Objections - 10th of the 10 Kurlan Sales Competencies that are Key to Building a Sales Culture

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 @ 07:10 AM

This is the 10th in my series of the 10 Kurlan Sales Competencies That Are Key to Building a Sales Culture.


There is nothing worse than when salespeople handle objections.  Not only does it cause them to rack up reverse progress, they are usually not even handling the real problem.

Here are the things you need to know about objection handling that should cause you to stop handling them forever:

  • if you handle one you'll get another one
  • they object when you get too close (to closing time) for comfort
  • handling objection increases their resistance
  • the objection is not usually the real problem
  • objection handling, by nature, is a correction and people don't like being corrected
  • how often have you handled an objection, only to have the prospect say, "then let's do it!"?  Right.

So if you can't handle objections what should you do instead?

First, it's even more important to stop getting objections all together.  Sounds good, doesn't it? Just the simple act of identifying an objection will cause trouble for you.  Every time your prospect says something and you say to yourself, "@#$%, a !@#$% objection", you'll tend to become emotionally involved, and then go into some kind of presentation mode (bad), and while causing an increase in your prospect's resistance, attempt to solve the wrong problem.

Do you remember the singer formerly known as Prince, who before that and after that WAS Prince?  Do the same thing with objections, except skip the formally known as part.  When your prospect says something that you used to identify as an objection, simply hear it as their opinion.  You don't handle opinions, you engage in discussions.  So if your prospect has an opinion that is different from yours, you can ask any of the following questions:

  • why do you feel that way?
  • when did you start feeling that way?
  • what if that wasn't the case?
  • how does that manifest itself?

And you would use words like:

  • Of course
  • I agree
  • I understand
  • You're right

The other thing you can do to eliminate objections is to sell the right way!  See Sales Competency #4 - Get a Sales GPS.

Speaking of objections and #4, putting them in the same sentence causes me to object to just how quickly people can steal material these days.  Thanks to this platform and the fact that most people aren't creative enough to come up with their own content, they just borrow it from others.  Don't believe me?  You just reread #4 - Get a Sales GPS, which I posted on Sunday, October 18 and the title, "Get a Sales GPS" was listed in my original article for this series on October 5.  Now check out the this post to someone else's Blog, which was posted just one week later, on October 26. She claims to talk about this concept in her most recent book.  So I checked.  "GPS" is not in the book.  Neither is "Navigation".  She uses the word "navigate" four times in the entire book.  Coincidence?

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan


Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Force, objections, sharon drew morgan

Happy Ears or an Empty Sales Pipeline?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 @ 20:09 PM

Very often, when an opportunity dies, salespeople will ask their managers or me for help.

After debriefing, when it's clear that the opportunity is hopeless, and the salesperson continues to ask for help, still wants to schedule another meeting, and still wants to reach out and get it moving again, there are usually three factors at play. The salesperson either:

  1. Has happy ears and believes he heard something to give him hope.
  2. Doesn't understand compelling reasons, qualifying, or both.
  3. Has very few opportunities in the pipeline to fall back on.

With new salespeople, my money is usually on #2.

With veteran salespeople, my money is usually on #3.

With all salespeople, #1 is usually a constant.

When you debrief a salesperson who has just experienced the death of an opportunity, it's important that you don't perpetuate their belief that something can be resurrected out of this disaster.  Instead, insist that the salesepeople find some new opportunities to work on and hold them accountable.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, objections

Good News About the Economy Positively Impacts the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 @ 22:03 PM

I often get to see things six to twelve months before they happen.  When manufacturing placed projects and orders on hold as they did last October, it's easy to predict that it will trickle down and impact everyone else over the next six months. 

The word from clients so far this week is that manufacturers are taking projects off of hold and releasing money - even in the automotive industry!  That too will trickle down and impact everyone else over the next six months.

Today I also heard from a client whose house sold in just one day.

Housing and automotive - positive signs from both camps - truly good news for everyone.

It makes your salespeople feel better, it gives them hope, and in turn it makes them work with more confidence.  When they are out there giving it their all, not letting the resistance get to them. following the sales process, using appropriate strategies and tactics, not accepting the first stall, put-off, objection or rejection that comes their way, you have a much better chance that your struggling sales force will generate some much needed revenue.

Haven't heard any good signs in your own industry yet?  Make some calls and talk with some people until you find even one example.  Then spread the good word to all of your salespeople and let them in on the win - even if it wasn't a win for your own company.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Management, Salesforce, Sales Force, declining sales, objections, increasing sales, economic crisis, sales calls, sales behaviors, recession, Economy, declining revenue

What Have Your Salespeople Been Listening To?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 28, 2008 @ 00:10 AM

In my position as a sales development thought leader and expert I get to hear what many salespeople in many industries are encountering for resistance. In the last few weeks I've heard way too much about deals getting suspended due to spending freezes.  Have your salespeople been hearing this?

I've also been hearing about deals that have been delayed, requests for lower prices, appointments cancelled because projects were being put on hold, and closed deals getting cancelled.  What have you been hearing?

The worst part of hearing a lot of this talk is that it doesn't take long for B and C players to believe it, become demoralized and expect to fail.  You can't allow that to happen.  All of the discussions with your salespeople must be positive, must be about what you can control, and must celebrate something.  Is the economy lousy?  Sure.  But business is still being conducted, and even in companies where there are spending freezes, they are still making purchases.  In reality, there is no such thing as a spending freeze except for being something that top management tells bottom management.

While some of the things your salespeople are listening to are conditions that can't be countered, most of the things your salespeople are hearing can be! How much of what they are hearing is convenient, easy excuses, something prospects hope your salespeople will understand and buy into?  How many of the prospects are simply bluffing?  How many of these stalls, put-offs and objections can be overcome with more effective sales processes, better strategies and more powerful tactics?  How many of your salespeople are actually equipped to sell in an economy as difficult as this one?

While it's easy to fall into the trap of telling your salespeople what you need them to do, most aren't capable of doing more than they've done before, against greater competition and resistance, without changing something.  So what would need to be changed?  You'll have to evaluate the sales force to find out but there isn't a better time to do that!

What is your opinion?

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, sales, Baseline Selling, selling, Salesforce, objections, sales objections, Economy

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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