The Worst Objection Response Ever!

You might wonder why I spend so much space talking about how to deal with customer objections.  It’s simple.  Response to an objection is one of the most difficult parts of selling.  There is a huge emotional component within it.  The customer’s emotional level rises during the objection, and just as important if you are the one selling, so does yours.

So it’s hard to maintain composure and think carefully about what to say when the customer objects.  No matter how much I get people to practice in the classroom, when they are face-to-face with the customer and they hear an objection, their temptation is to jump right in and refute it.  It’s a very difficult skill to master.

When I design new training for a client, I’m always asked to include something about handling the objections that will occur, no matter the subject.  So the learners need help with it, and sales trainers need help with it. And that’s why I devote so much study and practice to it.

On Friday I asked you to recall the reasons for not saying anything at all when you hear an objection.  Just pause for two or three seconds before you respond and here are four good reasons why:

1)      It gives the customer a chance to continue talking.  That’s better than you talking.

2)      It demonstrates to the customer that you have taken the objection seriously. It’s a sign of respect.

3)      The next thing you say will be important, so it gives you additional time to think.

4)      The pause reduces the emotional tension in the conversation, restoring calm.

Did you remember all these? More important, will you remember them the next time the customer objects?  I often don’t, so you know it’s tough to do.

There are also some bad practices in objection handling, and one of the worst I ever heard was “Feel, Felt, Found.”  It goes like this.  The customer objects, saying something like, “I don’t think this product will work for me.”  You say, “I understand how you feel.  I felt the same way when it was shown to me. But after using it, I found that it does an excellent job…” and so on. 

If anyone ever tries to teach you this inane and disingenuous way of speaking to a customer, ask for your money back.  It’s a foolish and condescending way to treat your customer, whose opinions and reasoning should be respected.

You have seen the customer-centric model I use.  Of all the other training companies whose models I’ve looked at, I also like the one from The Richardson Group.  In the area where I have you responding to the objection with facts and benefits, Richardson uses an approach called “positioning the response” and I think that is an excellent, well-conceived way to do it, as it suggests using care in preparing your response, being sensitive to the issues that are of greatest concern to the customer.

You know, maybe I’ll ask the folks at Richardson if they would join me in sponsoring a law calling for the death penalty for anyone who teaches “Feel, Felt, Found.”  Linda, what do you say?

So remember, if you want to handle your customer’s objection well, you have to

Think Like Your Customer!

We’ll return to discussing negotiation skills and techniques on Friday.  See you then!

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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