The Salesperson’s Guide to Handling Resistance from Customers

Resistance from customers is something every salesperson encounters at some point in their career. It’s a natural part of the sales process, but it doesn’t have to be a roadblock. In fact, it can be an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the customer and provide even greater value.

Understanding the Nature of Resistance

Resistance often stems from fear, uncertainty, or a lack of understanding. It’s not necessarily a rejection of you or your product; it’s often a sign that the customer needs more information, reassurance, or a different perspective.

Practical Application: Ask Open-Ended Questions

  • Identify the Concern: Ask questions like, “Can you tell me more about what’s holding you back?” to understand the root of the resistance.
  • Provide Clarity: Offer information that addresses their specific concerns.

The Power of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s a powerful tool in handling resistance because it allows you to see the situation from the customer’s point of view.

Practical Application: Show Genuine Interest

  • Listen Actively: Give your full attention and show that you truly care about their concerns.
  • Validate Their Feelings: Acknowledge their feelings without judgment.

Adapting Your Presentation

Every customer is unique, and so are their needs and concerns. Adapting your presentation to address the specific resistance can turn a potential loss into a win.

Practical Application: Tailor Your Approach

  • Customize Your Presentation: Focus on the aspects of your product or service that directly address their concerns.
  • Offer Alternatives: If one approach doesn’t resonate, be prepared to offer alternatives that might better align with their needs.

Building Trust Through Transparency

Trust is essential in overcoming resistance. Being transparent, honest, and open can build a level of trust that allows the customer to feel comfortable moving forward.

Practical Application: Be Open and Honest

  • Share Information Freely: Don’t hide anything. Be upfront about all aspects of your product or service.
  • Admit When You Don’t Know: If you don’t have an answer, admit it and commit to finding the information.

The IDEAS Sales System in Action

My IDEAS Sales System, which emphasizes Introducing, Discovering, Evaluating, Adapting, and Serving, is a perfect framework for handling resistance. It’s about understanding the customer deeply and adapting your approach to serve them best.

Jesus’s Approach to Resistance

In my book, “The Master Salesman: Jesus and the Art of Service,” I explore how Jesus handled resistance in his teachings. His approach was one of compassion, understanding, and persistence. He didn’t force his views but rather engaged people in dialogue, asked probing questions, and provided insights that made them think differently.

Practical Application: Be Patient and Persistent

  • Engage in Dialogue: Don’t shut down when you encounter resistance. Engage in a conversation.
  • Provide Thoughtful Insights: Offer insights that might help them see things from a different perspective.


Handling resistance from customers is not about overcoming objections in a combative way. It’s about understanding, empathy, adaptation, and building trust. It’s about serving the customer in the best way possible.

If you’d like to explore these concepts further, you might find value in my book, “The Master Salesman: Jesus and the Art of Service,” available here.

For those looking to deepen their sales skills and embrace a compassionate, customer-centered approach, I invite you to explore Training, Coaching, and Life Coaching at Closer Classes.

Your customer wants to buy. He needs you to help him believe.

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