Overcoming Objections: Why do Prospects Object?


Often we as salespersons become disheartened due to the number, frequency and sort of objections we receive from prospects.  Some salespersons may even begin to feel a form of personal rejection.  In an attempt to help clarify what is really happening when a salesperson is given an objection, I would like to begin by getting rid of the cancer of personal rejection.

I was fortunate to learn at a very early point in my sales career exactly why I should never take an objection as a personal rejection.  As a professional salesperson, dressed and groomed appropriately, armed with proper manners and commanding a reasonable ability to communicate, it would be very unlikely that the prospect would have any reason whatsoever to reject us … personally.  The prospect does not get to know us well enough during a sales presentation to find any good reason to reject us … personally.  On the other hand, folks who know us well, like our family or close friends, they know our strengths and our weaknesses.  Those who know us well may, on occasion, find valid reasons to reject any proposal we may make to them.  Therefore, it is perfectly obvious, when a prospect gives us an objection; they are simply rejecting our product, service or idea.  The next paragraph will give you my thinking as to why we get objections.

Over more than four decades of selling, I believe I have learned that most people do not like resolution.  By not liking resolution I mean that when they come to a place where they need to make a decision, they become uncomfortable.  To make a choice when asked to commit to a buying decision, they subconsciously fear that would mean eliminating other options.  Most people want to have all of the options available to them as possible.  This delaying of the decision making process is rarely a preconceived conscious attempt to ruin the salespersons day.  It is more often happening without the prospect even thinking about it at all.  The main reason why this is so prevalent is because for eons “order takers,” who have called themselves salespersons, have accepted these objections with little or no desire or ability to overcome them.  Prospects have become reflexed in saying such things as, “I need to think it over,” or “I want to talk it over with,” or “This is not a good time, get back to me.”  These rootless and impotent utterings have worked so well for so long that they have become automatic responses to closing questions.  The solution to dealing with these sales delaying tactics requires two attributes.  The first, and most important, attribute is having the proper attitude when we get an objection.  The second attribute is having a mastery of the great sales techniques that will overcome objections.  This web site contains many of the great sales techniques a salesperson should master.  However, in this article, I will only address the attribute of attitude.

If you visit this site often, you will recall that I like to compare a salesperson to a doctor.  In keeping with that illustration, I want to reveal the proper attitude a salesperson should have when hearing an objection.  Let us assume that we go to our doctor for a check-up.  When the check-up is over, our doctor hands us a prescription and tells us that we are to take one of these pills every night for the rest of our lives.  We ask the doctor why and he tells us that it is to lower our cholesterol and help us live longer.  For the purpose of this illustration, let us assume we give the doctor an objection.  We say something like, “Well, I do not like pills.  I do not feel I need them.  So I will not take them.”  Can you imagine our doctor saying to us, “Okay, well I will see you next visit.  Have a nice day.”  If our doctor said that to us, we should find another doctor.  More than likely the doctor is going to say something that may sound like this, “John did that sound like a suggestion?  It is NOT.  You are to take one of these pills every night for the rest of your life.  If you decide not to do that, you will need to find another doctor because I can no longer be your doctor.”  Why would he be likely to have that attitude?  Because he is convinced that his diagnosis is correct, his prescription is right, and it is overwhelmingly in OUR best interest to do as he says.  When we as a salesperson ask a prospect to buy, we should have that same attitude: that our needs analysis is correct, our product is right, and that it is in the very best interest of our prospect to buy from us.  To accomplish any goal in life, attitude is 80% of the battle.  If we are committed to the best interest of our prospect, we are well on our way to gaining the attitude we need to be prepared to pull the trigger on an objection handling technique.

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