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One-to-One for Sales Professionals: Overcoming Objections

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Overcoming objections is probably the hardest part of a salesperson's job. And the most important step in overcoming objections is preventing them from happening in the first place! The need to overcome objections will never disappear altogether, but it can be diminished with three little words: qualify, qualify, qualify.
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Buying your product means bringing change into a customer's life. And, it's psychologically normal for human beings to resist change. When customers object, they're trying to maintain the status quo. You have to convince them that change equals improvement.

Overcoming objections is probably the hardest part of a salesperson's job. And the most important step in overcoming objections is preventing them from happening in the first place! The need to overcome objections will never disappear altogether, but it can be diminished with three little words: qualify, qualify, qualify.

Qualifying the company is your first action in overcoming objections. Before you make that first sales contact, gather good information to help answer the following questions: Is this company part of an industry that typically uses your products or services? Is the company likely to have the funds to purchase your products or services? Is there a general industrywide problem you could help them address? Could your products or services provide a solution to a problem that's unique to this particular company? Craft some compelling solutions to present: Paint a picture for your prospects that illustrates what's in it for them if they use your products or services.

Your next action is to gather additional information to determine who at this company makes the buying decisions for this type of product. Are there any other people who need to give consent? Is this a companywide policy, or do different locations and different departments make their own choices? If so, who in particular makes those decisions? Draw an organizational chart for each company and fill in the blanks as you find the answers to these questions. Of course, qualifying the contact also means listening to what each person has to say about specific wants and needs so that you can respond accordingly.

Objections can be legitimate and straightforward, or they can be artificial and misleading. You must work to qualify the prospect's objections—the "can't"—and determine whether the objection is a legitimate one or not. Ideally, your initial sales presentation would address any legitimate objection, never to arise again! But in reality, a salesperson will likely hear no some seven times before hearing a yes. Typically you can expect a variety of objections to surface throughout a sales cycle.

When you hear an objection, you must keep the dialog going long enough to determine what the prospect is really saying and really seeking. Is this a genuine objection or a brush-off? If it's the former, see how you can solve the issue for your prospect. Be creative and work out compelling solutions to your client's problems.

On the other hand, if the stated objection is actually just a way to prematurely dismiss what you're offering, you've got to dig deeper to isolate the distinct issues that cause concern in your prospect and then work to overcome them. If objections can be boiled down to specific issues, they can often be used to help you set up the close to your sale.

When dealing with objections, keep this in mind:

"Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines."
—Robert Schuller

Dialog 1: "The Price Is Too High"


You've given your sales presentation and you hear, "Sorry, I can't. The price is too high." Your prospect might be saying any number of things with this statement. For example, "I like the product, but I think I can find a better deal somewhere else." Or "Based on what you've presented as the benefits, this cost isn't justified," or "It's not really too high, I'm just testing to see if you'll come down any." Or "I honestly don't have that much money available."


You'll try to determine what the real objections are for your prospect and let that information guide the rest of your dialog. You'll try to identify concerns he may be feeling but not articulating by using a Perhaps-You-Feel strategy, and you'll express understanding of any objections that are raised by applying a Yes-But strategy. You'll refer to other situations where customers initially had similar objections with a Feel-Felt-Found strategy. And you'll talk about ways in which any remaining concerns could be addressed satisfactorily by way of an Eliminate strategy.


"The American car buyer wants economy so badly he'll pay almost anything to get it!"
—Lee Iacocca

Experience Shows

Don't use up all your supporting sales materials in your initial pitch. You may overwhelm your prospect and have nothing left to present in response to the specific objections you get from him later in the meeting.

Further Considerations

Make sure you know your company's pricing policy in advance. Do you have any latitude for first-time customers, big orders, or other special cases?

Have information available on any financing plans your company offers.

Figure 3.1 The Price Is Too High.

In order to help advance the sale, consider preparing sales tools such as the following, which can be handed out at a presentation or sent as follow-up:

Be Careful

Make sure the facts and figures on your materials are accurate, and put a date on the data. What may be an innocent error on your part may be perceived by your prospect as deliberate dishonesty. Also, don't overstate your case. Doing so will compromise your credibility.

  • A chart that shows price comparisons of competitors

  • A table that measures price versus cost for the short term and the long term, including factors such as shipping, guarantees, service by you and others in your company, cost and availability of parts and/or supplies, training, storage, and other issues

  • A list of product benefits, including any dollar amount you can attach to them (for example, absenteeism, turnover, morale, downtime, injury protection, peace of mind)

  • Testimonial letters that address various issues (for example, service, results, and length of relationship)

  • Corporate literature

  • Relevant articles, reports, or other information

What the Exemplars Do

Zig Ziglar, master motivator and sales maven, recommends in his book Secrets of Closing the Sale this response to a price objection: "I don't think there's any question about the price being high, Mr. Prospect, but when you add the benefits of quality, subtract the disappointments of cheapness, multiply the pleasure of buying something good, and divide the cost over a period of time, the arithmetic comes out in your favor.... If it costs you a hundred dollars but does you a thousand dollars' worth of good, then by any yardstick you've bought a bargain haven't you? "

Ask Yourself

  • When have I paid a lot of money for a particular product or service? What were the circumstances surrounding the purchase that helped convey its value to me? Can I apply those principles to my selling practices?
  • Have I made a list of every response I can think of to overcome price objections to my products?
  • Have I rehearsed those responses so often that they no longer sound rehearsed?
  • Are my sales tools compelling in their content and their appearance?
  • When I do a presentation, do I always bring lots of extra copies of sales tools?
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