Overcoming Objections: What are Objections?


It is a Warning, NOT a stoplight.

Many years ago, I can recall as a new salesperson, how disappointed and frustrated I was when confronted with Objections.  Fortunately, very early in my sales career, my company sent me to a sales training course.  It was taught by a man named J. Douglas Edwards.  I was to learn that he is considered to be the greatest sales expert ever.  Doug Edwards actually created many of the great sales techniques that professional salespersons use today.  Tom Hopkins, one of today’s most respected sales trainers, studied under Doug Edwards for two years.

In the sales training class, one of the topics was about Handling Objections.  Doug taught us that, even when a professional salesperson gives a perfect presentation of their product or service, a prospect is very likely to say “No.”  Doug explained that prospects often want to delay their decision.  For more information on this, please see our article on “Why Prospects Object.”  Doug taught us that when a prospect says “No” they will give us one of two reasons why.  The prospect will either give us an Objection or a Condition.  Understanding the difference between these two reasons can change a salespersons life.  Here is how Doug Edwards defined these two reasons.  “A Condition is a reason for not buying that actually exists.”  “An Objection is a reason for not buying that arises out of our prospect’s lack of understanding and is usually a request for additional information.”  The following paragraphs will go into detail regarding these definitions and a salespersons understanding will become one of the great sales techniques in their lives.

What do we mean by a Condition?  The answer may best be discovered by giving examples of Conditions.  In the following examples, we are assuming that our prospect wants what we are selling and that they are financially qualified to buy it.  We are selling Refrigerators in an appliance store.  After demonstrating a model to our prospect, we ask for the order.  The prospect says, “No, it is too large for the available space in our kitchen.”  They want a Refrigerator and they have the money, but this particular product will not work for them.  That is a condition.  We are selling a snack food product at an event.  A prospect approaches to buy a snack.  We offer a particular snack and the prospect says, “No, that snack contains peanuts and I am allergic to peanuts.”  That is a condition.  We are selling health insurance but we find out our prospect, who wants the insurance and can afford it, has a pre-existing health condition which disallows them from having the insurance.  That is a condition.  Conditions are situations which justifiably prevent the sale of the product and cannot be changed by us OR the prospect!  Doug said, “When you hear what may be a Condition, first test it (that is covered in another article) and if you find that it really is a Condition leave … unless you just want to practice; because you are not going to close a sale.”

What is an Objection?  An Objection is NOT a legitimate decline of our offer.  As Doug Edwards says in his definition, “it arises out of our prospect’s lack of understanding.”  That means that though we may have given our presentation perfectly, it does NOT mean that our prospect heard it perfectly.  There are many things that can be happening during a sales presentation that could cause a prospect to miss an important sales point or misunderstand an important sales point.  It is our responsibility to be understanding when we get an Objection and be prepared to help the prospect recover from their “lack of understanding.”  Additionally, an Objection is usually “a request for additional information.”  That means that, though we may have given our presentation perfectly, the prospect needs some additional information before they can say “Yes.”  It is our responsibility to persist a little longer until we find out and provide the additional information needed for the prospect to say “Yes.”

Many salespersons fear that the hearing of an Objection is the end of their sales opportunity.  Doug Edwards taught that it was really just the beginning of the sales process.  Doug said that if the sale was made without any Objections, it could have been made by any Order Taker; but, if the sale was made after using great sales techniques to overcome Objections, it was made by a professional salesperson.  There are many articles in our site that will give you exact Word Tracks to use as great sales techniques to Handle Objections.

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