Reflex Responses, Brush-Offs, and Objections (RBO)

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Reflex Responses, Brush-Offs, and Objections (RBO)

By John Powers, Xperience Director of Sales

Rejection is a powerful demotivator.  Picking up the phone and calling someone is the most stressful part of the day for most salespeople.  Why? Because rejection conjures up our deepest fears of vulnerability. Brene Brown says, “vulnerability is created in the presence of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (potential to be rejected).

That is why so many people hate prospecting…they cannot control the situation and therefore feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.”  It happens at first site of RBO (Reflex Responses, Brush-Offs, and Objections).

They say don’t take it personal.  News flash…it feels personal and is personal.  The feeling of rejection isn’t real. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between the prospect rejecting your message or rejecting you.  It’s one and the same to our brain. The psychological and neurochemical response is generated by your innate and insatiable need to feel accepted, important, and in control….

It’s disingenuous for sales trainers and speakers to tell you to just “let it roll of your back….”  it’s easier to intellectualize the pain of rejection than to acknowledge that it’s real and teach people how to deal with it.  What we can do is gain control of that disruptive emotion so that when you get rejected or an objection, your feelings don’t run amuck and cause prospecting to become a train wreck.

Reflex Response

Ever walk into a store and get confronted by a sales person?  When they ask if they can help you, what do you say?

No thanks?  Just looking?  

It’s automatic… even when we could use some help finding something.  

What do we hear?  Not interested… We’re happy here…  We’re all set… I’m busy… I’m running out the door.  These are all examples of things that prospects reflexively say when they are interrupted.  It’s the script they’ve been conditioned with.  

My question to you:  What script have you been conditioned with to counteract that?

Brush Offs

Call me later…  Get back to me in a month…  Send me the information… 

They want to avoid confrontation and be kind enough to let you down easy. They have learned that sales people are willing to accept these falsehoods and go away because they want to avoid conflict too.  Why do they lie?

Seth Godin says they lie because salespeople have trained them to and because they are afraid.  

They have learned when they lie, the salesperson will challenge their judgment and they feel disrespected. 


These tend to be more truthful and logical.  They typically come with a “because”.

“There’s no reason to meet right now because we just signed a new contract”… or “we are in the middle of a home improvement project”… or “we don’t want to move during the school year…”

These responses are rare, but they do open the door to turning around the objection and setting up a meeting anyway or gathering information to qualify your next call in the future.

Three Step Turn-Around Framework

Why use a script?  A practice script makes your voice intonation, speaking style, and flow sound relaxed, authentic, and professional.

Overcome Objections:  that is not what we are doing…overcome means to defeat or prevail over an opponent.

This sounds like an argument.  Seth Godin says you can’t argue another person into believing that they are wrong.  

Disrupt vs Defeat

Disrupt their expectations and thought patterns when they push back with a no.  A statement or question that causes them to lean towards you rather than move away from you. It’s a pull vs. pull process…When we encounter something that isn’t expected we stop and pay attention.

The three elements of the RBO turnaround:  Anchor. Disrupt. Ask. 

1) Anchor

The initial reaction to rejection is fight or flight.  Gain control of this emotion by giving your logical brain (neocortex) time to catch up. Your amygdala (your reptilian brain) is hard wired to prepare you to survive.  Our brain reacts the same way to a no that it would if we meet a bear in the woods…But your neocortex can respond differently…it’s just slower…milliseconds slower.  The anchor statement is there for the purpose of giving your logical brain time to catch up….

2) Disrupt

The prospect is conditioned for you to respond just like every other salesperson.  When they say no, they expect a fight.  

*”I’m happy where I am at”…or “I am happy with my last agent”… or “I’m happy as a FSBO”… or “I’m happy searching on my own”

    “Awesome if you are happy then there’s no point in changing.”  Completely unexpected

*I’m busy.”

    “I figured you’d be busy”.  Agreeing with them disrupts their thought patterns.

*Just send me some information.”

    “Tell me specifically what you are looking for”.  Call their bluff and forces engagement.

*”I’m not interested”

    “That makes sense.  Most people aren’t.”  Their brain is not ready for that.

3) Ask

Now it’s time to ask again for a commitment.  You must ask confidently for a commitment of time or information, without any hesitation.  

Most times they will throw out another RBO…closer to the truth.  Be ready for another disruptor.  

You must have disruptors ready to go.

1. I’m busy

    “That’s exactly why I called.

    I figured you would be, so I want to find a time that is more convenient for you.  How about we get together _________ instead.”

2. We’re not interested.

    “You know what is what a lot of my current clients said the first time I called.  Most people aren’t interested before they see how much money I can save them….I don’t know if I’m a good fit for you, but doesn’t it make sense for us to at least get together for a short meeting to find out?”    

3.  I’m really happy with staying put right now.

    “That fantastic.  Anytime you are happy in a current situation, you shouldn’t think about changing.  I’d love to just get to know you a bit better by getting together so if I come across the perfect house, I’ll know it’s for you or not.”

Once you conceptualize and implement these 3 elements you will be able to turn almost any conversation into an appointment. With enough appointments you will hit your income goals for 2020, it’s that simple. This won’t happen automatically though and there’s no “easy button” that will automatically solidify these techniques in your brain. You have to PRACTICE this. Please don’t do what I did early on in my career and practice this on your prospects. Just 30-60 minutes a day will get you there. Time block it and find someone that is dedicated to improving their skill, just like you.