In Dimensions of Professional Selling®, LAER: The Bonding Process® is presented as a means of how to handle objections in sales, defuse anger and build relationships. LAER intrigues most DPS 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.
Here's a recap of LAER essentials:
We revisited the importance of Listening to Understand in detail in a recent blog (read it here).
- Shows interest, encouragement and respect
- 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
- 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
- To confirm and extend understanding
- Least natural of four LAER behaviors
- Purpose is to gather more information, restate, verify to clarify
- Is NOT probing or interrogating
- Gets you into the customer's "Odds Are"
- 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® go well beyond handling objections. It is a communication strategy to improve understanding, common ground, and, ultimately, the quality of the customer relationship.