Smokescreens: Overcoming Sales Objections

When my mentor, master sales trainer and best friend Dariush Soudi first taught me these incredible insights of the sales process, I realised just how much money I had left on the table over my years of being in business.


  • People have money.
  • When they say otherwise, it’s just a smokescreen.
  • Smokescreens are excuses that people use to misdirect you from closing them and making a deal because you haven’t given enough value yet.

Getting a sale is probably the most effective skill you need to learn.

It’s certainly the best paid profession.

It can grow a business, save a business and ultimately drive your bottom line.

The problem is effective salespeople are very hard to find because of several factors.

1) They are a breed unto themselves.

2) So much of sales success is intertwined with your personality, any lack of confidence can be translated to lack of sales (and vice versa).

3) Sales rejection feels like personal rejection. Nobody wants that to happen to them. But it’s as important a part of the game as closing a deal.

4) Most give up. There are however, some skills that can be learned through great training OR trial and error which will take you through to the closed deal.

The biggest obstacle to a sale is handling the client’s objections.

These are sometimes genuine, sometimes fabricated but should always be treated as a smokescreen created exclusively to stoping you from getting the job done.


1) The client has enough money (or a means to raise it if they need to).

2) They have other options (good and bad) of other suppliers.

3) The decision maker values his/her time and wants a deal made quickly, either way.

4) Your time is also precious.

5) Often sales is a numbers game. Kiss enough frogs and you’ll get enough princes…

How to handle smokescreens?

This is a dance between you and the client.

Sometimes there are two people involved, sometimes more are present as witnesses or contributors to the bigger picture, but it’s usually down to you and an ultimate decision maker.

This leads to a double-edged sword situation.

Dr Steven Covey highlighted these options within his best selling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective people’ when he outlined a Win-Win negotiation.

1) If you win (and they lose) they will have buyer’s remorse and resent you.

2) If they win (and you lose) your profit margin probably disappeared with the signed contract.

3) You need a win-win. This way both sides succeed and have a sense of mutual victory.

4) You have to also be prepared for a no-win. That means you both walk away on friendly terms and return when a better resolution may be reached.

There are a number of key skills needed to get to this point.

· Referrals (recommendations from others that back up your credibility).

· Active listening.

· Listening to what they ‘didn’t say’.

· Mirroring and matching your body language and imitating their tone of voice (creating subconscious rapport).

You will need to address everything mentioned (and monitor anything that’s not been brought up yet) to make sure that you are aligned with your client’s objectives and vision at all times.

If they have any problems from the beginning and you choose not to address them, they will NOT have forgotten. Instead, they’ll just save it until it’s time to sign and then bombard you with reasons why they have decided not to go ahead.

If you constantly check in with them, you will at least have their last objection cleared before they decided to refuse to sign.

Check on them regularly and ask open questions that need real answers:

For instance…

‘Is there anything so far that you would like to improve?’

‘I notice you go quiet from time to time when discussing the project. What’s on you mind?’

‘What’s stopping us from moving forward right now?’

‘Have I missed anything which you wanted me to cover?’

Remember these are business smokescreens NOT personal, so take everything on the chin, no matter how much it may hurt.

During WW2 the most successful fighter pilot was a Luftwaffe air ace called Eric Hartmann.

He notched up over 320 kills by simply using the same strategy every time.


This allowed him to cherry pick his victories by carefully studying his opponents and working out the most effective way to get a win.

So for you, this translates as

1) Observing everything from both your own and the client’s perspective.

2) Making a decision on what they need after asking and discussing their pain points with them.

3) Work towards a resolution with their support so that you’re both moving forward in this together. Don’t leave yourself open to any accusations and remind them if they might have missed something too.

4) Decide an effective exit strategy from the situation with key deliverables and objectives covered.

With that in mind, look out for my future article will list each specific smokescreen and how you can overcome them.

Meanwhile, choose your battles carefully, listen to your client and remember that sometime walking away and living to fight another day IS STILL A WIN.

I can help you to overcome your fear of public speaking

Dave Crane won the Al Arouwad/ MTV award as the best motivational speaker in the MENA region. His events include 17 years hosting Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens .

He is also an award-winning broadcaster, NLP hypnotherapist, author and speaker coach. In his career, he’s run radio stations, coached many of the world’s favourite brands and worked alongside some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports.

Connect with Dave directly and watch his online motivational TV show ‘Turbo Charge Your Brand TV’ for business tips and interviews with Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy and Dr John Grey.

Find out about Dave’s Comedy Stage Hypnosis Show too.

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