Every program book sales rep gets them—the dreaded objection after the order is asked for. It is important to remember that objections are not personal and they need to be handled accordingly. If you follow a system to handle them, and practice the system, they can actually be fun. In this series we’ll take a look at the most common program book sales objections and some ways to overcome them that will get you to your ultimate goal—the program book advertising sale.

The system that we use at Onstage Publications for overcoming program book advertising sales objections is as follows:

Listen   Probe   Classify   Respond

Listen: Give the client your undivided attention, don’t interrupt, or speak too soon, ask yourself is it an objection, or a question?

Methods of Probing: Use the word “why?” or “I’m really surprised” or “In addition to that, is there any other reason?”

Classify: Is it a usage objection (i.e. nobody reads the program books for the ads), is it a value objection (i.e. program book advertising is too expensive), then paraphrase the objection.

Respond: “If you felt that ___________, would you reconsider?” Use the 3 F-Technique: Feel, Felt, Found. You will want to use any support materials that you have to back up your response (i.e. testimonials, etc.) Finally, ask for the order—you have earned it!

Remembering that objections are not personal, you want to avoid arguments, share the concern with your client, interpret the objection as a lack of knowledge about program book advertising, be brief, always handle, don’t answer and most importantly, always close after handling the objection.

So, let’s take a look at “Everybody Knows Me” and use the system to overcome this common program book advertising objection.

  1. Listen carefully to what the client is saying. Another way to interpret this particular objection is that they are telling you they don’t need to advertise in the program book because everyone knows them.
  1. Convert the objection into a question:

“Then, you feel that your reputation is adequate advertising for your business and advertising in the program book won’t benefit your business?”

  1. Listen to the client’s answer and use it to guide your response.

Taking into account all of this information a sample response to the client would be as follows:

“As a matter of fact, a business that is favorably known in the community such as yours is in a much better position to advertise profitably in the program book. If two advertisements of the same size appeared side by side in the program book and contained essentially the same information, the better known of the two firms would undoubtedly have the greater pulling power because people have a tendency to do business with the known and shun the unknown.”


“That is understandable, but would you say they all purchase from you? Many of them probably know your competitors also. What about those who really don’t know you? For example, new comer’s, the dissatisfied, the in-frequents, the competitive shoppers, and the travelers?”

By following and practicing this system for overcoming objections, you will soon be on your way to more program book advertising sales. Good selling!


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