One of my clients is a company that sells credit/debit processing services and equipment. At a sales training with that team, we were discussing objections when the issue of core beliefs came up.

“What about the business owners who don’t believe in taking credit cards? How do I overcome that objection?” asked one of the reps. This is something they often face on the front end of the interaction, while trying to win the appointment.

Various response suggestions floated around the room, until someone finally identified the belief issue.
“That’s not an objection, that’s a belief that fuels a bunch of objections”, said another rep.

Exactly. Overcoming a belief isn’t the same as overcoming an objection. In this case, the objection is “I don’t take credit cards” but the belief beneath it is what needs to be identified and quantified.
Now, the facts are on the side of accepting credit cards.
Namely:- Consumers spend more on average when paying with a credit card (between 18-23% in retail and restaurants).
– Cash is carried less and less by consumers.
– Checks are still the primary fraudulent transactions – Card based loyalty programs are a strong driver of consumer choice. – The higher income customers ($75K+) strongly prefer credit/debit cards over cash.
All those are valid facts. Verified by studies and data. None of them will help overcome the objection unless/until you find the belief that powers it.

Here’s my checklist when I run into a belief issue.

1 – Take the sale off the table – Nullify the pressure of trying to convince them to buy. So when the client says “I don’t believe in accepting credit cards”, the first thing to do is NOT contradict them or fight them. Roll with the punch. “Well, this is probably not a fit then….” 

2 – Find the belief – A little sophistication here please. Looking shocked and saying “Why not?” is overly simple (and combative). “I’m sure you didn’t come to that decision out of the blue, I’m curious as to why you don’t believe in accepting credit cards”. Assuming you did step 1, your odds are pretty good at getting an answer of some sort.

3 – Unicorn test it – Some beliefs are beyond reasoning with. My god daughter believed in Unicorns until she was 7. Nothing I could show her would dissuade her from that belief. So based on the response you get from the prospect, you need to decide if you punt or go for the next step. For example, in this case, if the business owner replied that he thinks accepting credit cards is expensive and offers little value, I’ve got something to work with. If he replies that the believes all the banks use credit cards to allow the NSA, the Freemasons and the Illuminati to track all of us for their alien masters, the maybe continuing this conversation is not the best use of your prospecting time.

4 – Go for the meeting, NOT THE SALE – Assuming they pass the unicorn test, leverage your knowledge to sell the appointment. “You know, I’ve actually seen it both ways. Some businesses benefit and for some it isn’t really worth it. We can usually figure that out by crunching a few numbers for about ten minutes. I’d be happy to do that with you and if you decide is still doesn’t make sense, that’ll be that.” Notice, I do not attempt to get them to buy. I attempt to get them to meet so I can share my facts and do an analysis of need. Machine gunning the facts at them right now is only going to push them back into defensive mode. Sell the appointment, leave the outcome open. Certainly do NOT say “If you’ll meet with me for 10 minutes you’ll see that if does make sense.” Unless you have a time machine, you have no idea how they will feel after the meeting.

About a week after that sales meeting, I got a note from one of the reps.
I’ve been trying to use the checklist on beliefs. Yesterday I walked into a business and introduced myself and got hit by the WE DONT TAKE CREDIT CARDS bit. I heard your voice in my head reminding me not to try to convince them of anything until I found the belief. When I asked him why not, he replied that they never had taken them and didn’t need to. No one ever asks us if we do.
An employee was in earshot when the owner said that and corrected him that in fact they get asked several times a day. I sooooo wanted to data dump but again heard your voice in my head telling me to go for the meeting, not the sale. He agreed to sit down and a few days later signed up to accept credit and debit cards”

Finding the belief is like taking off a blind fold. In this case, an owner’s belief was shattered by the reality of what was actually going. I strongly believe two things about this scenario.- If the rep had gone right for the sale, the owner would have balked. He needed time to slow down and allow his beliefs to change- None of the facts would have helped until the owner agreed to meet.

Slow down and identify the beliefs in your prospect’s mind.