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The Psychology of Objection Handling

Justin Vanhartingsveldt

By: Justin Vanhartingsveldt, Co-President & Co-Founder, SalesEvolve

In one of my earlier blogs, I covered the Psychology of Sales specifically, understanding how people make decisions, what influences and motivates them. Psychology plays a big role in many areas of sales like objections. I firmly believe that it is just as important to understand why customers might offer an objection as it is to understand how customers are influenced. Understanding both the Psychology of Objections and the Psychology of Sales and how they work together can help to improve your team’s sales goals.

An objection is a term used in sales to describe a type of roadblock or challenge that a potential customer will raise that stands in their way of choosing to buy your product or service. At SalesEvolve, we train and coach our sales representatives to predict, uncover and deal with objections quickly. There are several reasons why a potential customer might find an objection to your product or service; part of it has to do with strengthening biases. Strengthening biases can be categorized as Anchoring bias, Confirmation bias, and Ambiguity effect as outlined below. 

Anchoring Bias: When potential clients are seeking information about a product or service, they tend to anchor their decision-making process in some of the first bits of information they receive, whether that information is accurate or not. 

Confirmation Bias: This is the tendency for people to search for information that supports their position while placing less emphasis on facts that are to the contrary.

Ambiguity Effect: This bias describes how people avoid options they consider ambiguous or lacking information. This lack of information makes people feel uncertain about achieving a favorable outcome.

Objection handling in sales requires an understanding of the source of the objection and bias. Your potential clients, if speaking to a competitor first, may hear some disparaging comment about what you offer. This may be formative to anchoring bias. Following they may start to seek out information that confirms their forming position (confirmation bias). If the potential client graciously raises their objection with a salesperson (as opposed to going silent), and an unclear or ambiguous answer is given, they will be disinclined to trust your product or service.

It’s clear that biases can build upon each other and strengthen, and that is one of the reasons why we teach people to deal with objections quickly and effectively. This is also why we spend so much time teaching the value of qualification early in the sales cycle. Thorough qualification uncovers potential sources of objections so that the salesperson can address them before biases build.

I hope this short article helps to underscore the importance of understanding human behavior and its effect on selling. A good understanding of the psychology of objections and their impact on selling will help your team’s long-term client retention. If this is something you or your team would like to understand better, please reach out to us at SalesEvolve. 

Thanks for reading!

Justin V.