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The Problem of Objections











It was the same conversation I have all the time:

“I need my people to be able to handle objections,” the managing partner said.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“They just can’t handle them. They don’t know what to say. Can you help them with that?”

“I mean, I can do that, but why are they getting objections in the first place? These clients are being referred to you and calling in. Can we spend time there?”

Because there’s fighting fires, and there’s preventing fires. It’s less expensive to avoid fires than to clean up after them…

The Problem with Prospects

If sales were something we just picked up along the way, I’d be out of business.

But I’m not. Because people don’t intuitively know how to sell, I’m taking my family to P. Terry’s at least 1x per week right now. Mama is MUCH happier. Kids, too.

What’s the problem with selling?

Oh, let me count the ways. Or spare you, because I’m trying to keep these articles under 2000 words.

One of the biggest issues facing ANYONE selling is a little pushback. One way to think of it is this: Sometimes, people buying things (even your services, oh wise reader) have questions, hang ups, or just want to think out loud. Most of the time, these are called objections and treated like a 2020 virus we must all band together to defeat.

What’s the problem with selling?

Oh, let me count the ways. Or spare you, because I’m trying to keep these articles under 2000 words.

One of the biggest issues facing ANYONE selling is a little pushback. One way to think of it is this: Sometimes, people buying things (even your services, oh wise reader) have questions, hang ups, or just want to think out loud. Most of the time, these are called objections and treated like a 2020 virus we must all band together to defeat.

Repeatedly, I get asked to teach people how to overcome these. It’s like training Hercules for his 12 tasks.

They even fall into one of seven categories:

  • Price: “It’s too expensive,” “your price is high,” “others are cheaper” you hear.
  • Value: whatever that word means: Sounds like, “We’re good,” even after you’ve presented what you do, or how brilliant you are.
  • Timing: “Yeah, I just think now is a bad time. We have a lot going on” followed by blah blah blah.
  • Change: This is usually a discomfort moving to something different. If you’re in B2B, it’s often an issue with new ways of solving problems.
  • Competition: There’s often an incumbent or multiple people they’re talking to as they vet options. They’ll ask, “How are you different than _________?” Sometimes it sounds like, “Why should I work with you over _________?”
  • Trust: Well, if you’ve not worked with them before, or someone they know, AND they have issues with change, this is where you find yourself. They won’t say it aloud, but they’re thinking, “Will this person take advantage of me?” “Are they competent?”
  • Decision-making: In B2B settings, it’s often unclear who makes decisions, unless you’re dealing with the owner or CEO. In B2C settings, sometimes it’s more than one person, and one of those people isn’t present. Sometimes, however, it’s someone not wanting to say “Nah. I’ll pass.”

Sound familiar?


But there’s a deeper lesson to be learned: overcoming objections may be what you want, but it’s not what you need.

However, to keep you reading, I’ll give you some ways to handle these, like a get-out-of-jail-free card, but only after I’ve helped a little more proactively.

Vitamins or Aspirin?

There are two ways to think about your objection “issue.” (There are probably more, but we’ll keep it to two for brevity’s sake.)

One is what we need: vitamins. That’s a proactive approach so you don’t deal with objections going forward. Because when we’re dealing with objections, we’re often a little far gone.

The other is what you want because you’re in pain: aspirin. It doesn’t really solve the problem, but the pain goes away for a while.
In the first, you learn to run prospect meetings so that you deal with all the issues upfront and find a good fit.

In the second, you prepare for the objections and ready yourself for battle.

Why take vitamins? It makes you healthier in the long run. Because you run better sales calls, you’ll have higher customer satisfaction ratings, more repeat business, more referrals, and higher margins when you stop discounting to win deals.

Don’t worry – I won’t leave you without some tools to deal with the objections you’re facing today. Just promise me you’ll stop treating sales like living in rock ‘em sock ‘em robots. It’s bad for the brand.

Premarital Counseling And Selling

When my wife (now of 13 years) and I were preparing for our wedding, we dipped our toe into some pre-marital counseling.

It was good. For us.

But it felt like a beating at times.

We aren’t experts at marriage, but the hardest time in our relationship – without a doubt – was those few months of premarital counseling.

In fact, looking back on that time, if that’s what everyone goes through, I’m surprised they get married at all. It would feel easier to say, “Hard pass.”

It was huge. We dealt with a LOT (though not all) of our issues up front. At least the big ones. Everything since has been more about, “How do we make this work?” instead of, “Do we want to make this work?”

We’ve fought that battle already, by God’s grace.











What does this have to do with sales?

Most professionals, when talking with potential clients, want to talk about all the good things about working together.

They focus their conversations on what the seller LIKES to do: present, educate, provide background information, the whole dog and pony. That’s what they’re good at.

They hope, hope, hope none of those objection things come up.

Inevitably, there’s pushback. Industry, company size and stage don’t really matter. It just happens.

What if at least some of your initial conversations with prospects were treated more like therapy than a romantic first date?

You’d have a much tougher conversation.

