How to Overcome the #1 Objection in Sales

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Craig Elias
Craig Elias



Some people believe the number one sales objection is price, but I completely disagree. Let me tell you why.

Prospects typically voice the price objection during or after your first meeting with them. The number one objection usually occurs before you even get your first meeting, and it comes up a lot more often.A salesperson describes what they sell and the prospect responds with something like, “We already get that from vendor X and we’re happy with them.”

This prospect is clearly in the status quo buying mode and by now you know the hottest prospects -- those who are 10 times more likely to buy from you -- are decision makers in the window of dissatisfaction™.

In general, my advice is to check in with these decision makers until they experience a trigger event that makes them unhappy with the status quo. However, since I wrote my first book SHiFT! Harness the Trigger Events that Turn Prospects into Customers, people have been asking me, “How do I create trigger events that make a decision maker unhappy with their current vendor or solution?”

Some people say the answer is to challenge their status quo. My only issue with this approach is that if someone already has a working relationship with a supplier, they are likely to "borrow" your idea(s) and ask their current supplier if they can do the same thing.

However, if you have a great relationship with the decision maker, or aren't worried about them "borrowing" your idea and giving it to a salesperson they have a better relationship with, then try the following two questions to create dissatisfaction.

1) “Has your current vendor ever let you down?”

If the prospect says yes, then ask about the impact of that letdown and let them explain.

When they finish talking, wait six seconds before you ask another question. Very often, the decision maker will feel uncomfortable with the silence and start telling you more about the problem.

If after six seconds they don’t volunteer additional information, repeat the last two or three words they said in an inquisitive tone. For example, if they said, “We had a hard time getting our products on time,” wait six seconds. If they don't provide additional information, simply ask, “On time?” The prospect will then give you more information about the problem and the impact of what happened.

After they elaborate, I like to follow up with the following questions:

  • “What have they done to prevent this from happening again?”
  • “What have they done to minimize the impact if this happens again?”

Once you know more about the letdown, ask if they'd like to work with a more reliable vendor in whom they can have confidence.

You can also use the information about the mistake or issue with decision makers at other companies using the same vendor. For example, you could ask, “Has [supplier] ever missed a deadline without telling you in advance they might be late?”

If a decision maker's current vendor has never let them down, lead with the following question.

2) “Pretend something happened to your current vendor so that you never wanted to do business with them again. Describe for me the kind of supplier you would look for.”

The prospect will list the features, qualifications, and qualities they prefer. With any luck, an inquisitive look will come across their face as they realize: They’re not getting these things from their current vendor.

You’ve now created a window of dissatisfaction and the opportunity to pursue a sale, without needing to worry the prospect will "borrow" your ideas and take them to their current supplier. When this scenario occurs, jump at the opportunity to be the first seller in with a hot lead.

Now you know how to overcome the number one sales objection. When you hear "We already use vendor X and we're happy with them," simply ask if you can take two minutes of the decision maker's time to ask a couple quick questions.

P.S. If you have other ways to create dissatisfaction with the current vendor, I’d love to hear from you and give you credit when I publish my second book: SHOVE! How to Create the Trigger Events that Push Aside Your Competition.

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