Food for Thought: Creating sales opportunities out of objections

Many believe the holiday season is the “most wonderful time of the year.” But we know better—it’s the busiest time of year. Our entire staff has been relentlessly working toward an end to multiple projects, which is a good thing. We enjoy what we do and it’s rewarding to present our final product(s) to our readership.

Unfortunately, that means a quick blog post this week. While handling some tasks for Promo Marketing, I’ve also been putting together the top distributors issue for our sister publication, Print+Promo. In addition to crunching numbers and evaluating industry trends, I gathered information for an article about sales presentations involving long-distance selling and face-to-face selling. I spoke to Kathi Simonsen, president of Simonsen Sales & Marketing and author of “The Sales Ascent.” During our conversation, she made an intriguing point that I never considered: Objections are actually good because they show interest. Really?

“The most difficult buyer to work with is the passive buyer; the one who just stares at you and nods. Nothing seems to be connecting. Maybe he has decided that the best way to get rid of you is to hear you out and then say, “I’ll think about it, good-bye,” she said. “In contrast, the buyer who throws out objections is really working with you and is quite probably interested. If he wasn’t interested, why would he waste his time objecting to what you say? He would either cut the meeting short or zone off during your presentation like that passive buyer.”

Every salesperson knows that thick skin is required to be in this business (Note: This is why I stay on the editorial side of the spectrum). But how do you handle it when you’re constantly on the receiving end of objections? Are they opportunities or positive feedback in disguise? Perhaps it varies according to the industry—If a telemarketer calls me and I tell him or her: “Thanks, but no thanks,” I mean it. That isn’t a green light for persistent follow-ups at dinnertime (or any time). What are your thoughts on this topic?

Elise Hacking Carr is executive editor/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

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