Overcoming Objections

Recently stated at a webcast by a sales consultant:

  • Objections are a natural part of the sales process
  • They only occur 100% of the time
  • And only at the beginning, middle and end of the sales cycle.

I then added “Embrace them”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking my life would be better without objections.  “Embrace them” – I don’t think so.

I mean really, wouldn’t things be easier if every prospect agreed with whatever we presented and couldn’t wait to sign on.  That’s for another workshop – in the meantime, “Earth to Tom”.

We didn’t know this but the word “objections” fist entered the English language in the 14th century – guess there were no objections before that – but I digress.

Here are the Top Ten objections for the insurance business:

  1. We’re not that unhappy with our current arrangements.
  2. Our agent will fix what you tell us is broken.
  3. I hate insurance.
  4. What’s so special about your agency, your company?
  5. We only buy the least expensive insurance.
  6. The coverage you’re offering is too expensive
  7. The coverage you’re offering seems too inexpensive
  8. You’re too far away to handle our business.
  9. I don’t have the time to see you.
  10. Just fax me the quote and I’ll call you.
  11. An appointment? How’s never?
  12. My brother, son, daughter, mother, father, etc. handles the insurance.
  13. Oh, we already buy insurance.
  14. What’s your sign?
  15. Don’t worry; our building is fireproof.
  16. I’m worried about changing our insurance to you.
  17. I’m worried about changing our insurance to (Carrier).
  18. Sure come on in, we get quotes every few months.
  19. I don’t really need more coverage i.e. Umbrella
  20. Could you please provide us with another alternative? Five is not enough.


We couldn’t stop at ten – at one time or another, every one of these objections has been presented to me – how about #14?  You can’t make this up.

So how about a process to overcome objections?  And notice that we’re back to “Process” again:

A formal definition might be helpful:

An objection is an unsatisfied need usually couched in an emotional statement.

…and the overall process to overcome an objection in five steps is:

  1. Diffuse the emotion back to a neutral state
  2. Uncover the unsatisfied need
  3. Respond
  4. Verify
  5. Move the process forward to the next objection or action step


Now let’s drill down: 

  1. Diffuse the emotion back to a neutral state
  • Listen to the whole objective. What a concept!
  • The sale has now stopped! Be mindful of this – the sale is over at this point.
  • Step out of your role of a professional sales person. Human to human communication is required.
  • Pause; take a breath; think great thoughts and consider your response. The mind is incredibly fast, let it work for you.
  • What did you see? What is the prospect doing as they offering objections? What clues are in front of you?

Action steps:

  • Offer a statement of GENUINE empathy
  • You are acknowledging the objection, not agreeing with it

For example:

  • “I understand that…”
  • “I hear that quite a bit and…” (My personal favorite)
  • “I’ve heard that before…”
  • “That must be very frustrating for you when…”

Be careful with humor but it can work:

  • “Don’t hold back, what do you really mean?” 


PLEASE SKIP THIS STEP!  If you are unable to offer a statement of GENUINE empathy (And some people just can’t do it) You will just make things worse.

  1. Uncover the unsatisfied need

Follow up your previous statement with a question.  Drill down about the objection.  What are the underlying drivers behind the objection? Is there a hidden objection? What is the real objection? Two or three questions should be all that is needed to come to an understanding.

  • May I ask you why that is important to you?
  • That’s interesting; can you tell me more about that?
  • Some additional details would be helpful; may I ask you a few questions?


There is a very strong tendency to skip this step – we typically want to go right for the solution.

  • Our solution, our brilliant ideas!
  • Our products
  • Our services
  • The technical aspects of our offering.
  1. Respond

Now is the right time to bring your product, service or other resources back into the conversation.

  • How does your product, services, organization, team or you respond to the newly discovered unsatisfied need?
  • Detailed, specific response to the specific need is required here.
  • Technical discussion is more than OK, now is the time for it.
  1. Verify

Now is the right time to verify that you made an reasonable response.

A question will help here:

  • Does my explanation make sense?
  • Have I cleared up that misunderstanding?
  • Have I answered your question?
  • Will this make sense to the other people on your team?
  1. Move the process forward to the next objection or action step
  • You’re now back to your plan; your presentation; your agenda.

We’re always looking for interesting objections – please send them in.


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