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Avoiding the Sales Objection’s Abyss

Do you remember the movie, The Abyss? This James Cameron thriller takes place in one of the
deepest parts of the ocean, on the edge of an Abyss, a sheer drop-off which
goes down for miles. I remember watching the movie as a kid and being
absolutely terrified. Not only was it a jumpy film, but the dark, underwater
setting set me on edge as I constantly found myself holding my breath for the

At one point in the movie an underwater rover, which had
become disabled, falls off the side of the cliff and begins sinking into the
abyss. As it sinks into the darkness, the pressure of the water is too much, the
glass enclosure implodes, and the character inside dies. It was at that moment
I realized “Yeah, that is NOT how I want to die.”

You can click the following link to see the scene if you
absolutely must: Lt. Coffey’s Death

Needless to say, I didn’t watch that movie again for a many
years. Even to this day, sinking into a black abyss is still one of my greatest
fears, which is why I never swim in open water.

Undoubtedly we all have our various fears and phobias. Some
fears are important and protect us; everything else is completely irrational.
Like one young boy scout I saw shivering on the bank of a lake where I was
camping. He had all of his swimming gear on and I asked, “Why aren’t you
getting in?” He said, “The rational side really wants to. The irrational side
says, the moment I step in the fish will attack me.” It’s those kinds of fears
we need to challenge and conquer.

One fear that many of us face is the fear of rejection. This
fear gets in the way of us being truly successful in sales because we connect a
sales objection with being personally rejected. I can completely relate to that
feeling. When you put yourself out there to discuss a product or service you
feel will benefit your member, and they say no, it’s hard not to take it
personally. But this is exactly what I am asking you to do.

Most sales objections are actually caused by one of four

  1. You have suggested a product or service which
    isn’t a good fit for the member
  2. Your timing just isn’t right
  3. You have focused on the wrong benefit
  4. You have failed to create enough value in the
    product or service

Understanding this, I hope you can see that objections are
not rejections. They are rather a request for a different explanation, more
education, or a different spin on the solution. In fact, I would say that
behind every sales objection is a potential sale. So, we shouldn’t fear them,
and we shouldn’t abandon ourselves to the preverbal abyss when the member says “no.”
In fact, most sales objections can actually be overcome, or better yet,

What is the difference between overcoming an objection and
managing an objection? Overcoming an objection happens after the member has
said no. Managing an objection is the process of selling in a way that does not
elicit objections, or which resolves them before the member has an opportunity
to object.

For some, managing objections may sound like a foreign concept.
It generally seems like a foreign concept because the individuals have been
taught to sell with the, “just ask for the business” approach. Here is how that
approach sounds when selling a credit card:

“So we are running a really great credit card offer this month. We are
giving our members 500 rewards points just for setting up a new card and making
a purchase within 30 days.

Is that something you’d be interested in opening up?”

There are two fundamental flaws with the “just ask for the
business” approach. First, it ignores the member’s individual needs. And
second, it asks the member to make a buying decision before he or she is ready.
That is why, more times than not, this approach results in a sales objection
from the member. Those who use this approach have one of two choices, spend the
bulk of their time overcoming objections, or simply move forward. However, the
majority of people choose to completely avoid selling altogether.

An approach which manages objections is much more effective.
In other words, success is more likely to be found with an approach that taps
into the natural processes people go through before making a buying decision.
Salespeople who use this approach do a few critical things differently.

First, they create a natural conversation which transitions
into a sales discussion.

Second, they don’t begin by talking about the product or
service. Rather they spend time asking questions to get the member talking so
they can learn more.

Third, when they do begin talking about a solution, they do
not focus attention on the product and its features. Rather the majority of
what they say about the product is focused on the outcome and benefits of using

Fourth, rather than asking the member to make a final buying
decision, which is a very large commitment, they help the member through a
series of small commitments. This gradual process leads the member step by step
to a final conclusion to which he or she is then ready to commit.

Some products and services come with a specific set of
predictable objections, and even when the best sales approach is used, the
member will often still object. For example, here are a few products paired
with its universal objection as the member would say it:

  • Transferring a Checking Account: “That just
    seems like a lot of work and a hassle to move my checking account to your
    credit union.”
  • Credit Card: “I already have too many credit
    cards. I don’t need another one.”
  • Debt Protection: “Wow, that is too expensive. I
    really don’t need that on my loan.”
  • Overdraft Protection: “No thank you. I don’t
    overdraw my checking account.”

When selling a product or service which has a predictable
objection, an added step should be included. This extra step actually addresses
the objection head-on before the member states it verbally. It sounds something
like this:

“Now, transferring a checking account can seem like a hassle and a lot
of work.

Many of my members have this concern until they learn…”

This approach acknowledges what the member is likely
thinking and shows the salesperson’s competence and trustworthiness. It also
gives the salesperson more time to educate and show the member how moving a
checking account isn’t that difficult at all.

Even while using the very best sales approach, salespeople
will still get sales objections. So, it is important to know how to address and
overcome them as they come up.  However,
using these steps to manage objections will go a long way to limiting the
number of objections that do come up.

There simply isn’t a sure-fire technique that is objection-free. If there were, we’d all be in sales and we’d all be billionaires. However, the right perspective, mindset, approach, and sales process will certainly reduce the number of objections you get. And if you truly believe the products or services you are offering your member will benefit their financial lives, fewer objections will mean more members who are getting the most value from their credit union membership.

SalesCU (formerly Nick Brown Consulting) is a credit union-specific, sales training company dedicated to bring a proactive sales approach to every credit union. SalesCU accomplishes this by providing sales consulting and training to enhance branch sales, contact center sales, outbound sales, and lending center sales. The goal of SalesCU is to empower credit unions to cultivate primary financial relationships with their members. Engage Nick Brown directly at 801-860-5807 and Ask about his credit union specific workshops and online sales training, featured at

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine + WEB ACESS and THE TEAM BUILDER (GROUP SUBSCRIPTION) members only.
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