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We’ve all heard it, “It’s not in our budget;” “The timing isn’t right;” “We’re looking at many different options;” “I’ll run it by the board;” “It’s not a priority right now;” “My brother’s in the business…”

Sometimes customer excuses and objections seem endless. I know this first-hand. So how do outstanding salespeople diffuse objections and close deals more effectively?

The best salespeople don’t try to find clever rebuttals to customer concerns. Instead, they have compassion, patience, and heart to uncover the customer’s real concern, address it, and then close the deal.

What should you do when your prospect seems unsure and resists your offer? Instead of dropping the price, modifying the terms, or otherwise changing the offer as soon as a prospect displays resistance, take a step back. Be persistent but realize that your prospect must be in a receptive emotional state for you to close…and you can help them get there.

Helping your customers reach a receptive emotional state starts with recognizing what emotional state they are currently experiencing.

When closing, we must change the emotional state, before changing the deal.

Oftentimes, the reason customers won’t make a decision is that they’re experiencing one of three what I call “negative buyer emotional states.” In other words, they are stuck in one of three places:

  • The state of suspicion.
  • The state of fear.
  • The state of embarrassment.

And by the way, the capital of all of these states is indecision!

The State of Suspicion: This occurs when you fail to earn your customer’s trust. They have no confidence in you or your company. It’s critical to share baby negatives with these prospects to let them know you’re not hiding anything. You know that brother, CFO, or parent who is going to tell the customer what’s wrong with your offer? Beat them to it. Failing to do so, equates with losing the sale.

The State of Fear: The customer would rather make no decision than the wrong decision. “Analysis paralysis” stops companies, governments, and consumers from moving forward—often at the expense of what is best and most profitable. Customers fear the shame of making a bad decision, so they often make none at all.

The State of Embarrassment:This happens when customers don’t understand your product and are too embarrassed to tell you. Products and services are more complicated than ever today. Don’t be like my past colleague, Marco, who assured customers early in the sales conversation that even a 5-year-old could understand his (complex) product offering. His presentation/demonstration was three times as long as any of his peers, and guess what? His customer, not wanting to be mistaken for an exceptionally stupid 5-year-old, kept his mouth shut. No questions, no objections—and no sale!

In fact, neural research proves my point. Science shows that we are better able to concentrate, focus, and make decisions when we aren’t experiencing negative emotions.

The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for suspicion, fear, and embarrassment, and guess what? It’s focused on the fight or flight response. This means that as long as your prospects are stuck in one of the three negative buyer emotional states, they’re not thinking clearly. Not only will they not make a decision, but they’re probably not going to give you their real concerns. They will either make an excuse or split. This response is wired into their DNA!

Here are 4 ways to replace hard work with heart work:

#1: Know why your prospect is objecting. I don’t mean the made-up reasons you tell yourself. I mean the honest-to-goodness real reason they put up initial resistance. Armed with this information, you can address their true concern and either close the deal or get to the real decision-maker.

#2: Keep your sales conversations simple and engaging. As my mentor once said, “Never answer a question your customer didn’t ask.

#3: If she gives you an excuse, find out the real problem and what state she is in.
Customers stuck in the states of suspicion, fear, or embarrassment need a change of heart before they are going to be able to sign a contract or write a check.

#4: Gently lead him out of a state of indecision and into a state of contentment. Today’s customers don’t want to be closed, they want to be led. They won’t tolerate high pressure or false urgency. Instead, use your heart to connect with customers, genuinely address concerns, and ensure that the customer is in a receptive emotional state—one where the customer can decide with a clear and positive mind whether or not to take the deal you are presenting.

By following these practices, you’re not presenting your customers with hard work, you’re giving them just the right amount of patience, compassion, and heart work.

To book Shari to speak at your next event click here now.


  • Your writing is awesome!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thank you, Marguerite. I am so flattered, but I also hope my writing is helpful to you!

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