires silence and patience on the part of the sales professional
- Avoid interrupting or prematurely reacting
- If you are already formulating a response while the customer is talking, you aren't listening
The second step in LAER: The Bonding Process® is acknowledge. Acknowledging takes the form of a supportive statement, a restatement of the issue, or some positive nonverbal gesture.
- Often happens simultaneously with, and affirms listening
- Demonstrates concern, empathy, support
- Can be non-verbal (head nod) or verbal ("Yes," "I see what you mean," etc.)
- Is not the same as agreement
Check out this blog for more on how to acknowledge a customer’s concern.
The third step in LAER: The Bonding Process® is explore. The exploratory step generates new information and is a sincere effort by the salesperson to identify and understand their customer or prospect’s specific situation, uncover any potential resistance, and ensure an appropriate sales presentation. For example, in the same study referenced above, top performers(who were selling an average of 120% above their quota) focused less on presenting features/specs and more on getting their customers to open up by asking exploratory questions.
- The explore step confirms and extends understanding
- Least natural of four LAER behaviors
- The purpose is to gather more information, restate, verify to clarify
- Is not probing or interrogating
- Gets you into the customer's "Odds Are"
The final step is the response.
- Only when you have a clear understanding of customer's situation or concern
- May need to run through L-A-E cycle several times to attain clarity needed to Respond
- Includes recommended solution, corrective action and/or next step
The Benefits of LAER: The Bonding Process®
LAER: The Bonding Process® is a highly effective method for handling objections, but the benefits of this method reach far beyond that. LAER is a communication strategy to improve understanding, common ground, and the quality of customer relationships. LAER: The Bonding Process® is essential for effective selling.
If you’re interested in learning more about LAER: The Bonding Process®, effective and relevant selling skills, handling objections, relationship building, or how Carew performance improvement can fit in your organization – visit our website today or click here to read about our open enrollment events.