What Are Objections?

by Michael D. Hargrove     

In order to effectively overcome objections, we must first understand the three different types of objections and how to effectively handle each one.

The most common type of objection (by a ton) are simply knee jerk reactions or things customers have been conditioned or programmed to say to sales people. These are commonly referred to as “smoke screen” or “reflexive” objections and these almost always occur out on the lot before we’ve had sufficient time to build value or rapport. Things like; “This is the first place I’ve shopped.”, or “We’re just looking.”, or “I don’t have a lot of time.”, or  “How much discount can I get?” (when they haven’t picked out a vehicle yet).

Experience has taught us that, most of the time, these are illusions, or simply not really important. Sometimes they’re even sincere attempts to just throw us off. Remember most customers have been mistreated somewhere else (haven’t we?) and many think they have to protect themselves from us.

Most reflexive objections can be avoided all together by proactively bringing them up ourselves before our prospect does. “Do we have the honor of being the first place you’ve shopped?”, “Are you two just starting to look around and gathering some information?”, “In order to save you time, and to make sure we focus on what’s most important to you, may I ask you a few quick questions?” If our prospect brings these up before we have a chance to, most still can be easily bypassed, or framed to our prospect’s advantage. “I’d be happy to discuss discounts with you! What I’ve discovered is most people just want to find a car they like, get figures on it, and then think about it. Is that what you two had in mind?” Once they say, “That’s exactly what we had in mind.”, we get to respond with, “I’d be happy to help you with all of that!” Now our prospects have just committed to finding the right vehicle and getting to the negotiations.

Now, sometimes these objections are out and out lies, like, “I need to talk with my wife first.”, or “I can’t do anything until _________ happens.” We have to remember that these are not malicious lies, but rather defensive lies. We shouldn’t take them personal because they aren’t personal. It is important, particularly at the beginning of our career, to realize the distinction between personal rejection and conceptual rejection. It is also very important to insulate ourselves against both.

The second type of objection, typically called “stalls”, don’t necessarily mean, ‘No’, they just mean ‘Not yet’. These typically occur at the transition from the lot to our office, or somewhere around the write-up phase of the sales transaction, and often are simply requests for more information. Poor needs determination or just plain short cutting will create the need for our customer to call a time out in the form of this type of objection. Here’s what they sound like; “This is the first place I’ve shopped.”, or “We’re just looking.”, or “I don’t have a lot of time.”, or  “How much discount can I get?”

The problem is they sound just like their reflexive brothers but, due to the timing, need to be handled significantly different. “Isn’t it funny how our first instincts usually turn out to be the best? Follow me, please.”, or “I know you weren’t expecting to do business today but come on inside and let me give you a basic idea of the numbers so you can make an intelligent decision. Follow me!”, or “By investing just a few minutes more now, you’ll have all the information you’ll need to either keep us on your list or click us off of it. Fair enough?”, or “I was wondering when you were going to ask about discounts. Follow me and let’s quickly find out.”

The third type of objections are actual conditions of the sale; they really DO need to speak with their spouse, that color really does suck, etc. These most commonly occur near the end of the sales transaction, not always, but usually. If these conditions can’t be met, if these objections can not be overcome, then the sale does not happen. If these objections are overcome, then it affords us a closing opportunity. Because each prospect and situation is different, we need to have at least five or six different approaches or strategies to handle each of the most common objections we will see.

(Warning! Shameless plug approaching!) A short blog like this simply doesn’t afford me the time or room to list all the fall back strategies required to be adequately prepared. If you’d like to learn more about these numerous strategies, they are listed in my book, 101 Ways to Overcome the Most Common Objections in the Car Biz.

Above all else, it’s imperative that we understand that objections are a necessary part of the buying process. Objections are our friends. In fact, the only thing stupider than not being prepared for objections is hoping we don’t get any.

Depending on which source you are quoting, the average customer will object or tell us “No” between four to seven times. Which means we, as salespeople, have to ask the average customer how many times? Yep, that’s right, we have to ask five to eight different times for their business before they’re even in a position to look us in the eye, tell us “No”, and actually mean it!

Now, experience has taught me that nothing works all the time and no one thing will work for everybody. That’s why it’s important to have five or six or more fall back positions or different ways to handle each of the most common objections or situations we encounter.

I can hear some of you now, “But Michael, that would mean I’d have to memorize dozens and dozens, heck…maybe even over 100 different word tracks!” My reply is, “Yeah, and what’s your point?” You must be committed to being one of the top in your field, or else, why would you be reading this blog post? Being the top in any field requires lots of preparation and work. If we’re not willing to do that, then we can’t complain about what we get in return for our efforts. For those of us willing to put forth the kind of effort required to be the best, complaining won’t be necessary. It’s our choice.

Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese home run hitting king, and arguably the greatest hitter to ever live, used to consider the opposing pitcher his ally. Mr. Oh believed that, even though the pitcher’s intent was to make him miss, each time the man on the mound would throw him a pitch, he would give him another chance to hit one out. No pitches, no home runs. And it’s the same with us. No objections, no sale. We all would be more effective if we could develop this kind of empowering attitude, wouldn’t we?



© Copyright 2016 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc.

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