Think of something you've agreed with in the last week. It could be something simple like someone commenting on the weather, or something as complicated as a business plan.
Now think about something you encountered in the last week you immediately disagreed with. Was it something you saw on the news, something from an article you read, or something you heard someone say? Maybe all three?
Which was easier to remember?
For most people, it's much easier to think about what you disagree with than what you agree with. And if someone says something you immediately disagree with, that's an automatic disconnect right there.
Think about that dynamic in sales conversations. What happens on the other end of those conversations is the same thing that happens to you when you automatically disagree with something you encounter.
People react in three different ways to new information:
When you agree immediately with something you've encountered, you embrace that idea. Statistically speaking, we don't embrace much new information.
If someone says something you somewhat agree with, but not fully, you blend the information with what you already believe. You take the good and reject the bad.
Defending doesn't necessarily mean you put up your defenses to fight, but it might. When most people hear new information, we start out skeptical of it and are on the defensive. This is the most likely response, statistically.
For example, if I sell parts, and I call up a manufacturer to say that we have the best parts for his machinery, hands down, he will most likely respond out of a defensive mindset. And this happens so quickly in a conversation! It's much easier to get defensive about a new idea than to embrace it. It's a subconscious process.
Your prospect might not even be aware of it. But since you are, you can change your behavior to respond well to those defense mechanisms.