How To Overcome These 5 Shopper Objections And Get The Sale

Salesman discussing product with customer

Access My FREE 5-Part Retail Sales Training Email Course!

Updated May 6, 2024

As I walked past a Brookstone in an airport one Sunday afternoon several years ago, a guy was teaching his associates how to sell their remote-controlled helicopters.

“The key is to fly them,” he said as the associates stood off to the side, smiling and rolling their eyes. From the concourse, I watched intrigued as the helicopter zipped over heated massage chairs and around air purifiers. I had to walk in.

The trainer asked me some questions to build rapport and then showed me how easy the toy was to use. I objected, “It doesn’t look like something I’d do on my own; I’ll pass.” The trainer quickly said, “Well, that’s why you should get two, so you have someone to play with. I’m sure you know someone who would enjoy this as much as you.”

He had dealt with my objection to get the sale. I purchased two.

More recently, I watched a Brookstone associate milling around the store while several shoppers picked up gadgets and tried them as he impassively looked on. That guy didn’t care to engage a shopper or sell the merchandise. He figured - wrongly - that the merchandise could sell itself.

I thought about those two different interactions when Brookstone announced it was closing its mall stores to concentrate on its 30 airport locations.

What Brookstone didn’t understand is they are in the wants business, not the needs business.

Wants take a lot more work...

Many of your products are wants too.

That means you must have a retail sales process that engages a shopper sufficiently to lower their guard and encourages them to consider the upgraded model, the extravagant gift, or the full outfit.

Consumers guard themselves and crow about how smart they are, how they didn’t pay full price for something, or how they saw something on sale and grabbed it.

But price is not what sells wants; people do.

When you have untrained employees or ones subjected to outdated sales materials, they panic when a shopper brings up an objection. Let's solve that selling dilemma...

How To Thwart Five Common Shopper Objections And Get The Sale 

1. They say, “It costs too much.”  Convince them it doesn’t. A young woman told me recently she wouldn’t buy a special dress for $100 because she might only wear it twice. She saw it as essentially costing her $50 each time. Once we understood her reasoning, we helped her find one she could wear more often, one she could wear from daytime to nighttime.  By changing our dialogue, we emphasized how smart she would feel about her purchase. The key is to understand precisely what they are looking for, why they are looking for it, and why they might object to the price of what they are looking at that moment. Then, you have to overcome it creatively. 

2. They say, “You don’t have the one I’m looking for.” Challenge them. Sometimes, associates try to shoehorn a shopper with an option that doesn't do enough. If they come in for an air fryer they want, and you don’t have that model, ask them, “Why are you looking at air fryers?” Once you understand, you can show them another air fryer or an all-in-one model that also serves as an instant pot and a rice cooker.  Once you know everything the shopper wants to use the item for, you can close a sale with another product that will do even better.

3. They say, “I have to ask someone.” Turn that remark on its head and ask, “What if that person says do it? Would you do it? And what if they do say No, would you fight them on it?” I had a woman on the fence about buying a pair of exotic cowboy boots. She told her sales associate she had to ask her husband. I asked her, “I’m sure you have plenty of expensive items in your closet. What would he tell you?” She paused, laughed, and said, “Take off the tags. I’m wearing them out!” Once you challenge them on it, you’ll find their objection was simply a smokescreen, and you won’t believe how easily they convert and you get the sale.

4. They say, “I’m not sure it’s right for me.” Appeal to their ego. “It’s not for everybody, that’s for sure.” They come in wanting the (insert any bright color here) one, but as they’re about to buy it, they shy away.  They second-guess themselves as a million voices go through their head telling them their choice is wrong - that it’s too bold or too attention-grabbing. Contrast a "safer" option of a beige one by appealing to their ego. By remembering what they told you and looking at what they are wearing, make comments that bolster their ego; tell them they deserve this item; it is perfect for them. This only works if you've built rapport - otherwise, you come off as a phony. The shopper’s ego needs bolstering. Price is never the objection in cases like these. You need to help them quiet the negative voices in their head so they can do what they truly want to do. 

5. They say, “You’re out of the one I want.” Many retailers think telling the shopper you can ship it to them is the best way to handle an objection, but as a consumer, this can be a letdown. They fear what condition it will arrive in, whether it will fit, or if they’ll still want it. Those may be valid objections, but you still have to overcome them. Tell the shopper you can ship it to their home, and they can return the item for any reason, with free shipping if they decide they don’t want it. Remember, a proactive salesperson doesn’t oversell something they do not have readily available. Customers want to take merchandise home with them that day.

The shopper standing before you came into your store wanting to buy something when they left their house to make a special trip. When they voice an objection, don’t take it as an absolute No but rather as a No, I won’t buy it unless…

Let’s be brutally honest here: oftentimes, shoppers surface objections at the end of a presentation because the salesperson was too lazy to do their job.

Objections at the end of the sale often mean the employee didn’t bother to fully connect with the shopper to understand what they came to buy and, therefore, didn’t highlight the relevant benefits during their presentation.

A good sales professional knows to poke holes in common objections during the sales process. They can also poke holes in bad online reviews or misconceptions about a product.

They are overcoming objections before they even happen.

Your team can, too.

You can build your team’s confidence and objection-handling skills by having them write down any objections they hear about your more expensive products. You’re bound to hear:

  • I’ll wait.
  • What I have now works fine.
  • This might not be the best one for me.
  • I need to ask (husband, wife, friend)

Then during your downtime, brainstorm how to proactively deal with those objections using specific products on your sales floor.

Connecting with a shopper requires more than asking, “What are you looking for?” or “Do you have a budget?” It takes a sales process like SalesRX.


In Sum

While some retailers like Brookstone decry declining mall traffic, foot traffic stats aren't declining everywhere.

Traffic alone doesn’t determine your success; success is determined by how you and your crew proactively remove common objections during the buying process.

It’s not pushy; dealing with objections helps shoppers purchase what they want rather than leave disappointed. Your goal must be to make the sale every time.

More often than not, shoppers are not looking to purchase something they need. Selling to a want takes more skill, more persistence, and more training.

Instead of looking for one killer closing technique, look for a killer sales process that makes your associates focus on opening their hearts to another human being and understanding why that shopper made the trek to your store in the first place.

Anything less and you’re a gadget store hoping someone finds their own reasons to buy.

And we know how that ends...