In any meeting with more than 2 people – you’ll find that there will be present both an ally and an antagonist.
They come from opposing points of view to their own needs and certainly to your offering. But more – the antagonist really wants to be heard. He or she has a point of view and wants it to be know.
Generally, salespeople fear the antagonist because they are unsure of the motives of that person or what kind of an effect he/she will have on the energy level in the room.
What should a seller do when they encounter an antagonist? Embrace them! Affirm them! Let the antagonist be heard and confirm their feelings. Remember: what the antagonist has to say is merely his or her own opinions or feelings — don’t mistake them for facts.
But it’s important to show that you care and that you want to listen to the thoughts of the people present: show both the ally and antagonist that they are important to the conversation and that you appreciate their thoughts on the matter.
Ask the antagonist questions like “tell me more about why you feel that way” or “I want to make sure I understand fully, so tell me again what makes you say that….”
Keeping the antagonist talking is one of the best ways to understand and clarify issues that the company may be having that even they don’t like to talk about in public. The more you know about the issues and who’s willing to talk about them, the better chance you’ll have at closing the sale with speed and efficiency.