Sales Objections – Is That All You Got?

By Don F Perkins

Sales objections are a huge issue. In fact, so many of my prospects immediately object to requests for a meeting that I’ve decided to analyze why and what to do about it.

Sales Objections

The Sea of Sales Objections

Learned Behavior And False Reads

When we first meet with our customers, they are on guard by default. It’s learned behavior: they’ve been burned before, there’s a lot at stake and so naturally, they have a heightened sense of wariness about sales people, about their motives, about what’s going to happen next. I get that. I am the same way with sales people who try to talk to me. The problem is that we have a tendency to take this rejection as evidence that we should end the discussion right there and move on to the next victim. Right?

It’s Only Natural – Or Is It?

It’s only natural for a prospect to reject anything you say out of hand. They are simply reacting based on past experiences. The problem is that we are not paid to do what comes naturally; IE. to react by saying: “Aw geez, ok” and walk away sad. That may be our own natural response, but if we go with our gut on this one, it will eventually cost us our jobs! I estimate that around 75% of my prospects tell me: “NO” within the first few minutes of our discussion, but only around 25% really mean it. We need to rise above sales objections and show some chutzpah, or we will rarely get past the natural instinct of our prospect to duck our attempts to talk with them. Here’s why:

Possible Reasons For Sales Objections:

  • Prospect has a need – but they don’t know it.
  • Prospect has a need – but it’s too much to bear thinking about tackling it right now.
  • Prospect has a need – but they are embarrassed to admit it.
  • Prospect has a need – but they are afraid of growth and change.
  • Prospect doesn’t have a need and they know it.

Is That All You Got?

If we simply accept “No” and walk away, we will never know which of these is the real reason for their sales objections. That’s tragic, because there is only one of these that is really a complete dead end: When the prospect doesn’t have a need and they know it, then there’s very little you can do about it. However, all the rest of these sales objections are surmountable, given enough time and some artful conversation. Is that all you got?

Getting To No You

I wish I could remember who told me this, but some wise old seasoned sales person once said “get at least three no’s before you walk away.” This goes against our instincts and is difficult at first, but once you try it a few times and see how often it results in turning the conversation around, it really makes a lot of sense. The goal of course is not simply to get them to say “no” three times. The idea is that upon hearing a “no,” condition yourself to return a great question that get’s the prospect to move beyond their natural instinct and think about why they are objecting to your request, and ultimately to determine which of the above reasons for sales objection really fits their situation.

Get at least three “no’s” before you walk away.

Send Me Something To Look At

Some prospects are too polite to say “no” to your request for a meeting. It’s the equivalent of passive aggressive behavior in sales. Instead of coming right out and saying “no,” they will ask you to send them something via email so they can “look at it another time.” This is a “no” in disguise. Check out the awesome ideas Todd Schnick gives for responding to this: (cop a ToddSchnickitttude!) You might just snap them out of it. They’ve already said “no.” What have you have got to lose?

Sales Objections Could Be Eating Half Your Pipeline

Sales objections are a natural instinct of prospects. If you just let them shut you down like that, you could be giving away half of your pipeline to a more persistent competitor! So don’t be so easily dissuaded by negativity, skepticism or complacency – meet sales objections with enthusiasm, strong evidence and persistence. Be polite, but give your prospects something to think about that breaks them out of their instinctive “no” mode. Is that all you got?


Look at these other fine posts about overcoming sales objections:

3 Minute Podcast: How to Overcome Any Objection – Tony Dowling

Overcome 3 Common Sales Objections – Geoffrey James

Six Major Sales Objections and a Plan on How to Overcome Them – Mike and Joe

7 Common Sales Objections and How to Overcome Them

How about you? How do you overcome sales objections?



  1. #1 by Tony Dowling on February 4, 2013 - 8:40 pm

    Thanks for the nod Don, really appreciate it!
    There is a great new book out by the wonderful Dan Pink called ‘To Sell is Human’ and it offers an interesting ‘outsiders’ perspective of why people are reluctant to initially engage.
    Its all about information asymmetry! From when back in the day, the sales person knew way more than the prospect about the product or service, which led to not only some suspicion on the prospects parts, but outright abuses on the sellers part.
    These days of course, thanks to the internet, the knowledge is more spread around. Its a great book, I highly recommend it!
    Great article too, I especially love the ‘get three No’s’ thing, not heard that for ever! Such a good tip!
    Keep them coming my friend!

    • #2 by Don F Perkins on February 8, 2013 - 12:06 am

      thanks Tony for the props. Your podcast adds some real food for thought on this issue. , also thanks for a new book to add to my reading queue. I’ve watched several podcasts, etc from Dan Pink, have yet to read an entire book of his.

      Don F Perkins

  2. #3 by Johnny Bravo@prospecting on July 22, 2013 - 4:46 am

    Well said. Objections are more often than not simply excuses. “I don’t have time to look at this”, “I don’t have the money for a move like this”, “My boss would never go for something like this”, etc., etc., etc…

    I have to hope that if you’ve started reaching out to someone you know the above excuses aren’t real…instead they are just covers. Objections come in many forms, knowing what they actually mean is a gift.

    • #4 by Don F Perkins on July 22, 2013 - 10:05 am

      Yes. I get a lot of funny looks when I ask: “Why aren’t you interested?” Or “What would interest you?” But I’ve also progressed many sales this way too – by causing prospects to move beyond the knee-jerk reaction to a thoughtful response.

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