Of Sales Objections, McDonald’s and Forrest Gump

If Forrest Gump were a salesman instead of, um, well, whatever he was, he never would’ve compared life to a box of chocolates. Instead, he would realize that you do know what you’re going to get. Every time.

Consider sales objections. Sales objections are like looking at the menu at McDonald’s; it’s always the same. When I was a kid, there were burgers, fries and Coke. Today, there are burgers, fries and Coke.


When it comes to sales objections, there is a similar never-changing menu:

  • “Your price is too high.”
  • “We already have a vendor.”
  • “Were not buying anything right now.”
  • “Call me after the holidays.”

No one ever goes into McDonald’s and says, “Surprise me!” There are no surprises. Likewise, you shouldn’t be surprised in a selling situation. You need to have an answer to each common objection. Moreover, it needs to be a strong answer.

You should strive to get to the point where, as the customer is finishing his or her sentence, you are so ready with your answer that a smile comes across your face. Not only is that disarming, but that kind of confidence sets the tone for the rest of the sales call.

What you need to do, then, is to prepare, plan and practice your responses to those objections. Sit with someone, be it a manager or associate, and role play until you feel that your words are strong enough. If you don’t like what you hear, ask for advice.

Every selling situation is different, of course. As such, not every response is going to work every time. That’s OK. At least you will have a starting point. What’s important is that you prepare something to say prior to walking into that situation, and don’t just wing it.

Try as you may, you will never get a “good” meal at McDonald’s. However, with a little effort and forethought, you can get a good outcome from a sales objection.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Leo Klebanow

    I eat at MacDonalds and get good meals. I never expect bad food so it is therefore good.

    Re the outcome of a sales call, some calls I’ve made that I felt were poorly done but the outcome was excellent…the sale was made.

    On the other hand, I sometimes made what I felt was a great sales call and there was no outcome other than a non-sale for the time being.

    As I learned many years ago, the two should be related but are often not.