Objection or Excuse? How To Handle Sales Objections and Build Trust

Being prepared to deal effectively with objections is a basic element of being a professional seller.

Every day we sellers are faced with questions from both prospects and clients. They ask questions about price, about service, about quality, about our company, about our competition.

In addition many of these same prospects and clients hit us with statements seemingly designed to put us off such as “I don’t have time,” “Send some information,” or, “I’m sorry but it isn’t in the budget.”

Some of these questions and statements are really nothing more than excuses not to buy and to end the conversation, while others are real concerns or issues that are preventing the prospect or client from making an initial or additional purchase.

Fortunately, most of us will encounter the same objections time after time after time. Seldom will we be faced with a truly unique issue or concern.

Many sellers dread getting objections and once one arises they begin to go into panic mode, struggling to find a way to get past the objection and to regain control of the conversation. Other sellers welcome objections and find them to be the final pieces of the puzzle culminating in a sale.

The difference between the sellers who find themselves in panic mode and those that welcome the objection is, frankly, the difference between an inexperienced amateur and a true professional; the difference between the off the cuff retort and a direct, well thought-out reply that answers the objection and leads the prospect or client to a positive purchase decision.

Being prepared to deal effectively with objections is a basic element of being a professional seller.

Objection or Excuse?

The first step in dealing with an objection is determining whether it is an objection or simply an excuse to shut down the conversation. This determination must be made based on the seller’s knowledge of the prospect or client, the context of the situation, and the tone and inflection of the prospect’s voice.

Most sellers assume “I don’t have time” is an excuse. But what if the prospect on the other end of the line is gasping for air because they’re out of breath having run to pick up the phone? Or it’s the end of the month and your prospect is working on getting month end business done?

Without sufficient information don’t automatically assume the prospect or client is being disingenuous and just trying to get rid of you.


The secret to handling objections is to prepare for them well before hand. Sellers know what objections they’re going to get so why do they allow themselves to be put on the spot, forced to come up with an off the cuff answer that more than likely doesn’t address the issue and simply makes them look foolish and unprepared?

Sit down and list all of the objections you come across. Now take them one by one and formulate a short answer that addresses the issue honestly and as completely as you can. That last phrase is key—as completely as you can.

There may be objections whose full answer must be delayed until you have more information. For example, in order to address the “Well how much does all of this cost?” question you may need a great deal more information than you have at the time the question is asked. Your answer might be something like, “That is a hard question to answer right now, but the investment required will range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to well into six figures, depending on the situation and at this time I just don’t have enough information to get more specific.” You answered the question as fully and honestly as you can at the time and will return to it when you have more information.

Be Proactive

Since you know your prospect’s and client’s concerns and issues why wait for them to bring them up and put you on the defensive? Be proactive and address those concerns early in your discussion. By taking the initiative not only are you able to frame the discussion in positive terms but you demonstrate that you understand both the prospect’s business and the issues that they must deal with in order to be able to make a decision.

Handling Objections is Critical to Building Trust

Key to selling is developing a relationship with your prospects and clients that is built on trust. Central tenets to building trust are demonstrating honesty and competence. By being prepared to confidently and knowledgably address the issues and concerns you know your prospects and clients have you will build another layer in the foundation of trust that you must create in order to establish long-term relationships.

On the other hand, trying to evade the objection or trying to answer without answering is a quick way to destroy what trust you have built to that point.

Take advantage of objections by preparing to address them honestly and directly and you’ll find you not only close more sales but you’ll build more lasting relationships with your clients.

How have you been successful at handling customer sales objections? Please chime in by adding your experience below.

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