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5 Types Of Customer Objections

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Customers can be dissatisfied with the retail sales process for a number of reasons, says Lynne Peer, owner/president of South Carolina-based Peer Resource Group, who identifies five types of customer objections.

Remember that different types of objections need to be handled in different ways, Peer says. Some objections are non-verbal signs like customers closing their arms, not making eye contact or walking away from you when you're talking. A lot of times you might not even hear their objections because they'll just leave and pass them on to someone else away from your store. That's why so much of the time it's good for owners and staffers to ask customers, "Have I satisfied all your needs?"

The first type of objection is a question that hasn't been answered. It could be that the customer doesn't feel his question has been answered either truthfully or to the full extent. The customer is still puzzled, and the objection is that they're not sure you've given them accurate information.

The second objection is a misunderstanding about the product or service. The customer thinks the product has a three-year warranty and it doesn't. Or thinks it comes in six sizes and it doesn't. So the misunderstanding comes from the fact that the customer either has some incorrect information…or just doesn't understand the features and benefits of the product. Customers buy based on product features and benefits. A salesperson could say "This is made of porcelain." The misunderstanding could be that the customer is unsure of the value of that material. The salesperson has to say that the porcelain is very fine, fire glazed or that it will be a treasure to the customer's family. Or, with a battery powered whipping tool, the staffer could say the benefits are that it isn't confined to a location with an outlet, that it whips up to 20 revolutions per minute [or whatever is factual], that it's made of stainless steel and cleans easily. With this type of objection, customers are either asking you more questions, or showing you through body language or eye contact that they don't quite understand what you're saying - or don't believe it.

A type of skepticism is the third type of objection. Customers don't believe the product or service will do what you say it will do. Or they don't believe the product will meet their needs. You might say "This is a scarf, and you can wash it in the washing machine and it won't shrink." If a customer is skeptical, they may raise objections like "Oh yeah, right" or "Oh sure, I've heard that before."

The fourth objection customers make is when they are trying to bargain with you. They're delaying the purchase, or trying to use bargaining tactics like saying, "This has two buttons missing" or "I'm not sure about the color." Customers are hoping you will lower the price, or they're trying to give you an excuse for why they're not buying.

The fifth objection occurs when there really is something wrong with the product in the customer’s eyes. The customer may say the product is not the right size or "I don't think this will work for me." The phrase "Maybe I'll go look somewhere else" typically means that the product is defective or doesn’t meet the customer’s need. It's either the price—that's a very common objection—or sometimes the customer really is just not able to make a decision about the product.

Peer can be reached at or (843) 525-9181.

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