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No Objections

by Randall Craig on January 20, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Business Development, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Motivational

Tagged as: , ,

Everyone is in sales. Each of us is always selling something to somebody. You may be selling your recommendations to your manager. Or you might be trying to convince your family where to go on your next vacation. Or if you are applying for a new job, you are selling the ultimate product, yourself.

Sales professionals have long known that the secret to closing the sale often rests in “overcoming” a prospect’s objections. And since classical sales training suggests that you must first identify the objections, it makes sense to understand the different types of objections that might come up – and how they might be addressed.

I don’t have the problem that you’re trying to solve: In this particular case, you may not have done your homework and are “selling” to the wrong buyer, or they do have the problem but they just don’t realize it.

I don’t want your solution. Ask why, to get at the underlying reason. Get them to describe what the perfect solution might look like.

I don’t need that now. Probe for the criteria that will be used to determine when your product or service might be needed. If they aren’t sure, you may be able to suggest some. You may also develop an understanding about how that date might be moved up.

It’s too expensive. Refocus the conversation to the value equation and return on investment. Then think about how the price can be spread across time or allocated to different accounts (training, maintenance, etc).

I don’t want to get it from you. Ask why if you’re unsure. Probe to see if it was because of a prior bad experience with the organization, or a lack of trust with you personally. Depending on what you find, put in place a plan to address these issues.

I need to check with my boss/get approvals. This usually means that you have not been dealing with the decision-maker. At this point, you should ask them to describe their buying process more fully; you certainly don’t want even more requirements surprising you.

Despite the value of analysing (and addressing) potential objections, classical sales training can only help you get so far. It doesn’t speak to the importance of relationships; even the terminology of “overcoming” objections is adversarial.

This week’s action item: If you can think of major objections, it is too early to think of the sale. Instead, develop the relationship, so that you can work together to truly understand their needs. When you do this, you’re less focused on making the sale, and more focused on helping them buy – and when they’re ready, they will. This week, focus on selling your next idea, priority, (or yourself), with no objections.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


In Japanese culture, there is a desire to avoid causing others to lose face. In business meetings, this often means that objections are not raised, and decisions are made apparently without a thorough discussion. While this is what appears to an outsider, the reality is far different.

The Japanese have a concept called Nemawashi. This is the process of laying the foundation for consensus by addressing issues one-on-one before the group meeting. The group meeting, then, becomes a final validation and the venue for public “buy-in” from the meeting attendees. When western-style meetings might end decisively, there may not be full buy-in. At the worst, bad feelings may cause participants to passively sabotage the goal. Time then must be spent monitoring progress/addressing new concerns.

While we may socialize an idea before a meeting, becoming a Nemawashi master means much more: It means the ability to develop the “right” solution by addressing the issues and requirements of key stakeholders beforehand. The meeting is then focused on the nuances of execution.

This week’s action item: Every time you meet with a group of people – and it applies equally at the workplace or at home – be a Nemawashi master. Explore the issues, lay the groundwork, and seek consensus with each individual beforehand.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)