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Selling Strategies: Objections are Buying Signals By Robert Terson


My father loved to talk about the subtleties of selling.  As a child I looked up to him as a selling god and hungered to soak up his wisdom; I still was listening attentively at 66 when he died. 

It was like Michael Corleone having the Don as his consigliere.  He sold insurance, sewing machines, garbage disposals, cookware, wigs and other hair goods, and advertising.  He was a warhorse and expert on the intricacies of selling.

“The man who gives you objections is not tough to sell,” my father would say; “you can do a lot with that guy.  The one who doesn’t object, who sits there silently like a bump on a log, that’s the guy you’re gonna have trouble with.  And the guy who tells you, ‘Hey, you’ve got the greatest thing since sliced bread, I love it, I’ve never seen anything so terrific in my entire life…but I just don’t want it,’ and won’t tell you why, that guy you can forget about altogether, because you’re completely dead in the water with him.”

Indeed.  Objections are buying signals: the prospect who objects is displaying interest, which you can deftly rebut to your advantage—a selling-Ju-Jitsu move.  He’s helping you when he throws his objections at you.

The prospect who says nothing, gives you zilch to work with; there’s little you can do except keep digging to find out what’s on his mind.  You may sell him, but you’ll work like Annie Sullivan teaching Helen Keller, to do it.

The prospect who absolutely loves what you’re selling but isn’t buying and won’t tell you why, as my father said, “That guy you can forget about altogether.”

The key to objections is remaining confident, poised, and calm; not panicky, ready to cut your wrists because, oh my, he challenged you.  The key to being confident, poised, and calm is your ability to refute any objection hurled at you, with a solid commonsense rebuttal. 

You internally jump for joy when you encounter a familiar objection—and after a while they’ll all be familiar.  In Selling Fearlessly, I rebut three basic objections: “I can’t afford it; “I’ll think it over and let you know”; and “Yours is more expensive than the others I’ve looked at.”

Just because a prospect throws a lot of quibbling objections at you doesn’t mean he’s a horse’s ass.  Your prospect works hard for his money. He isn’t going to spend it without testing you to make sure you’re worthy to do business with.  It doesn’t matter how much he loves or desires what you’re selling. 

There are people out there who think it’s their duty to give you a tough time before spending their hard-earned money.  They take pride in the flaming hoops they’ll make you jump through to close the sale. 

You can turn that around to your advantage like I often did by “admiring” their sales toughness: “Joe, do you do this to everyone or is this just my lucky day?”
I got a lot of laughs with that “query.”  Often a wife, partner, or prospect himself, bursting with pride, would say, “No, he does it [I do it] to everybody.”  Sometimes they’d add, “Actually, I think he was kind of easy on you because I can tell he likes you.”  Objections ceased at that point.

Objections to a confident, poised, calm, fearless salesperson are keys to the treasure chest—an asset, not a liability.  Be happy when your prospect tosses objections at you; he’s doing you a favor and facilitating the sale.
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Robert Terson spent 40 years fearlessly selling advertising to small businesspeople; his passionate purpose as an author and speaker is to enlighten and inspire you to be a far better salesperson than you are now. Visit him at SellingFearlessly.com

-What are some strategies you’ve used to overcome abjections during the sales process?

  • William

    Good Stuff… but could you add suggestions of what was actually said to people when they throw at you the three basic objections: “I can’t afford it; “I’ll think it over and let
    you know”; and “Yours is more expensive than the others I’ve looked at.”

    Thanks…