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Sales: Objection!

What exactly is a sales "objection"?

The dictionary defines an objection as “an expression or feeling of disapproval or opposition to an idea.”

In short, it means no. But in sales, it doesn’t necessarily mean a black and white no.

A no can also be grey. And it’s your job as a salesperson to test out what every objection or no means.

We’re finely attuned to common objection factors such as -

  • Cost/Value – The price or what’s included in the price isn’t right for the prospect

  • Deferral – The prospect stalls or completely abandons making a decision.

  • Features/Quality – The prospect isn’t convinced that your products or services match exactly what they need.

  • Trust – The prospect doesn’t have sufficient knowledge of and/or trust in your business to envisage themselves doing business with you.

We come up against these common objections time and again, and we spend our entire careers in sales trying to navigate them.

But today, I’m going to share a secret with you that can positively impact all these common objections.

It needs to start way, way back in the sales process before there’s even a whiff of a sales pitch in the air.

Let me tell you a little story to demonstrate the fine art of non-assumption.

To Assume is to Make an Ass of U and Me

A humble American salesperson working for John Deere has earned his place in sales folklore for good reason.

The salesman called on a Farmer one time to ask whether he'd be interested in buying their latest model of forklift truck.

“Is it noisy?” the Farmer asked.

“Heavens above, no”, the salesman reassured him.

"This here forklift is one of the quietest on the market”.

At that, the Farmer shook his head, turned and walked away from the rookie salesman, murmuring, “No good, buddy. I need a noisy forklift, so folks can hear me coming.

Just last week I ran somebody straight over because he didn’t hear me coming.”

The moral of this story is in the paragraph heading.

The salesman killed any chance of a sales stone dead by making an unfounded assumption.

If he’d just asked the prospect why noise levels were important, the story could have had a different ending.

The salesman could have made his quota that month!

A salesperson’s ability to avoid assumptions is a valuable secret weapon. Use it innovatively and you can become more than just another spammy salesperson to your prospects. In fact, it can elevate your status to a collaborative business partner.

So, What’s the Takeaway?

Sales is a funny old game. A no can be tinted with several shades of perhaps.

It can mean an outright no, skedaddle.

But it doesn’t necessarily mean no forever.

It can mean "not like that, but potentially like this" instead.

Whatever the scenario, it’s crucial to find out why the answer right here, right now is no. You’ve invested time, energy and resources, so you’ll want to learn lessons to help you improve next time.

How do you find out why your prospects said no? It’s as simple as asking them, politely, respectfully and gently if they’d mind helping you understand what didn’t gel this time.

The Right Words to the Right People in the right way Makes All the Difference

You’ll sometimes find that the prospect wasn’t your ideal buying persona anyway. If this happens regularly, you might need to rethink your lead generation strategy.

It’s much better to clear out any deadwood from the outset than to waste time and money on non-starters.

What if you’re getting lots of objections from the same prospect?

The prospect is likely to be poorly qualified and that's all down to you!

In addition, you’re probably not positioning your product or service properly. You’ve almost certainly not asked them enough questions and don’t understand enough about their motivation.

That’s why you’re drawing lots of objections out of them.

This begs the question - do your objections reveal a bit more of the John Deere effect than you’d care to admit to?

If any of this resonates or you have a particular sales situation to chat through, please drop me an email at

...or you're very welcome to subscribe to my YouTube channel right here

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