Responding to Out of Line Objections

On this week’s episode of Straight Talk, David Lewis talks about how you can deal with out of line objections by asking the customer if you can make a sarcastic remark in order to clear the air.

If you would like a free copy of any of David’s books, feel free to email him at



Speaker 1: You’re watching Straight Talk with David Lewis.

David Lewis: I have a question for you. Have you ever had a customer say something or make an objection that made you want to reach across the desk, grab them by the scruff of the neck and just shake them? Well in today’s program, I’m going to tell you how you can get your point across without going that far by getting the customer’s permission to do something that would normally be out of bounds.

David Lewis: Hello everyone. I’m David Lewis and I want to welcome you to today’s episode of Straight Talk on today’s program. I’m going to show you how you can respond to a stupid or out-of-line objection by a customer by asking this question: “Can I make a sarcastic comment?” You may never have thought of this, but if you’ve been in the business for a while, you certainly had opportunities where you wished you could say what was really on your mind.

David Lewis: For instance, suppose you’ve been working with a customer for two or three hours and you’ve been sitting at the closing table negotiating price for the last 20 minutes. The customer likes the car. He seems to like you and you’ve given him a good deal on the car, and the manager’s agreed to let him have it for, let’s say, $28,000. So now the customer comes back to you with his arms crossed and a sarcastic look on his face and he says, “You tell your manager, I’ll take it right now for $20,000 cash.” Your first thought might be to say you’re sorry you’ve wasted so much time on him, shake his hand and send him on his way. Or you might feel like laughing your head off or even coming back with something as ridiculous as the offer he just made. Of course, none of these things will get you where you want to go, nor will they encourage the customer to step up and give you the $28,000. But here’s something that you can do that will lighten the atmosphere and, from my personal experience, will probably get a positive response from the customer.

David Lewis: Just ask the customer for his permission to make a sarcastic response. I would say, “Mr. Customer, can I make a sarcastic comment?” In nearly every case, the customer will agree and you can then make a response that is suited for the kind of offer the customer’s made. This objection is something that some customers have heard is a way to beat a car salesperson at their own game and keep some fast-talking hustler from running over them on the price of the car. What it basically does is lightens the atmosphere and gives you an opportunity to tell the customer what you really think of their offer. Now a brief message on how you can get a complimentary set of my books.

Speaker 1: Here’s a little something to thank you for watching and to help you succeed in your automotive career. Get a free set of David’s books, the Secrets of Inspirational Selling, Understanding Your Customer, Common Mistakes Automotive Salespeople Make, The Leadership Factor, and Winners Versus Losers. To receive your complimentary books, email your request to David at

David Lewis: Okay, I’m back. Now let’s continue on with the idea of asking the customer for their permission to make a sarcastic comment. At first this may seem like a ridiculous thing to do and a bit risky to the deal, but the truth is there are times when you need to speak your piece, and this allows you to do that with the customer’s permission so you can keep things professional on both sides of the desk. People appreciate it when you’re honest and open and you’re trying to do your best to be professional during a business negotiation.

David Lewis: Obviously you wouldn’t pull this reply out of the hat if you’re negotiating on close numbers or an objection that really seems to have merit from a logical perspective. Sometimes a customer’s objections of this sort spring from your own fears of being taken advantage of by a salesperson. It may be that they’ve been cautioned not to give in to what the salesperson offers, even if in their own mind it’s reasonable and they know it is. Calling their attention to these kinds of things can sometimes break the ice and allow you to move forward when asking for the sale and closing the deal.

David Lewis: It’s not being a wise guy or taking advantage of an opportunity to insult the customer, but the truth is if you have been showing them respect in the way you have handled your sales presentation, they should show you respect in return. This gives you an opportunity to snap things back into reality and get them back on track.

David Lewis: This kind of thing can also happen when a customer has an outlandish idea of what their trade is worth. It may be that they’re trying to get the car for a wholesale and get retail value for their trade. It just cannot go that way, no matter how much they would like it to work. Asking for permission to make a sarcastic comment is a good way to bring the folly of what they’re asking into the light, and may help them come around to a reasonable perspective on things.

David Lewis: And then there is always the real possibility that you’re dealing with someone who is just unrealistic and cannot get past the foolishness of what they’re asking you to do. When push comes to shove, some people just cannot be dealt with, and you can let them go knowing you did your best to put together a reasonable offer and they just couldn’t see it. Those kinds of people do exist, and the best thing you can do is to let them go see how that works somewhere else. Maybe they’ll come to their senses and come back once they realize what they’re doing was indeed ridiculous.

David Lewis: Though you may have never thought of taking this approach with a customer’s ridiculous objections, but if you have been in this business for a while, you probably wished you had some way to speak your mind without reflecting poorly on the dealership. In the meantime, if you find yourself dealing with a customer and their objections or obstacles seem completely out of line, again, ask for permission to make a sarcastic comment and that can break the ice and bring things back to where they should be in a serious business deal. Give it a try and see if it works for you. You might be surprised how the customer responds and you both may end up laughing all the way to the delivery process.

David Lewis: Well, that’s it for today’s show. I know it was not the normal kind of topic we deal with on Straight Talk, but it’s a fun line and something that will do the job and help you close the sale. Let me make again my special offer for you today. If you would like to, if you’d like to get a free copy of my books, just shoot me an email at and get them out to you right away. Again, thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week on another episode of Straight Talk.

Speaker 1: Thanks for watching Straight Talk with David Lewis. This has been a JBF business media production.