The first skill you need to develop in order to minimize objections is to learn to listen. Listening is an art form. It’s like seeing a picture being painted in front of your eyes, so get your paintbrush ready

A lot has been said about communication—and even more about the art of listening. As a reminder, here are a few key “painter’s tools” you’ll want to have with you.

  • Remember the eighty-twenty rule: either on the phone or in a meeting, the prospect should be talking 80 percent of the time. You should be talking 20 percent of the time. Some think that pushing for a prospect’s opinion is persuading, so they talk too much themselves; once they hear an objection, they jump into a presentation. Avoid this.
  • Poor listening. Beware of concentrating on what you have to say rather than on what the other person is saying.
  • Avoid emotional filters. They distort what is really being said. When you get emotional, you aren’t logical. When you aren’t logical, you tend to draw quick conclusions.

Attentive listening involves the following:

  • Be motivated to listen. Lean forward, and tune everything out except what clients say. Listen to what they mean more than to the actual words used.
  • When you speak, it’s better to ask questions concerning their objections. For example, when the salesperson heard I was frustrated with her company’s service, she could have said, “Oh, I am so sorry we aren’t meeting your expectation. Please tell me what has been happening.”
  • Do not interrupt a prospect in mid-sentence.
  • Fight distractions.
  • Do not trust your memory; write down key things the prospect says.
  • Maintain eye contact. Looking away communicates a lack of interest.
  • React to the message, not to the person you’re speaking with. When prospects say, “I have a better price from another competitor” or “I don’t like your service,” stay calm and really listen to the purpose or meaning behind what they are saying. If you react emotionally, the buyer takes control of the sale.
  • Clarify what you heard the prospect say.
  • Verify whether what you think is fact or fiction.
  • Reflecting empathy about the prospect’s concerns and issues is the first act of business. If you do this first, the prospect will open up to you and your solution.

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