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How to listen for hidden client objections

Salespeople and business people know that listening skills are essential yet when I run sales training seminars I am constantantly amazed by how poorly most people listen to their prospects and clients.

This may well be that people have had too little sales training in this area, it may be that they hear what they want to hear or it could be that they just don’t care.


The ability to listen, not only to what is said but to what is not quite said, is essential if you want to improve your sales skills and increase your sales results. Check out this excerpt from Real World Sales Skills: How to Sharpen Your Sales Skills & Win More Sales.

Listen for hidden objections.

Earlier on we talked about incongruent tones. Now we’re going to talk about their close relative, the hidden objection. Hidden objections represent a block to the sale which is either not stated or is wrapped up in something else that the client said and therefore easily ignored or missed by the salesperson.

Take this example towards the end of the sales process. Read it out to yourself…

Sales: “Are you happy with that, Mr Client?” Client: “Yes, I am happy with that element of the solution.”

Now read this second version out to yourself but lightly stress the .marked. word…

Sales: “Are you happy with that, Mr Client?” Client: “Yes, I am happy with .that. element of the solution.”

See the difference? The stressed word may well mean that they are happy with that but not with some other part of your solution.

To be a great salesperson you need to be a great listener and to be a great listener you need to listen out carefully not only to what is being said and what you want to hear but also to what is not being said or what is not being said overtly or directly.

Most salespeople would carry on with this sale assuming that they were doing well here. Unfortunately, they would be wrong. Failure to hear this subtle nuance could well result in a stalled or lost sales later on down the line. I sense the words, “I’ll call you back!” marching ominously in your direction.

A sales superstar would pick up on this subtle difference and explore the real meaning of what is being said.

One tip is to listen to genuinely understand, with real interest. When you do, you will start to hear things that journeyman sales wannabees will not.

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