Three’s a Charm

According to trainer and author Thomas Wood-Young, “Objections are a natural part of the selling process. If there are no objections, it could mean that the prospect is apathetic. But when there are objections, the key to overcoming them is to turn negative to positive.”

To effectively deal with objections, Wood-Young advises salespeople to learn what type of buyer they are dealing with. They should craft customer-specific variants of the three basic ways he recommends to handle common objections:
1. Learn as much about the customer as possible.
2. Never let an objection take you by surprise.
3. Never deal with an objection at an emotional level.

According to Wood-Young, there are six most common objections:
1. Unfamiliar with the product or service: “Send me literature.”
2. Not convinced: “Let me think it over.”
3. Balks at the price.
4. Unsure of product performance: “I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t do what I need.”
5. Doubtful about customer service.
6. Compares your product or service to your competitors’.

Wood-Young notes that it’s not enough to know about the industry and the particular firm with which you are dealing in order to handle objections effectively. You also have to discern the best way to approach the individual decision maker based on the way that person approaches information. Knowledge of the industry and the particular firm will tell salespeople whether an objection, especially price, is a real business condition or simply a mask for another underlying problem. For example, a start-up company may not really have the cash to make an outright purchase. Armed with this knowledge, salespeople can suggest lower-cash alternatives – leasing, for example – when appropriate.

Once salespeople know the real reason behind the stated objection, they need to look at the buyers themselves. The type of person dictates the salesperson’s response. Wood-Young groups these decision makers into three basic types. “There is the relationship buyer who wants to get to know you,” he explains. “The one I call the driver is a person who wants to be in control. Price objections are often this person’s most common choice. The third type is the analytical buyer. This person wants a lot of data.”

If salespeople do their homework, an objection should never take them by surprise. Also, they should never engage at an emotional level or take anything personally. Even if the customer’s objections are based on factual error, the salesperson’s first response should be to validate the customer’s feelings.

Objections help salespeople understand their customers, says Wood-Young. There is no “one answer fits all” for objections. When salespeople turn their knowledge into customer-specific responses, they move the sales process toward a successful closing.

Thomas Wood-Young, president of Wood-Young Consulting in Colorado Springs, is a trainer and author of Intuitive Selling (Wood-Young Publishing, 2000). For more information, visit

For more great tips to help you overcome objections click here.