Objections come in all shapes and sizes and rear their ugly head throughout the sales process.
You’ve likely encountered responses like:
- I like your solution, but I don’t think it’ll work for us
- I’ve been talking to a few other providers and your fees are at least 20% higher
- Sounds good in theory, but I have a pretty full plate for the foreseeable future
- We’re already working with someone who handles all of our needs in that area
- I just don’t think a project like this is within our current budget
Overcoming objections is an important step to winning any sale. How you approach objection handling is often the difference between gaining a new customer and losing an opportunity.
What is an Objection?
When you think about an objection, the first word that comes into mind is NO. A sales objection is an expression from a buyer that a barrier exists between what you’re offering and the need they want to be satisfied.
In simple terms, sales objection is an indication that a buyer isn’t ready to buy from you because of a particular reason. But, don’t be discouraged when a buyer isn’t ready to make a purchase.
No one said that the journey to becoming a successful salesperson is filled with ‘Yes! I accept your offer,’ or ‘I’m looking forward to doing more business with you’ and all other statements which indicate a successful sale.
Some buyers can be challenging to convince. The road to a successful sale is a rollercoaster filled with ups, downs, and objections.
The 10 Most Common Types of Sales Objections
Objections tend to fall in four common categories, regardless of the product or service you sell:
1. Lack of need
Buyers either don’t perceive the need to solve a problem or don’t perceive there is a problem. In this case, what you’re selling doesn’t resonate with the buyer or they simply don’t see the value in what you offer.
How do you explore the needs of your customer?
- Sell the result, not the process: nobody wants to waste time talking about the process. People are more interested in the result. When you turn your sole focus into adding value, you position yourself at a higher value to a prospect.
- Know your client’s industry inside out: learn or instead study your potential client. Take a closer look at the prospect’s business, company, and even competitors. This knowledge will give you ideas and insights on what exactly your prospects are looking for and the areas you can add value to.
- Don’t rush: even after discovering something about your client, take your time to dig even more profoundly. Aim to discover the root cause of the need.
- Explore multiple possibilities: ask yourself multiple questions, and diversify your research. This will uncover different reasons for your clients’ needs and numerous possibilities for satisfying their needs.
2. Lack of urgency
Buyers don’t see the full impact and value of your solution. Typically, when urgency is an issue, other priorities trump your project.
When prospects demonstrate a lack of urgency, you haven’t displayed how valuable your offer is.
You can help your prospect see your value by:
- Focusing on their pain points: pain-based selling is all about identifying your customer’s pain and pressing your thumb on the nerve that hurts, and then make them see how your offer will help ease the pain.
- Go beyond the pain: after identifying the pain points, focus beyond the pinch and talk about long term benefits and rewards a prospect is likely to get.
- Talk numbers: this is important mostly for B2B companies who focus on increasing ROI. Present numbers to elaborate ROI, dollar value, and profit margins.
3. Lack of trust
Buyers feel uncertain about you, your solution, or your company. In this case, buyers may have a need and want to address it, but they don’t believe that you can achieve or deliver what you say you will.<
Here are two tips on how you can earn trust from your prospects:
1) Be genuine and open:
Truth be told, nobody likes a ‘traditional salesperson’ who overly praises their products/services. In short, don’t be self-centered. This paints you as a cheesy salesman who is focused on pushing sales more than helping their clients. Go back to the basics of interaction. Build a relationship with your prospect. Ask questions about your prospect, show interest in their activities, and most importantly, be open and direct about your offer.
2) Turn the spotlight on your prospect:
Look for a balance between talking about your offer and asking questions. Make the conversation a two-way street. Once in a while, you can take the conversation off selling and tell a story about one of your clients or talk about anything else in general, for instance, what’s happening in the news, latest market trends, etc.
4. Lack of budget
While this is the most common objection, pricing objections can also be a disguise for something else. It’s important to get to the heart of the matter.
Identify which category objections fall into as they arise so you can respond to them effectively.
You can handle the lack of money objection by:
- Break the price into small billing options: instead of talking about the general cost structure, you can discuss it in hours or weeks.
- Focus on value: justify your value before discussing the price. Remember, value tramples cost.
- Make your offer flexible: don’t make your offer too rigid. Opt to offer your solution in different parts. You can ask what part of the offer your client doesn’t need and get rid of it.
