Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

I Object!

Here are seven steps to identify the true objection and then overcome it…

  1. Listen carefully to the objection being raised… determine if it is an objection or just a stall. A prospect will often repeat an objection if it’s real. Let the prospect talk it out completely.

No matter what, agree with them at first.
This allows you to tactfully disagree without it being an argument.

If you believe it to be a stall, you must get the them to fess up to the real objection or you cannot proceed. If you believe it’s a stall, or want clarification, try these lead in phrases to get to the truth:

  • Don’t you really mean…
  • You’re telling me ——, but I think you might mean something else.
  • Usually when a customer tells me that, my experience has shown me they really have a price objection. Is that true for you?
  1. Qualify it as the only true objection… Question it. Ask the prospect if it is the only reason he/she won’t purchase from your company. Ask if there is any other reason he or she won’t purchase besides the one given.
  2. Confirm it again… Rephrase your question to ask the same thing twice. “In other words if it wasn’t for _____ , you’d buy my service, is that true, Mr. Johnson?”
  3. Qualify the objection to set up the close… Ask a question in a way that incorporates the solution.
    1. “So, if I were able to prove the reliability” or
    2. “If I were able to get you extended terms,” or
    3. “If I were able to show you the system in a working environment, would that be enough for you to make a decision?”
    4. Or a variation, “Would that make me a candidate for your business?”
  4. Answer the objection in a way that completely resolves the issue… and that the customer has been tied down to a yes answer. Use every tool in your box at this point. If you’ve got trump cards, play them now. (a testimonial letter, a comparison chart, a customer you can call on the spot, a special time related or price related deal).

Forget price – show cost, demonstrate value, list comparisons, prove benefits. If you cannot answer the prospect in a way that’s different or sets you apart from others, you’ll never close this (or any) sale.

Product knowledge, creativity, sales tools, your belief in yourself, your product and your company and your ability to communicate, come together in this step. You must combine technique with assurance, sincerity and conviction to get the prospect to agree with you and mean it.

  1. Ask a closing question, or communicate in an assumptive manner… Ask a question, the answer to which confirms the sale.
  • “If I could… would you” is the classic model for the close.
  • “I’m pretty sure we can do this, I have to check one fact with my office – if it’s a go on my part, I’m assuming we have a deal, or I could meet with all the decision makers to finalize it.”
  • Use similar situations when you close, people like to know about others in the same situation.
  • Ask “Why is this/that important to you?” Then use If I could… would you.
  1. Confirm the answer and the sale (in writing when possible)… Get the prospect to convert to a customer with a confirming question like:
  • When do you want it delivered?
  • When is the best starting day to begin?
  • Is there a better day to deliver than others?
  • Where do you want it delivered?

Observation about Objections…

There are mountains written about closing and overcoming objections. My philosophy is to learn as many of these techniques as you can from every book, tape and seminar available.

Then make sales in a way that you never have to use them – by establishing relationships and friendships.

Sometimes you are precluded from the relationship or friendship, and the techniques are all that’s left. That’s why you need to know them all.

More tricks? There are thousands. One good one is to get approvals and confirmations from the prospect during the sale. This sets the yes tone for the close. Read every book, listen to every tape. They all contain “Closes” or ways to “Overcome Objections.” And most have usable ideas. Your job is to apply those techniques to your style and personality. No two salespeople are alike. Thank God.

But the best trick is no trick – it’s friendship.
A warm, open, human relationship.

These are the Cliff Notes version of overcoming objections to carry in your wallet. You’ll need a big wallet.

  1. Listen to the objection and decide if it’s true.
  2. Qualify it as the only.
  3. Confirm it again, in a different way.
  4. Qualify the objection to set up the close.
  5. Answer the objection so that it completely resolves the issue, and confirm the resolve.
  6. Ask a closing question, or communicate to the prospect in an assumptive (I have the sale in hand) manner.
  7. Confirm the answer and the sale in writing.

An objection may actually indicate buyer interest.

What do you say when the prospect says…I want to think about it.”

“Thinking it over” is a stall, not a true objection.

Salesperson: Great! Thinking it over means you’re interested, correct Mr. Jones?

Jones: Yes, I am.

Salesperson: You’re not just saying I want to think about it to get rid of me are you? (said in a humorous vein)

Jones: Oh no, no, no. (laughter)

Salesperson: (seriously) You know Mr. Jones, this is an important decision. A copier is not just a duplicating device. Every time you send a copy out to a customer it reflects your company’s image. I’m sure you agree with me. Is there anyone else in your company you will be thinking it over with? (meaning: is he deciding alone, or are others involved?)

Jones: No, just me.

Salesperson: I know you are expert in the construction business; your reputation speaks for itself. But I’m an expert in copiers. In my experience in the copier industry over the past six years, I found that most people who think things over develop important questions that they may not have answers for… Since the image of your business is on every copy you make. Why don’t we think it over together so that as you develop questions about the copier I’ll be right here to answer them. Fair enough? Now what was the main thing you wanted to think about? (At this point you will begin to get the real objection(s).)

NOTE: If Mr. Jones had said he was going to think it over with others, you must think it over with all parties in the same room or you’re dead.

50% of the time when the prospect says “I want to think it over,” it really means something else is wrong.

The other 50% of the time he will buy.

The prospect can be sold if you use the right words or phrases.