In my first two weeks in sales my manager told me to write down every objection that I got from prospects that blocked me from getting meetings. It did not take too long to see that I was getting the same five objections about 90 to 95% of the time.

I was working for Dale Carnegie at the time and we were calling on corporations to put their executives through our public speaking classes and the bulk of the time I heard I’m too busy, I’m not interested, the program costs too much, the night of the week you are offering the class doesn’t work for me and the location is too far of a drive.

So, we had just hosted the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 and my sales manager asked me if I knew the name of our gold medal hurdler. I said of course I do its Edwin Moses. He said when Edwin Moses runs the hurdles does he know the hurdles are there? I said yes, he does.

He said that’s right he knows the hurdles are there but he prepares, practices and trains to run the hurdles better than anyone in the world. He is the best. He said you told me after two weeks of making calls you got the same five objections about 90-95% of the time is that right? I said yes.

He said just like Edwin Moses prepares, practices and trains to run the hurdles you need to prepare, practice and train to handle those five objections because you know they are coming just like Edwin Moses knows the race has hurdles. Shame on you if you’re not prepared. So, let’s get you ready.

Here is the three-step process we took.

Step one: We Scripted out our responses

We took out some 3X5 cards and wrote the five common objections I was getting 90-95% of the time on the top of the cards and the responses underneath them. We wrote multiple responses on the same 3X5 card so if one response didn’t work, I could fall back on another response for the same objection.

Step two: We practiced our responses

When we were driving from meeting to meeting my sales manager would be give me objections. My goal was to practice my responses until they became second nature. By internalizing my responses through repetitive practice, I would be able to handle these objections without even thinking about it.

Step three: I put the responses in front of me when I was making calls

Before a call blitz I would take the 3×5 cards like a regular deck of cards and would shuffle through them one at a time and practice my responses so they were top of mind. I would then tack them to the wall of my cubicle so I could see them while I was making calls. My confidence soared. I couldn’t wait to prospect because I was ready. There were times when I read a response verbatim right off the 3X5 card on the wall of my cubicle and would get a meeting.

“Yes” is married to “no,” you can’t have one without the other. I realized that the more prepared I was for the word “no” the more confident I was in asking for the word “yes”.

So, let’s talk about you. You probably get the same put offs, stalls and objections consistently. You know they are coming just like Edwin Moses knew the hurdles were there and shame on you if you’re not prepared.

Here are your three steps to getting better at handling objections.

  1. Write out your responses to your most common objections
  2. Practice your responses with your sales manager
  3. Put your responses in front of you as you make your calls

If you follow this three-step process you will be more prepared for the word “No” and you will be more confident in asking for the word “Yes”. The time is now!!! Start today.