5. Product Objection
At times, a customer can voice an objection related to a product. For example, comments like, ‘This product is not as good as what your competitor is offering,’ or ‘Your product sounds a little complicated. We would prefer a simpler model,’ reflect a prospect’s concern about the product’s performance.
Quite often, prospects may not fully understand the functionality and features, especially when it comes to complex purchases that affect a company’s operation.
When customers voice product objections, you’re tasked with explaining it in detail. You can play it out by:
- Describing the features, functionality, and warranty policy of the product.
- Using testimonials to elaborate more about how other customers use the product.
- Giving a full demonstration of the product if possible.
- Presenting industry or third-party research to support your claim.
6. Lack of Authority
A typical sales objection you’ll face, especially when dealing with well-established companies, is a lack of authority. A prospect may suggest they don’t call the shots around when it comes to purchasing.
You can start by inquiring further about the person mentioned. Get as much information as possible since you’ll be talking to them when closing the sale. Ask about:
- The department they work in
- How you can reach out to them
- Their availability
- Whether they also have to answer to a ‘higher’ authority
Additionally, you can request your target to give them an overview of your product or service before the meeting. This will make your sales pitch easier. All you’ll be left to do is supplement, clarify and build on what they already know.
7. Source Objection
Some prospects may be okay with your product, but their uncertainties lie in doing business with you as a salesperson or the company in general. This is what I call source objection.
Even though this doesn’t happen quite often, it is essential to be prepared for anything that comes your way as a salesperson.
A prospect may voice comments about your reputation, stability, security, or the duration your company has been in business. You can view source objection as a window to elaborate on the strengths of your company or yourself.
Give out more information about the company and for how long it has existed. Talk about some of the oldest clients you’ve worked with, the reason they worked with you, and how you show commitment to your customers. Also, talk about how you minimize risk and provide security.
At the end of the day, your aim should be to build your prospect’s trust.
8. Contentedness Objection
A prospect being content with the current product or service they utilize doesn’t necessarily mean their needs are fully satisfied. A customer may voice an objection as ‘I’m happy with product XYZ’ or ‘Thanks but we already use XYZ.’
Neither of these statements means a definite NO. When faced with contentedness objection, the first thing to do is to probe deeper and find out why they chose the product/service they currently use. Also, ask about what they don’t like about it and areas it falls short.
This will help you come up with a Unique Selling Point and ways your offer can provide better overall value. Aim for the gaps left by the existing product to show your prospect what they are missing.
Ensure you can back up your points to build a strong case.
9. Time-related Objection
Time-related objections revolve around a lack of resources. The only difference is buyers use a lack of time to mask their real objection.
A prospect may claim to be too busy to talk and may even ask you to call back or visit after a certain period. The best way to handle this objection is by inquiring about what’s keeping them preoccupied.
This isn’t a way of refuting their ‘busy’ claim. Instead, you’re trying to find why they are quickly dismissing your offer. Maybe, your potential buyer is just overestimating the time and resources your offer will take.
Or, if they know the exact time it will take, they’re skeptical of whether the value gained is worth it.
You can explain that your offer isn’t time-consuming and the value gained from the whole experience will be totally worth it.
10. Aggressive Objection
As a salesperson, you’ll come across all types of buyers. Sometimes, you’ll face an aggressive prospect who will turn you down in the most unpleasant way.
First and foremost, you should understand that some people are naturally harsh, and there isn’t much you can do to change their nature. Ensure to remain calm. Responding harshly will only escalate things further.
Also, an aggressive prospect tells you about their experience. Probably, your potential buyer is just tired of pushy salespeople.
However, if you feel your personality will only clash further, you can hand over the prospect to your colleague.
Remember: not all prospects convert to sales. Therefore, when things don’t seem to be progressing, end the conversation politely and on a high note.
How Do You Respond To Sales Objections?
We’ve already established that as a salesperson, objection is part of your job description. But, you can always turn a NO into a YES! To maneuver this hurdle, you have to learn how to respond to sales objections.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at specific objections you’re likely to face in your daily operations and how to handle them.
Objection #1: The price is out of my range
As mentioned earlier, price objection is one of the most common types of sales objection you’ll face. Sometimes, prospects will use price to turn down your offer politely.
‘Sorry, I’m not interested in your offer. The price is a little bit steep and out of my budget.’
