Words & Phrases to Avoid When Handling Objections

By Angus McDonald - 20/11/2020 9:30:24 AM

Objection handling isn’t just a sales tactic - it’s an art. Like any art, objection handling takes time to learn and understand. Knowing what to say is important, but knowing what not to say is absolutely crucial. Here are five words and phrases to avoid when objection handling.

1. “Why?”

Although you may just be trying to understand the customer’s objection, simply asking “why” is not enough. According to Gong, the word “why” will almost always elicit a defensive response.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: how would you feel if you expressed a valid concern to someone trying to sell you a product or service, and their only response was “why?” Wouldn’t you feel dismissed, as if your concern wasn’t valid?

Instead, try saying something like “can you tell me more about that?” This elicits a longer response, allowing you to get a deeper understanding of the objection.

2. “Does that make sense?”

Even though people usually ask this question in order to confirm the customer understands what they’re saying, avoid using it while objection handling. Harvard Business Review claims this phrase is overused and overly “salesy,” comparing it to something the stereotypical, desperate car salesman might say!

“Does that make sense” shows insecurity and uncertainty. If you don’t sound confident in your response to an objection, you’ll surely have a difficult time closing the deal.

3. “List Price,” “Typical Price,” or “Standard Price”

You’ve probably used at least one of these in the past while discussing price. However, all of these terms open the door for the customer to begin negotiating the price!

The prospect may not back down from their objection, no matter what solution you offer, until you agree to lower the price for them. This gives your potential buyer the upper hand in the process, which you never want to happen.

But, if you can’t use these terms, what should you say? Gong suggests using “approved price” instead. This makes it seem like:

  • The price is out of your control
  • It’s already been set by someone higher up than you
  • And it cannot be negotiated under any circumstances.

phrases to avoid when objection handling

4. “Pretty Much,” “Kind Of,” “Basically,” and Similar Phrases

Just like “does that make sense?”, phrases like these cast uncertainty and doubt over your sales pitch. You may sound like you’re scrambling, being dismissive, not confident in what you’re saying, or worst of all, don’t know what you’re talking about! HBR lists these similar words and phrases to avoid when handling objections:

  • “Sort of”
  • “Really”
  • “Actually”
  • “Anyway”

When handling objections, you should only use confident language that lets the customer know you know what you’re doing.

5. “Can I Make a Suggestion?”

On the surface, “can I make a suggestion?” sounds exactly like something you’d want to say while objection handling!

According to Gong, however, this question can come off as “lecturing.” No one wants to be lectured, so your potential customer may go on the defensive and won’t be as receptive to what you’re saying.

Instead of making your own suggestions, work with the customer to create an open dialogue so you can come to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

Bottom Line

In objection handling, knowing what not to say can be even more beneficial than knowing what to say.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If you wouldn’t like someone using a certain phrase with you, don’t use it with your customers!

If you avoid using these phrases, you’ll have a much better chance of a successful transaction.


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Tags: Sales, Objection Handling