Objection vs. Rejection

Sales Objections vs. Sales Rejection

In sales what is the difference between an objection and a rejection?


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Sales Objections and Rejection
©2007 David A. Peterson

I was reading a Blog a few minutes ago that made the case that being rejected on a sales call is not good. In fact it went on to say that making 100 calls in a day and being rejected 99 times is really just a waste of time.

The point the Blog was trying to make was not to keep calling until you find a buyer. The point was to get better at your calls so you can make fewer of them and find more buyers.

The old cliché comes into play… “Work Smarter – Not Harder.” 

If you are going to be in sales then you have to be able to handle rejection. You are not going to close every person you talk to. In fact if can close 20% of the people you talk to then you are well on your way to being rich.

The fact is rejection is part of the sales process. Your job as a sales representative is to reduce the number of rejections that you are getting. To do this you have to understand the difference between a rejection and an objection.

Rejection vs. Objection

Rejection is derived from reject and rejected. The American Heritage Dictionary defines rejected as: To refuse to accept, submit to, believe, or make use of. 

In the sales profession we define a rejection as a definite “NO.” The prospect is not going to buy from you – ever.

Objection is derived from object and objecting. The same American Heritage Dictionary defines objection as: A reason or argument offered in disagreement, opposition, refusal, or disapproval.

In the sales profession we define an objection as a definite “Maybe.” The prospect isn’t ready to buy because you haven’t covered their concerns or you haven’t met some of their demands.

If you are finding yourself getting discouraged by getting rejection after rejection then what is probably happening is you are trying to close the sale too quickly.

The Rule-of-Thumb is (Go ahead and write this down!): No sale will close until all of the objections are covered and settled to the prospect’s satisfaction.

A sales representative that is getting a lot of rejections has to be shown they are doing something wrong in the sales process. Typically that representative needs to tweak the way they are finding objections and then subtly changing the way they are handling those objections.

How will the sales representative know what to tweak?

The representative that is getting rejected over and over again needs coaching. The coaching needs to be specifically tailored on how to handle the types of objections that they are getting. This needs to be very concise coaching and it needs to be immediate feedback. 

The coaching needs to be concise and immediate because if you wait you will find yourself coaching on timing objections when the prospect gave you a monetary issue. Also, you don’t coach on monetary objections when the prospect is giving you feature issues. 

How do you know what to coach on?

You listen to the call. Then you go back and critique the call. Break the call down into the sale process. Did you hear Open, Probe, Pitch, and Close? Did you hear buying signals, product issues, or just chit chat? What did you hear?

Did you hear any objections at all? If you didn’t hear any objections then either A: This wasn’t a sales call, so no objections were brought out into the open, or B: The rep made an excellent sales call but forgot to close.

Again, if you don’t cover all of the objections then the deal will never close. 

As a sales representative that is getting rejection after rejection don’t be shy - ask your sales manager for help. They got their job because they were probably pretty good in sales themselves and showed some coaching and leadership ability.

Sales people have to have the desire to get better at the sales process. They have to listen to their calls and their sales manager’s feedback with their minds open. All representatives can get better if they will learn to listen for their expected objections. Once they hear the particular objection then they have to learn how to solve for the same.

The writer of the Blog made the case that being rejected 99 times out of 100 calls is a waste of time. I agree! However, if the sales representative will learn how to distinguish an objection from a rejection then this number will come quickly and drastically down.


David A. Peterson

David A. Peterson

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