Two Keys for using oscillation in selling

Now you’re talking with a potential customer and looking for the closing opportunity. You have used the same approach many times and sometimes it’s an automatic “yes” and other times it’s a stall. You may have asked at the “no” end of the oscillation rather than the “yes”.

· Unless adequate negative resistance is allocated in the oscillation circuit, oscillation start-up time may be increase, or NO OSCILLATION may occur.

You may be wondering what an electrical tech comment is doing in an article about sales. The answer is that communication laws and electrical laws are often time very similar.

If an electrical circuit did not oscillate we would not have the electrical convenience world we have today. If people did not have oscillation there would be far less forward motion in our business and lives.

So what is this oscillation anyway? Consider a significant decision you’ve made recently. Was it all clear cut and defined with an obvious answer? Most likely you went back an forth considering the good points to go forward and then the negative points and “what if’s”,resistance, against the decision. Back and forth you went trying to decide if you should or not. This is oscillation and every buyer goes through it. If they didn’t, they would simple always say yes!

There are two key points that one has to understand to work with oscillation to your benefit.

1. To understand that oscillation exists and being aware of it. Understand and watch for the change in people’s body language, words used, questions asked and responses given. If you are paying attention you can note the oscillation from pro to con and back again. When do you suppose is a good time to reinforce your ideas and ask for the commitment?

2. The second point is understanding and using “anticipated regret”. What? One of the main reasons for oscillation in decision making is the anticipation of regret for a wrong choice. Remember, the fear of loss is far more powerful than the anticipation of gain. In your own decisions, is it fear of loss that drives you harder and makes it tough to decide? If it wasn’t there would you say “yes” a lot more and much quicker?

So how does one lessen the resistance using oscillation and anticipated regret?

In my sales I talk to a great many experienced sales people about participating in sales training. What I experience is a great deal of resistance right up front. “I’ve been selling succesfully for 15 years, what are you going to show me?” “I’m making a 6 figure income, why should I waste my time?”

So I pull out my stuff and convince them that what we have is the greatest ever! NO WAY! If I did there would be no sale.

Think of oscillation as a pendelum on a clock that swings back and forth. As long as it is moving it will come back to the “yes” side. A static pendulum has no motion and is indifferent to motion and thus neither “yes” or “no”. So I prefer some emotional view, either for or against, because I know there is a chance for movement!

My objective is to have them question their resistive belief and have them question it internally. This will swing them to the “yes” side and eliminate that resistance. At that point I can provide proof to reinforce the new belief or ask for commintment if I feel it’s time.

I also use “anticipated regret” by having them talk about the resistance and why it exists. Then, with an understanding of their view, I can uncover the fear of loss/unknown they have. Once a fear is out in the open it loses it’s teeth and thus the resistance drops.

My next step is to ask how they can overcome this fear and how it will make things different for them. Now the anticipated regret is out on the table and is deflated. They now see how they have to make a change to continue overcoming this fear and see our offer as tool to do so.

“Yes, I can see how this can work for your sales training sales, but my copiers/printing/auto/advertising sale is different.” So I will ask, what is your anticipated regret about trying this?

The reality is that no one teaches us this. Have you been exposed to this is school, your company training or other sources? It is only recently that I have really come to understand this even though I have been accidently applied it.

The fact is that eveyone goes through osillation and anticpated regret with every decision, conciously or not. The real question is, are you a victim of it, or are you using it to move things forward?

It has always been interesting to me in our sales training we have salespeople that have not asked about current competiors, recent decisions and are terrified of an oposing view. Yet these are how you find the anticipated regret and can work with it to your advantage!

I hope you noted that no product knowledge or information was really used in the above example. This is where the Socratic Quesitioning method comes in. This again is working with beliefs, values and motives. Review these articles Overcoming Resistance and Beliefs and Belief, Why do I do What I do to get more insight into beliefs.

In summary, next time you meet resitance to your ideas, look for indicators of oscillation and get oscillation into motion by exploring their anticipated regret. Through effective questioning lead them to a different belief or view. You may be surprised how effective and easy this really is.

For more on Socratic Questioning, overcoming resistance and anticipated regret check out

Ref: Dr. Kevin Hogan Oscillation: Secrets of

Harlan Goerger

Author's Bio: 

Harlan Goerger is the National Director of Training for Business Architects. With ove 25 years training companies of all sizes and types in Sales, Management and personal development. His recent book, The Buying Gap, includes new strategies he developed in his training programs to get you "yes" faster!