Sales objections are a common occurrence, even with the best pitch out there you can still get “NO” for an answer. There are several reasons for that, related to price, trust, and a product.
Let’s learn how to handle the sales objections. After you read this article, overcoming objections is going to be a piece of cake for you.
“Treat objections as requests for further information.” – Brian Tracy
Table of contents:
- What is a sales objection
- General rules to handle any sales objection
- Your product is too expensive!
- Brush-off – e-mail me more information.
- We have a deal with your competitor.
- Other companies offer more than you
- Dealing with a gatekeeper
- Gain the access to decision-makers
- Sometimes customer is busy, wait for your opportunity
- “We have more important expenses now”
- Work hard to earn the trust
What is a sales objection?
It’s an issue or a problem that stops a prospect from buying your product or service. It’s communicated during calls or meetings. The objection is not rejection, more often is a request on the prospect’s part to clarify misunderstanding or offer more value.
It’s crucial to be prepared; the prospect will give you only a few minutes to react to the objection.
Purpose of this guide is to familiarize you with the most common sales objections and bullet-proof ways to handle them. Keep reading and handle any sales objection like a pro!
General rules to handle any sales objection
Inexperienced salespeople can be tempted to respond to objections immediately. This mistake can cost you a deal. Give the prospect your full attention and listen carefully to the whole objection. If something is not clear, ask for details.
Sales objection is not personal, so don’t treat it this way. Restrain yourself from acting defensively and focus on controlling negative emotions.
As humans, we have opinions, biases, and anticipations. Try to not listen to them, instead actually listen to the prospect’s concerns.
Let’s make one thing clear; some sales objections are excuses or facades to hide real reasons. It’s the job of the salesperson to get to the bottom of a problem.
How can you achieve that? By asking open questions and letting the prospect speak. If something is unclear, ask more questions. Don’t assume you know the problem beforehand. Every prospect is different, comes from different backgrounds, companies and has different needs.
It’s crucial not only to listen and understand the objection but also to respond to it adequately. You just have a few minutes, so preparation is key. Read this guide to learn about the most common sales objections and ways to overcome them like a pro.
Following those four rules will give you the tools to handle any sales objection. Turn every “NO!”, “I don’t know”, and “Maybe” into “YES!”
When you have identified and responded to the objection, don’t forget to confirm with a prospect if you have satisfied his objection. The more clarity there is, the more likely you will close that deal.
OK, let’s count down the 9 most common sales objections and the ways to handle them.
1. Your product is too expensive!
It’s the most common sales objection, every salesperson heard it before. But when prospects say that the price is too high, it’s not always about money.
What is it about then? What causes this sales objection?
There are actually three reasons that can be the underlying cause of this sales objection.
Price – not enough value
Never oversell your product, tailor value offer to prospects. Customer research and gathering feedback are a part of the sales process. If your pitch is not perfect, if you don’t understand the customer’s problems and frustration, you may inefficiently present your value.
- Research – gather all information you can find about your prospects, including demographic data, channels of distribution, channels they use to collect data. The more you know, the more prepared you are.
- Feedback – even if you didn’t make a sale, use that as an opportunity to gather feedback from the prospect. Ask about opinions regarding your product, competitors’ gaps, and customer service. Prospects and customers are valuable assets when it comes to handling objections in sales and perfecting your pitch.
Some prospects want a discount on everything. They shout “DISCOUNT!” before you open your mouth.
Is there a way to handle this sales objection? They are two ways to handle objection like that.
First of all, you have to understand that a discount is something you can offer to newcomers or your loyal customers. However, it’s not an option that can be demanded.
Offering discounts can be harmful to your company, and it’s not about money. It leaves the impression that you overpriced your product if you offer discounts easily. Explain in detail what value customer gains at a given price. Underline key features and problems they can solve for the customer.
“Sure, we have discounted option for [insert lower price] without features [insert 2-3 features, not key ones, but still valuable], it’s a great idea if you want to lower the price.”
Humans are funny creatures; we value loss over gains. Your prospect will forget about the discount; he is going to focus on those features. You are introducing a feeling of loss; this is something that people don’t like to deal with and are willing to pay more to get rid of that sensation. Try this way to handling objection this way is highly effective.
It’s not the price, it is …
Price works as a great excuse for some customers, and inexperienced salesperson often falls for that. Meanwhile, the experienced salesperson is handling objections by asking more question to determine what is the actual reason.
“If a price was not an issue, would our product fit your needs?”
“We offer interesting discount options and loyalty programs; maybe we can work around price problem?
“In a few weeks, we are going to offer a holiday discount for new customers, can I reach out to you then? Can we schedule a call?
Customers will likely get into a conversation, and you may be able to uncover the actual reason behind this sales objection.
How can you handle price objection?
Price sales objection (not enough value) – focus on research and feedback to tailor your pitch to every potential customer.
Greedy customer objection (“give me a discount!”) – offer the product at a lower price but with fewer features.
Price as an excuse – determine what is the real cause of objection, dig a little deeper.
2. Brush-off – e-mail me more information.
This sales objection is tricky; it doesn’t have to mean NO. If you hear it before you had a chance to pitch, well it means no. Prospect is not interested, can be busy or not in a great mood that day.
How to handle this sales objection? Try to salvage the situation by asking the prospect about follow-up.
“I can see you are pretty busy right now. Give me 30 seconds to explain, how we could help with [insert a problem your product solves], and you will decide if we can schedule a call at the later time?”
This way you have a chance to get a later appointment and present your company as an understanding and valuable partner.
In some situations, you are going to hear this sales objection after your value proposition, but before qualification. Prospect can be interested, or your pitch was off the point. How to deal with this objection?
“Happy to send you more information about our product, do you mind if I ask few short questions to assess your needs better and tailor our offer to you directly?”
