Most sales representative spend significant time polishing their almost perfect pitch without considering what comes next. And even your almost perfect pitch may be ruined if you don’t handle it properly.
But, the good news is that if you are facing an objection during a sales call, it means you are working with key stakeholders who still have some stakes in the game, and are considering your proposal seriously. So, congratulations! And if you want to perform better, this is exactly where you want to be.
A study reveals that the negative sentiments you receive during sales calls, especially in the final stages of the sales cycle mean that the lead is wrestling internally, which by the way is a good sign as it means that your leads are considering you seriously.
Objections during sales calls are inevitable and should not be seen as something that closes the door to opportunity. As if your buyer didn’t have objections about your product or service value, price, budget, after-sales service, etc., they would have already purchased your product or service. And to successful, sales representatives must understand how to identify and resolve these objections.
What is objection handling?
When a lead raises a concern about the solution a sales representative is selling, and then the sales representative react in a way that resolves those concerns to move the deal in the forward direction is known as objection handling. A sales representative usually face objection around the price, compatibility, after-sales service, competitors, etc.
Objection handling simply means countering the buyer concern, in such a way that changes their perspective or resolve their concern.
Some of the common sales objections are;
- It’s too costly. We don’t have a budget.
- We already use a solution from another company.
- I’m satisfied with the current situation and don’t feel any need to change.
- It’s not the right time. I have to focus on other things first. Why now?
- We’re too small. We see the value in your solution; we’re just not ready yet.
Some sales representatives argue with their leads or try to push them into retreat, which by the way is not actual objection handling. Leads usually end up much more convinced than ever before of their positions. The worst part is that sales representatives may lose their trust and any rapport they have built so far with the lead.
So, Instead of saying to leads that they are wrong, enable them to reach a different conclusion of their observation. And when you just can’t persuade your leads, it is a very good sign that they are not a good fit for your solution.
It is very critical to quickly identify the difference between brush-offs and sales objections. While brush-offs are just excuses, sales objections are genuine. A brush-off is something like, I am not interested in talking to you, while sales obligations are something like, I see the value in your solution I am having second thoughts about purchasing your solution for xyz reasons. And the sales objections are way more serious that brush-offs.
Why is sales objection handling important?
Nothing is more deadly to a sales deal than allowing sales objections go unresolved until the final stages of the sales cycle. The longer the lead holds a concern, the stronger that concern commonly is and the more you will have to combat to resolve it.
So, instead of dodging sales objections, you should welcome it with open arms. Use the Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, and Respond (LEAR) model to tackle your sales objections. You can easily identify sales objections as well by periodically asking a question like the following;
- Are there any hurdles that would stop you from purchasing?
- Do you have any concerns around xyz?
- You seem worried about xyz. What are your thoughts?
- How confident do you feel you’d see success from our xyz solution, and Why?
Try to avoid reacting impulsively as much as you can to your lead objections. Instead, hear them carefully, then validate their issue by asking qualification questions, and finally respond in a meaningful way.
Give your lead the chance to explain their concern, and then repeat a summary of their concern back to them to confirm. Then try to identify the core reasons for their concern. Finally, respond with a resolution that is neutral in nature. Since you heard to the lead probed their hypothesis instead of responding with an automated response, they are usually interested to hear you out.
Making a record for all the sales objections that you receive most frequently is very helpful. Because, once you know what to expect, then you can dedicate some extra time polishing and practicing your responses. You should do role plays to get to improve your sales objection handling abilities. Get neck deep into role-playing, take turns with different sales representatives in your team acting on common sales objections, answering, and then share the feedback among each other.
Now, it’s time to handle your sales objection step-by-step. So, let’s begin;
First pause and then play:
Successful sales representative first pause whenever they get any objection from their leads during a sales call. It’s like if they go into slow motion whenever they face any sales objection. And the unsuccessful sales representatives usually interrupt the lead whenever they face objections from them.
