The Art of Selling - Overcoming Objections

Jeffrey Hauser

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I was in sales for almost 30 years. I ran my own advertising agency and then worked as a sales consultant for the Yellow Pages. I met with an average of 300 businesses every year and made a ton of sales pitches. I can guarantee you one thing for sure. As a sales person, you will run into objections. That’s just part of the sales world and something that separates the men from the mice. It’s how you handle them that will help determine your success. One veteran salesman I worked with once told me he saw the word “no” as “know. ” If the client said “no” he really wanted to “know” more so he started restating or providing more information. This may not work in all instances, but it tells you the mind of the working sales person.

When I first started with the Yellow Pages, we were given a list of the 100 most popular objections and some typical possible answers. We were supposed to memorize this list which was somewhat impractical. We were told to keep it with us. I couldn’t imagine that the customer that had just told me it was too expensive would wait for me to scan the list to find the appropriate response.

“Hold on Mr. Smith, I think that’s objection number 57. Could you hold on a sec? I have the answer right here somewhere. ” That could be a problem.

So I did my best to recall the most common ones that I would encounter and you will have the same ones in your sales lifetime. Here are the main objections:

It’s too expensive. It doesn’t suit our needs. We are going out of that business. We already have a good source. We are gong a different direction. I’m retiring next year. I can I trust you to do what you say? You competitor prices are lower. We only buy from minority-owned businesses. We don’t like long-term contracts. My account says to cut back. We’re in a recession. We’ve already spend our budget for the year.

As you can see, many or most revolve around the price concern. In my 25 years with the Yellow Pages, that was always number one. So, how did I deal with that? I never told them it would cost them anything. I explained it was an investment and how the ROI worked. The return on investment. I told them that if they gave us one dollar and received back five, that was not a spending plan, but rather an investing program. I tried to get them to see how all their other costs like their building, insurance, and utilities weren’t making them any money, but an ad in the directory would bring in customers and therefore, profits.

Overcoming objections is as simple as changing the perspective. If they told me that direct mail was cheaper, I would tell them that our product covered a larger base and reached more potential customers for far less per 1000. Arm yourself with most of the major objections you know you will encounter before the sale. That way, you can be at ease with the confidence that you will swat aside objections like so many bothersome flies.

Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix. " His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website,

Currently, he is the Marketing Director for a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.


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