You never win an argument with a customer

We’ve had cracking weather this week in the UK and on Thursday It was particularly warm, but in my sales training room the air conditioning was making the conditions very comfortable. The favourite session was approaching and my audience were visibly getting excited.

Objection handling techniques.

And my phone based salespeople were hoping that I would give them well thought through reasons to combat every objection they encounter.


This morning my teenage son, Lewis, approached me with a request for a lift into town around 7pm. I couldn’t do it and told him so politely. Lewis was determined to persuade me and came back with this reason and that rationale why I should give him a lift.  He even used the emotional card on me and threatened to disown me as his father for ever more.

And how did I react?  Testosterone kicked in and I wasn’t going to give in either and our exchange left us both feeling sore and angry.

And we’re still not talking.

Watching the eyes of my salespeople on my training course this week, I could see the excitement in their eyes as we approached the objection handling session. I began “you never win an argument with a customer… so don’t”

Overcoming objections just smacks of arguing, a heated debate, a disagreement…call it what you like, the fact is, if you try and resist with your client because you want to close the sale, then there’s only going to be one winner.

And its not you.

Disagreements always end up with the same conclusion – people get angry and hurt.

The key is not to sling back more reasons and benefits to the customer, the solution is to pre-empt objections before they even happen, build this into your sales process and to regularly test the water with test and trial closes so you reveal concerns early on in your sales meetings, not at the end.

It’s too late at the end.

Think about the main problems that you encounter with your clients. If its price, then there must be a good reason why you’re more expensive than your competitors. Figure this out and bring it in earlier. “We’re not the cheapest on the market because we put our resources into customer service and looking after you continuously. We give your needs our personal attention.”

If the main problem is they want to think about it before making a decision…then firm up your qualifying at an early stage. It’s clear that many objections are a result of the customer not being qualified properly. Do they really need your product?  Have the courage to say to customer that maybe you’re not the right fit for them.

This needs huge daring and a feast attitude to sales. Qualify and speak only with customers who have the motivation, the ability and the need for your service. This reduces the number of potential objections and saves you time.

For Lewis, I’m going to pre-empt the problem cropping up again by publishing the times when I can give weekend lifts on the kitchen blackboard.  I’ll check with him over breakfast what his plans are.  Time will tell whether this works but I’m hopeful.

Meanwhile I can watch the Champions League final tonight in peace with a cold beer in hand.