By asking questions, you can present how serious your company is about a customer and delivering the best solutions. Even if your pitch is not perfect for this prospect, you are going to leave a good impression for the future.
You can find yourself in a situation, where the customer decides he wants more information after qualification. If your company has a demo service, offer it to the customers. Explain how seeing your product in action can present additional value to the prospect. This way you won’t make a sale. However, you are going to get yourself another try at a demo appointment.
Is there a way to handle those common sales objections?
Before pitch – try to quickly present value and reschedule a call at a different time.
Before qualification – emphasize that to provide the high-quality solution you want to gather data before sending more information.
After qualification – try to turn an e-mail into the demo.
3. We have a deal with your competitor.
Changes bring chaos, none like that. So instead of proposing a switch, ask your prospect if you can present your solutions. Emphasize that you have customers that work or were working with competitors.
There is no perfect deal, by getting that demo you can persuade your prospect to switch to your company based on your product value and solutions.
Research your competitors to point out the feature gaps and added value you can offer. If you can present a better match, even those prospects who are not into “fixing what isn’t broken” may be interested in your offer.
Find that one feature or value that makes you more fitted for that customer to handle his objections.
4. Other companies offer more than you
Of course, most companies, especially big ones prefer to work with established service or product providers. A startup can present too much risk to be worth the time.
Is there any way to handle that common sales objection?
If you are a salesperson for smaller company or startup, you have an ace up your sleeve. You have to play it right. What is that ace that is going to help handle sales objection?
The answer is pretty simple. By industry standards, your prospect is one of hundreds or even thousands of clients. You can provide unique features that are hard to come by in big corporations.
- innovative product.
- quality always beats quantity.
- personalized service focused on your customer needs.
- the ability to react quickly, any change takes time in a corporation setting, with a lot of decision-makers involved.
To handle that sales objection, play your cards right! You are smaller, but that only means more mobility, passion, and innovation.
5. Dealing with a gatekeeper
Purchasing managers and executives are busy people. They don’t have time to deal with cold calls daily. For that reason, there is usually a gatekeeper, trusted assistant, or office worker. Imagine Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Greek god of Underworld, Hades. Well, now you have the idea.
How to check if you are dealing with the gatekeeper?
- dodging your phone calls
- needs approval for decisions
- takes a while to get back to you
- gives uncertain answers about budget and priorities
So, do you have to fight Cerberus to handle this sales objection?
You are in luck; it’s enough to tame gatekeepers, they can become your allies. Establish a relationship, don’t push on sales, try to present value and solutions to problems. Use gatekeeper as a source of information, ask about feedback and frustrations.
If you gain gatekeeper’s trust, they will be your heralds, and you can get access to decision-makers in no time.
Don’t treat gatekeepers as enemies, tame them and they will become your allies.
6. Gain the access to decision-makers
The experienced salesperson knows that you only make a pitch to decision-makers. During your prospect research, you need to establish key decision-makers and contact them.
You don’t have to handle this sales objection, in fact, you can stop it from happening by thoroughly researching your prospects. Make sure that you can gather all stakeholders at a value proposal meeting.
In big corporations and organizations, it’s harder to reach all stakeholders. There is a need to schedule a meeting with many busy people. It might prove more useful to score an appointment with the high-rank executive.
- Monday is the worst day for contacts.
- 8-9AM and 4-6PM is the best time to call a prospect.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to contact a lead.
- Use lunch time for lunch; it’s not adequate time to call prospects.
Gather all decision-makers before you make your pitch.
7. Sometimes customer is busy, wait for your opportunity
One of the most common sales objection you can hear is “I don’t have time right now.” The worst way to handle this objection is trying to push the sale still.
Purchase managers are busy people, respect that.
The best way to handle this objection is to empathize with the prospect.
“I hear you, Mr. X, Thursdays are crazy, right? Would it be ok for us to reschedule a call at a different time? I’m convinced that our product can help solve your time shortage.”
You were kind and respectful, based on the rule of reciprocation prospect is going to at least consider hearing you out.
Don’t push the deal, try to empathize with a prospect and reschedule.
8. “We have more important expenses now”
This objection is similar to the price objection. Either you didn’t research your prospect enough, and your pitch is not fitting to customer needs, or budget is just an excuse.
In the first case try to salvage the situation by gathering feedback.
There is a third option. Your prospect has an actual budget problem. Try to establish what is it, do they need more time? Maybe you can offer a flexible payment plan?
“I’m not asking you to buy right now; we are more interested in learning about your problems and offering a solution. I think we can make a valuable impact on your organization’s revenue. Can we schedule follow up call or appointment so that I can present you with our solutions?”
Take charge of the situation, determine the real cause of sales objection.
Don’t push for a sale, establishing a relationship can bear fruits later.
9. Work hard to earn the trust
We like what we know. In our busy, fast-paced world we tend to go with what we already know to save time. Make sure your business has well established online and social media presence. It’s crucial to be present in channels used by your prospects.
Make yourself known by offering high-quality content for free. Articles, know-hows, webinars can attract prospects and make them familiar with your brand.
Be always well-prepared for the call. To achieve that in a productive way, use software that covers CRM (customer relationship management). Channels is a great example of it.
Make your brand and product known. Don’t push for sales until you have established an online presence.
Sales are a stressful and frustrating job, no way to deny that. However, sales are also rewarding and challenging. It’s important to separate your emotions from the prospect’s objections. It’s not personal, the prospects are not being mean, they just want to clarify problems and get a better offer.
Not every sales objection can be handled. However, all should be listened to, understood and replied. With our step-by-step guide, you gained knowledge about the most common sales objections. You also have techniques to handle them. Now go and fight sales objection like a PRO you are!