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A Thing

Make Your Words Count

You've probably heard the adage that you have two ears and one mouth in order to listen twice as much as you speak. So when you do talk, pack power into your words, especially as a sales professional.

As a merchant level salesperson (MLS), when answering a prospect's questions or objections, make every word count. Respond in a way that ensures the dialog will continue. Consider the following example:

Prospect: "Your price is too high."

MLS: "No, I don't believe it is. I'm sure that if you ask around, you'd find that our prices are competitive."

What's wrong with this response? Plenty.

First, the response discounts the prospect's opinion. The prospect said the price is too high, and the MLS said, "No" it isn't. The MLS immediately disregarded the prospect's opinion, which might offend the prospect and make her defensive.

Instead of being open to hearing why the price is fair, she'll focus on defending her position.

Second, the response assumes something about the prospect that might or might not be true. By saying "if you ask around" the MLS is trying to demonstrate that his service is priced appropriately. However, it sounds like he believes the prospect has not done any research about the product.

Most likely, the prospect knows to shop around before making a purchase. She might be put off by the assumption that she is not a savvy businessperson.

Third, the response is rather abrasive. By saying "I'm sure" the MLS implies that he is superior to the prospect.

The prospect might feel that the MLS is condescending or patronizing, and no one wants to do business with someone who makes others feel inferior.

Now that you know how not to respond to this objection, how should you respond? One solution is to repeat, acknowledge and support.

First, repeat the objection to make sure you understand what the prospect is saying. Next, acknowledge her objection. Finally, show support for the comments with which you do agree.


The first thing to do before responding to an objection is to make sure you understand it. A simple way to do this is to rephrase the objection as a question. This gives the prospect the opportunity to expand on her opinion.

At the very least, you will have some time to collect your thoughts for your next point or comment. For example:

Prospect: "Your price is too high."

MLS: "Will you tell me which part of the service that you think is priced inappropriately?" or "You believe the price point isn't correct, is that right?"


Second, let the prospect know that you've heard and understand what she's said. Often, MLSs are wary of doing this because they equate agreeing with the objection with acknowledging the objection.

You can acknowledge the objection, and the prospect's concerns, without agreeing with it. For example:

Prospect: "Your price is too high."

MLS: "I understand that price is important to you and your business" or "It sounds like you are concerned about the return on your investment."


Even though you and the prospect might not see eye to eye on the price objection, do show support when she says something with which you do agree. For example:

Prospect: "A lot of new stores have been opening up; competition is getting tougher."

MLS: "I agree."

It's especially important to show support or agreement when the prospect makes a comment that moves the sales process forward. For example:

Prospect: "Many of our competitors have Web sites."

MLS: "I've noticed that, too."

Once you've agreed with the prospect on items not directly related to her objection, she might be more willing to listen as you answer her objection. For example:

Prospect: "Your price is too high."

MLS: "Please keep in mind that this program includes a shopping cart as well as currency conversion."

Prospect: "I do want to make sure that we have the most up-to-date equipment so we won't need to upgrade immediately."

MLS: "I agree. Thinking about the long-term is a great way to approach it."

As you are faced with objections, listen closely and keep the conversation going. If a dialog ceases, so does the opportunity for a sale.

However, if you continue to exchange ideas, you still have a chance to close the sale.

Do everything you can to make your words count, and move the sales dialog forward toward a signed deal.

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