Stop handling objections, it’s old school!

If you are getting objections in your sales conversations, you’re doing something wrong. A Sandler colleague of my mine in Ireland summed up this theory in a recent communication of his;

There isn’t a single one of the common objections below that could not be prevented.

However, for the ones that slip through the cracks….read on….

Top three Objection Handling mistakes you must correct

  •    Assuming that objections are part of the sales process. I bet you have bought many items without stalls and objections. Therefore, they are at best, optional.
  •    Believing that you need to ‘handle’ them. They’re not your objections and when you discover the underlying reasons for them, you’ll agree that the best person to resolve them is the buyer.
  •    Not realizing that if you are getting ‘stalls and objections’, it’s your fault.

The Dirty Dozen

  •    You’re too expensive/complex/big/small
  •    I have no budget/time
  •    Call me in 6 months
  •    Send me literature, an email
  •    Why should I, buy from you
  •    Can you provide references
  •    What can you do for me
  •    How are you better, faster, different
  •    Our budgets have been cut
  •    We’re happy with what we have
  •    Your competitors are cheaper
  •    How much discount are you going to give me?

Underlying reasons? There are only four underlying motives behind all objections you have  every received or will ever hear.

  •    Lack of conviction
  •    Undiscovered concern
  •    Prospect is Not OK (feeling…confused, annoyed, embarrassed, not-so-clever)
  •    It’s a tactic to gain advantage/leverage (typically in negotiations)

For example…the objection “You’re too expensive” has little to do with price. The subtext of this objection is “I haven’t found a good reason (conviction) why I should pay more……….. ………………………………………………………

Whose fault is that? Consider the objection…     ”I have no budget“. Again, it usually has little to do with money and everything to do with a lack of conviction. The subtext is “I haven’t discovered a good reason to go find the money”.

It’s the same with time. When a prospect tells you that they don’t have time (or are too busy) what they are telling you is that they don’t have a good reason for making the time. Think about it, if their boss said that they needed them for an hour…guess what….they’d find the time!

Learn to identify the underlying motives and you’ll never fear another objection ever again. Although there are only four motives underlying the objections you get, there are only two reasons why you end up coming up against one of these four motives

  •    Something that you did or said that you shouldn’t have
  •    Something that you didn’t do or say that you should have

Rule #1 of Objection Handling is – Prevention is better than cure. After every call, document any objections you received and ask yourself – what could I have done/said differently to prevent it.

Rule #2 of Objection Handling is – If you can’t prevent it, you must be fluent at dealing with it

Six tactics you need to master to deal with any objection

  •    Reversing
  •    Dummy curve
  •    Struggle
  •    Negative Reverse Selling
  •    Silence
  •    Story Telling

Paul Lanigan of Sandler Ireland cites plenty of examples such as;

there are many ways you could respond to the classic “you’re too expensive” objection using one or more of the tactics above… Prospect: “You’re too expensive” You     (using a Sandler ‘Reverse’): Mr Prospect, generally when someone tells me that I’m too expensive, what they are typically telling me is that what I offer is worth more. What would     you need to see or hear from me to feel it was worth paying more?

Or………… You (using a Sandler ‘Dummy up‘): When you say “too expensive” Mr Prospect, what does that mean?

Or…(my personal favourite, because if you’ve done well up ’til now, it stops them in their  tracks. Watch the prospect backtrack – every time. The biggest challenge you’ll have is not grinning while they back pedal. You (using a Sandler ‘Negative Reverse’): Does that mean you’ve decided not to explore this any further?

Or…………. You (using a story): That’s the exact same thought I had last week when I was booking a car for a family holiday. I looked at the pricing of the top brands and compared with the other providers and I felt that they were just too expensive. So I reserved a car with one of the cheaper companies. When I landed, my jaw dropped. The line at my car hire desk wrapped around the entire arrivals hall.  It took me two hours to get the keys. To make matters worse, they didn’t have the car type that I had booked. Then I had to catch a bus to an off site car park. When I got there, the car was covered in dents and dings that weren’t recorded. I ended up standing for another hour in 30 degrees heat waiting to get served. The kids were screaming, everyone was bickering. It was awful. In my experience, cheaper always has a price. Can I ask you a question Mr Prospect?……why do you think our customers pay us more?

Rule #3: Read rule 1 and 2 again and again.

Take lessons from our friend over the Irish Sea and stop handling objections.

Mark Wormald

Mark Wormald

Before launching Sandler Mark spent the previous 20 years notching up engineering, sales and sales management successes in blue-chip companies in the technology sector and in the IT industry. He dropped out of corporate to run his own media business, publishing obscure science and technology magazines. An engineer by profession, Mark spent his whole career sceptical of salesmen, sales methods and has the firm belief that 99% of sales training simply does not work. His team helps business professionals win business by breaking the rules.

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  1. D. Smith /

    Great article! I am new to Sandler – still trying to get to ‘consciously competent’ . Thanks for listing the techniques and then giving an example of each – really highlights how you can use each of them to accomplish the same goal – getting information and guiding the prospect to see what you have to offer is worth buying.

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