After digging deeper into sales reports I receive, it seems that my people are so poor at handling objections. I have sent them to several training programs but there seems to be no proper framework beyond a bunch of tips. When we sell successfully, it comes heftily with so much discounts or freebies just to overcome objections. Could there be a more systematic way of doing things? –Dennis, Business Owner-Ortigas.

Rest assured that your company is not alone in this predicament. In my two decades of conducting sales and negotiation programs, this is a common situation that has to be alleviated or rectified. Pertinent to your query, Mansmith has developed 1) a proper framework, 2) a client-centric process that promotes a preventive approach,  and 3) a matrix of remedial tools that are diagnostic-prescriptive and thus success replicable and not just ‘a bunch of tips’ that may be too situation-specific.

Just to be on the same page let us first align labels.

Obstacles…Not Just Objections

What is commonly lumped and referred to as objections actually turn out to be three major obstacle types that further spawn seven natures of obstacles. The three major types of obstacles are lack of interest, doubt and objections. It would be quite lengthy and impractical to digress further into each of the seven natures in an article like this. Suffice it to say that each one has a different root, behavioral manifestation and impact on the potential deal.

Preventive Approach

It behooves us to look into what brings about obstacles in the first place. In the old approach of selling, presentations take center-stage with the hope of securing the attention, interest, desire and action of prospective clients or customers. Such presentations are loosely if not barely predicated on a non-systematic discovery process (or they do not go beyond the too basic open-ended and close-ended questions).  Naturally, when there is a failure to match the prospective customer’s notions with the presentations’ content, structure and execution, obstacles erupt.  

On the other hand, the more scientific and client-centric approach emphasizes a systematic discovery process.  This utilizes surgically-precise phraseological tools to secure the much needed information on needs, wants and even constraints, determines other pertinent components of customer decision factors and synthesizes these into simple yet structurally sound and efficient persuasive communication that naturally interests the customer and is easier to accept. Why so?  Because this newer approach uses the customer’s own logic and process flow. Obviously, customers tend to be both interested and accepting of their own logic and process, preventing obstacles from germinating at all.

Remedial Approach

Let us suppose obstacles still surface. This is highly probable particularly when the old approach is used.  With the new approach, if and when obstacles come out, such is normally attributable to latecomer critics on the customer side who missed the preambles, inadvertently excluded items in the discovery process, or incomplete synthesis prior to launching the persuasive communication phase.
In the old approach, the staple action would be to use a general objection handling method. Unfortunately this shotgun approach pales in comparison to a more surgically-precise method for each type. In the former, the tendency is to hard sell; in the latter, the right tool for the right job translates to appropriate action that even considers personality type bias.

Prelude to Negotiation

Be aware that obstacles are also being utilized to coax the seller to segue immediately into negotiation. The amateur sales person will nosedive without hesitation, mouth agape in pursuit of the bait, unknowing the dangers and business opportunity losses borne out of premature or unwarranted negotiation. The properly trained sales person on the other hand, employs the efficient process of obstacle handling, uses the Mansmith diagnostic-prescriptive matrix and in so doing, avoids expensive premature or unwarranted negotiations. Noteworthy is the fact that of the seven natures of obstacles, only one really leads to negotiation. That is of course, only if none of six ways to manage the said obstacle-type are up to the task.

Rowen Untivero is a Partner and the Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (, the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines.  He is the developer and training master of “Winning More Business Using the Science of Selling” as well as three Negotiation Courses, where related framework, processes, strategies and tools can exclusively be learned. For inquiries, please email, visit, call (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88.

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