You’d ask things like:

  • You’ve got the inexpensive option right now. Why pay more?
  • How do YOU see this helping you or your organization?
  • Why do this now? Or, When do you believe you need to do something?
  • Why change? You seem to have a good way of doing things, or at least one you’re comfortable with.
  • Look, you know our competition. Why not work with them? (Especially when the competition is known to be less expensive.)
  • You’ve never worked with me/us before. How would we get to a place where you trust us?
  • Who else besides you cares about this? When do we get to talk to them?

Is that list exhaustive? No. But what it does is ferret out issues LONG before we get to the point of sparring, or handling objections, judo style.

It’s more important to have a process and philosophy that finds out everything, ahead of time.

Think about it: you have to find out what they’ll pay, when they’ll do something, if they’ll do it, how they’ll decide on you, if they trust you, why they’d change, all of it.

So ask about it.

It’s harder, and it involves effort, some planning and skill. But it’s doable.
And leads to better outcomes. While making you look, sound and feel different from your competition.

Guess what? It takes longer to learn.

I’ve said my peace. Now, to some short form tactics to bail you out periodically.

Give Them A Go

Below you’ll read how I would handle some of the objections you’ll run into. Some will be outside your comfort zone.

Others invoke my typical process and philosophy of finding out what you don’t know so you aren’t fighting over the wrong issues.

Either way, I use and have used versions of these in various settings.

Quick note: your delivery matters. If you come off as an arrogant jerk, people feel that and want to get away. If they sense in your delivery you care about them, it works.


“Your price is high/you’re expensive.”

  • I don’t fight this one. It’s not an objection.
  • I respond with, “Some people say that.” And I sit silently.

“I need you to sharpen your pencil on price.”

  • If we’re to the point of redlines, I’d just laugh and say, “Nice one. I appreciate the joke.” And then move on. This comes from Casey Conlon.
  • If we’re not, I reply with, “Happy to. What that’s in our agreed project do you want to take out?”


“I think we’re good for now.”

  • This means either a) they’re lying or b) you’ve done a horrible job of finding out why they agreed to meet with you.
  • I respond with, “I’m confused. Why’d you want to talk, then?” This gives you a chance to go back and find what you missed.


“Now is bad.”

  • I lead off with, “What’s going to change between now and ___________?”
  • Then I follow with, “Are you sure?”
  • If we haven’t moved on that, I go to the heart of the issue: “Are you saying that because you don’t believe there’s an issue, or you don’t believe I can help?”


“Well, we’ve been doing it this way for years.”

  • Almost too easy. “And is it working? Because my guess is we wouldn’t be talking if it were.”

“We’ve got some ideas we’re going to try internally…”

  • “Can you afford to experiment with something that’s not your area of expertise?”


“Your competition is cheaper.”

  • “That they are. You’re welcome to call them.”
  • “They are. Ever wonder why?”

“There are others who do this. What makes you different?”

  • “First, would you believe me if I told you?”
  • “Second, is there anything you really care about? Because there’s no point in telling you how we’re different if it’s not meaningful to you.”
  • “Maybe nothing. Are you looking for something specifically to help you, or just trying to put all of us in a box to get the lowest possible price?”


This often sounds like, “How do I know…?”

  • I respond truthfully: “You don’t. Should we stop here?”


Sometimes you’ve not found out who is involved. You’ll hear, “I need to talk to ________.”

  • Ask, “Great. When should we meet with them to get their perspective?”
  • If you get nowhere with that, try: “I’m confused. I thought you said this was up to you?”
  • Alex Hormozi suggests to move to, “What if they say ‘No’?” If the person says, “I’d do it anyway,” then say, “Why don’t we get started then?”

Other times, they’ll bring up their spouse or family member. It’ll sound like, “Let me talk it over with ____________.”

  • First, the Hormozi line works well here because you’re uncovering the truth.
  • I also like to say, “Are you letting them know what you’re doing, or getting them on the same page?”
  • If it’s the former, I’d say, “Why don’t we move along with ________, then?”
  • If it’s the latter, I’d go with, “Why don’t we find a time for all of us to get together, then? That way, if you’re serious about this, we’re not playing the telephone game.”

Objections in sales are going to happen. It’s like anything worthwhile – you’ll face resistance.
Your job is to determine if the resistance is internal – your issue – or external – theirs.

If it’s your issue, likely a hangup or discomfort, just remind yourself what that is costing you. That *may* get you moving.

If the resistance is external – let’s fight sooner. I teach my clients to fight up front so they aren’t fighting on the back end to get a deal closed. In fact, when I work with Chris Schaum, we coach people to look for the other side’s deal killers AND bring them up.

Barring doing that, there are tactics. Hopefully, they lead you to uncover the real conversation you need to have with a prospect.

Another way to think of objections is as opportunities. They are opportunities to learn about what you’re doing wrong, what you missed, and what you need to understand if you’re to win more business.

Is there a specific objection you’re dealing with? Feel free to email me at adam@thenorthwoodgrp.com. I’ll anonymize you and make some great content out of it.

Adam Boyd