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Silver Bullets for Sales Objections (Part 2)
November 07, 2014

Silver Bullets for Sales Objections (Part 2)

Greetings Sales and Marketer:

Further to my observations in part 1 of this series, the purpose of overcoming objections is not necessarily to get a sale. Rather, it has the same purpose as every step in the sales process which is to stay engaged with your customer and build a relationship based on trust with them. The words you are looking to hear are not, “You have a deal!” but “See you next time.” A customer may buy from you but never return again. However, if a customer keeps re-engaging with you – or allowing you the opportunity to stay engaged – then you are assured long term business as long as there is a fit and you remain faithful to the goal of doing what is best for them and putting their needs ahead of your own.

There is an old sales adage that an objection is actually a "buying signal". This is less for "fluff" objections and more for when customers provide valid concerns as objections. However, just think about it: if the customer has a valid and strong reason in their mind not to buy from you then they will state this to you in order to end the discussion and not to be convinced otherwise. I belong to the school of thinking that there are real objections and instances and situations where a customer is right in not buying from you and that you cannot win a deal every time with everyone you talk to. In my mind to win is simply to have a true mutually-engaging conversation with your customer where you exchange thoughts professionally and end respectfully and graciously with or without a sale.

They say that you should be persistent in sales and I say this meaning the overall process and not one single specific customer or interaction ("talk to enough people and you will make a sale" versus "talk long enough to one person and you will make a sale"). Traditionally, you might read or hear something like the supposed "fact" that top sellers ask for a sale an average of seven times before they get a deal and things like that. I believe that top sellers ask more questions and listen more and get a better gut feeling for whether or not they have a deal. If they do, it is then that they will persist and be dogged and diligent and eventually transfer their belief to their customer like a transfer of energy. What I don't believe in is wearing people down with repetition and pressure in order to get them to say "yes". In fact, being able to quickly figure out where you may have a deal versus places where you are best not spending your time is a huge part of being a successful sales and marketer.

Silver Bullet #2: Value Recap

As with all "silver bullets", the following approach can be used in pretty much any sales situation when encountering resistance or an objection. That being said, it is best used at the beginning in opening your sales script. This is when people's default resistance is strongest and when they are most likely to blow you off without listening. If you call and are told your customer is too busy or does not have money or any other quick rebuttal just to get you off the phone, make sure that you do not hang up without stating your value proposition forcefully at least once. You can do this in the form of a concise statement and question as follows:

"I understand what you are saying [customer]. I just want to make sure, though: if I can show you are way to achieve [a, b, c benefit] and take care of [1, 2, 3 problem] without [x, y, z concern] all at an unbeatable price with a risk-free guarantee, would it be worth 1 minute of your time in order to hear me out?"

You can use any variation of this statement/ question as suits your sales and marketing situation and you will be surprised at the response. Many people - customers and salespeople alike - turn a sales conversation into a very big deal when in fact it is not. Unless you specialize in a transactional commodity, for the most part you will not be trying to make a sale with any given call. Rather, you are simply trying to move the customer along to the next step in the sales process. As such, once you have deconstructed your sales process into a number of concrete and logical steps then that next small step is all you have to worry about.

The beauty of the value recap silver bullet is that your customer will be hard pressed to say "no". After all, you are promising to tell them about something that can potentially be of huge benefit to them and all you are asking of them is a minute of their time. You are not asking for a contract or a meeting but just the opportunity to "pitch" them and have them decide. After all, that is all you can do. As I mentioned, you are not there to try to force or persuade people to listen to you or buy for you. Rather, you are there to inform them and clearly communicate your value proposition. After that, it is up to them whether or not you want to spend any time with you and you must let them decide.

You may be in a very competitive industry where the value recap silver bullet becomes part of your standard pitch. I did some script-building for a promotional marketing company called EMG where I employed this technique. None of the people we called on had heard about us and so a standard part of our sales pitch was to have an answer for the question, "Who is EMG?" Because we did not have any credibility in the prospect's mind at that point, they would often try to end the conversation then and there without listening to us. Our approach, on the other hand, was not to "offer" anything but simply to ask for an opportunity to talk about our latest offer. If we got any "pushback" we could use this silver bullet:

"Hi Betty, this is Husain calling from EMG. Did I reach you at a good time to chat for a few minutes?"

"Who is EMG?"

"We do promotional marketing for you from time to time, things like stationery, sports and novelty items. We get in touch from time to time when we have something really special and I wanted to know if I could have the honour of giving you my 1-minute presentation for today."

"No that's okay, I am not interested."

"I understand, Betty. May I ask, if I could show you a really unique and popular item that has been a real success with clients and will really turn heads and impress your customers, all for an unbeatable cost and a no-risk guarantee, would it be worth a minute of your time to hear me out?"

The silver bullet recap is a chance for your to really pour your heart out and sell and so don't hold back! You may not get another chance to pitch yourself and so feel free to insert whatever descriptions and superlatives you want into your statement/ question. At this point you are probably trying to overcome blind resistance where the customer has not had a chance to listen to you properly. You are not answering to a specific concern they have raised but rather just using value, benefits and emotion to create interest in their mind in order to convince them to give your an opportunity to present. Once the initial discussion has taken place and you are proceeding along the sales process then this silver bullet may become less effective and predicated on the rest of your selling efforts.


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