How to Eliminate the “Yeah, Buts” in Your Sales Organization

I recently coached a sharp team of sales managers. They expressed a common frustration that their well-intended feedback often was met with “Yeah, but” responses.

  • Yeah, but: If I had a better territory, I would be closing more business.
  • Yeah, but: If marketing would create better leads, my sales pipeline would look better.
  • Yeah, but: If the customer-service team would give out the right information, my customer wouldn’t call me all the time.

In response, sales managers get triggered and default to overcoming the yeah, but objection. It’s human nature to want to defend and justify.

My coaching suggestion is to apply the emotional intelligence skills of impulse control and self-awareness: Control the impulse to fix or justify and apply self-awareness.

You’ve tried the overcoming objections approach and it doesn’t work.  Instead, agree and align with the salesperson’s objection to diffuse their emotional state.  Then ask the powerful coaching question: What part of this selling challenge do you need to own? By asking this powerful coaching question, you build your sales team members’ self-awareness and internal locus of control. “Yes, marketing could provide better leads.  However, what part of this empty sales pipeline do you need to own?  What can you do better to improve the quantity and quality of leads?”

Salespeople possessing a high locus of control don’t fall into victim or blame mentality, which psychologists call “learned helplessness.”   They believe they can control their destiny, regardless of external circumstances or events. This results in proactive thinking, action, less stress and increased optimism –all good traits that lead to more sales success.

Sales managers, the next time you hear a “Yeah, but,” apply your self-awareness and impulse control.

Don’t overcome the objection.

Instead, ask the powerful coaching question, “What part of this do you need to own?”

Good Selling!

Incorporate Emotional Intelligence into your sales and leadership culture. Book Colleen to kick-off your next 2018 sales meeting. Call 303-708-1128 to start the conversation!


Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is the founder and president of SalesLeadership, Inc. She is a monthly columnist for Business Journals across the country, author of ‘Growing Great Sales Teams’ and co-author of ‘Motivational Selling.’ Her new book, 'Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success,' published by Amacom, a division of the American Management Association, is available in bookstores now. Colleen is the creator of Ei Selling®, a unique and powerful sales program that integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills. Prior to starting SalesLeadership, Colleen was vice president of sales and marketing for Varsity Spirit Corporation. During her 10 years at Varsity, sales increased from 8M to 90M. Varsity was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 200 fastest growing companies in the United States. When Colleen is not traveling or training, she loves to hike, read and hang with her husband Jim, and friends.

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