‘Our offer may sound a little bit expensive at the moment but I promise it will be worth it in the long run. It will impact your company in the following XYZ ways. One of our clients had the same concern but currently, he is very happy about the results.’
Don’t stop there. Dig deeper and inquire about how much they’re willing to spend or break down the cost structure:
‘How much are you willing to spend on our offer?’
‘We can offer you X because this is what your company currently needs. It will be a highly valuable investment for your company.’
Objection #2: I’ll get back to you
This is a classic lack of urgency sales objection. A prospect can object by insinuating that they can’t give you an immediate answer before consulting their superior.
‘Your offer sounds enticing but let me talk to my superior and we’ll get back to you. Thank you.’
Salesperson: (Be smart and close any window for further uncertainty)
‘If you like, you can arrange a meeting between your superiors and I’ll gladly talk about our offer and how it will benefit your business. How does next week sound?’
Objection #3: I don’t think your company is the right fit for us
Most clients won’t openly tell you that they are uncertain about doing business with you. As a salesperson, it’s up to you to read in between the lines.
‘Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your offer. It sure sounds enticing but I don’t think your company is a good fit for us.’
Salesperson: (Talk about how your offer helps you stand out from competitors)
‘I appreciate your honesty. But, we have one of the best XYZ in the market. Even our clients acknowledge this. We can offer you a trial period at a discount, and if you like what we are offering, we can continue doing business.’
Objection #4: I like your offer, but I don’t need it right now
This is the hardest sales objection to swallow. So, a prospect has openly admitted they don’t need your products or services, and the selling window is probably shut for good.
‘To be honest, I don’t really need what you’re offering. I think I’ll pass. Thank you for your time.’
Salesperson: (Change the nature of your offer)
‘I appreciate your honesty. But, what do you think about XYZ? I believe this is more acquainted with the nature of your business, and what your clients are looking for.’
PS: If this doesn’t work, step back, learn about your clients’ preferences from competitors and completely change or repackage your offer.
A Simple Process for Overcoming Objections
The next time you’re on a sales call and there’s an objection, follow this simple, powerful process to handle objections and move the sale along.
Listen: When sellers hear an objection, their first instinct may be to address the objection immediately. They want to immediately overcome it and move forward with the close.
This, however, leaves hidden and un-voiced objections lingering beneath the surface. Instead of responding immediately, ask the buyer: “What else?” Get to the bottom of what’s really concerning them. Give them room to speak. Let silence fill the air as they ponder the question.
You may find that their first objection is not the real problem after all.
Understand: Seek to understand the objection. If you followed step one, you know many objections hide underlying issues that the buyer isn’t ready to articulate. Often the true issue is not what the buyer first tells you.
Seek to get to the heart of the objection. Use “why” questions to clarify. Questions like:
- Why do you think that?
- Why is that important?
- What caused you to have that concern?
Respond: Address the objections and concerns after you’ve uncovered and understood them. Discuss the most important one first and, if possible, work to resolve the issue immediately. If it’s an objection you need to look into, let them know the next steps you need to take and when you will get back to them.
Don’t let any objection linger longer than necessary and don’t leave any objection untouched or unaddressed.
Confirm: Work to gain commitment from the buyer on the resolution. Ask the buyer if they’re satisfied with the resolution, don’t just assume they are. Ask if there are any other concerns. Don’t move forward until all concerns have been addressed with confirmation.
Some objections require a process to overcome and there won’t be an immediate answer. If this is the case, schedule another time to continue the discussion.
This process is so powerful and effective because it solves the problem most salespeople face: they rush to overcome sales objections too quickly. Buyers don’t like that, and it puts them on the defensive. With these four steps, sales reps are more likely to earn the trust of the prospect in order to then dispel their concerns. before dispelling their concerns.
Planning Ahead for Common Objections
Think about the common objections you hear and write them down. Then ask yourself:
- How can you respond to this objection? What are the different responses or negotiation options for each situation?
- Are there any actions you can take in the future to minimize this objection? Addressing objections upfront before a buyer has a chance to articulate it can help move the sale through the process more quickly.
Thinking about objections ahead of time and practicing how you will respond will go a long way toward effectively handling and overcoming objections.
The next time you’re faced with an objection, remember to listen, understand, respond, and confirm. Follow this process and you will not only overcome objections but also win more sales.