They also tend to speak faster whenever they face any sales objection. It’s like if the sales objections make them lose their ground and feel nervous.
The research shows that during a typical sales call, the average speaking speed is 173 words per minute. But, when hit with any sales objection, unsuccessful sale representatives average speaking speed increases to an average speed up to 188 words per minute.
So, if you maintain a calm attitude towards a flurry of sales objections, you can build better trust with your lead.
And the further step won’t matter if you fail to successfully do this.
Handle objections with questions:
Successful sales representatives handle sales objections with a question, and you should too. sales objection handling situations are filled with potential misconceptions. And if you don’t provide clarity on them, you may end up addressing some other issue that may or may not be the concern of your lead. Doing this may create friction between you and your lead.
The unsuccessful sales representatives respond with a knee-jerk long and tedious speech.
The lead comes with genuine concern, and the sales representative waste their next minute steamrolling their lead. And by doing this, they don’t just open the possibilities of addressing the wrong issue, but speaking for longer streaks stink of insecurities.
So, what should ask your leads to clarify and resolve their objections? Use the mirroring tactic. So, repeat the last few words of your lead. And do so by an upward tone as it triggers your lead to be elaborative. Then pause and allow you lead to further explain their concern. Then the next stage is to ask other types of questions to further clarify their objections. Like, Can you please help me understand what’s causing XYZ concern?
Always validate before objection handling:
The average humans go through 95% of their lives feeling misunderstood. And if you are someone who can understand your lead concerns, you will hold a powerful influence over them.
Giving your leads the uncommon satisfaction of feeling understood is so critical that the sale process dedicates 33 percent of the total types of questions to “summarizing confirmation questions”. Summarizing confirmation questions are the questions that can make your lead feel understood.
If you execute this step correctly, it may be the first time in your lead’s entire life that they actually felt understood.
Isolate each objection:
Sometimes your leads words Vs the actual reason that’s stopping them from moving forward are different and are also known as smoke screen objections. Your job is to ensure you are resolving the true objection; else you will be left to deal only with the smoke. Here is an example of the question that will get your lead to raise their true objection;
Question: “If we figure out how to resolve xyz, what other concern we have to resolve before we can move forward?”
And if your lead raises other objections, the chances are that these are the actual objections you have to overcome.
Meanwhile, if they don’t have any other objections, then their first objection is the real objection. And by doing so, you have successfully isolated the objection.
Ask permission to address their objection:
Now, in this stage, your job is to neutralize your leads mind. Your core goal should be to make your lead receptive to a different way of thinking. And, without this important step, you will end up triggering resistance among your leads.
In this stage, just asking the right question is not the absolute solution, instead, it is very critical to understand what type of question to avoid, like, “can I make a quick suggestion?”, as this question quickly triggers defensiveness in your lead’s minds, and they won’t be receptive to any of your suggestions.
“Can I bounce some thoughts off your mind?”, is the right objection handling question to ask in this stage, as it neutralizes your lead’s mind and makes them feel important.
Address the objection with a reframe:
Reframing is to get your lead to see things from a different perspective. For example, Your Company sells sales software and you want your leads to pilot it. When you face an objection like, “We don’t want to start pilot until the next quarter starts. Our hands are full trying to successfully close this quarter. Right now is not a good time for us to do this”.
You can simply address this objection by reframing it like, “The deals your sales team will be having till the end of this quarter will be high-stakes and very important to convert for achieving success. And right now is the best time”.
The following questions can help you to easily identify reframe opportunities;
- Is the objection to a problem that can be reframed as an opportunity?
- Is the problem s weakness that can be reframed as strength?
- Is the objection bad timing that can be reframed as ideal timing?
Just by asking the above questions, you can have amazing reframe opportunities.
Finish with an unbiased resolution:
Don’t mislead your leads into saying what you want to hear as it causes their objection going unresolved, which kills the deal afterward. Instead, you can ask your lead the following question to zero in on the objection;
Which part of your concern do you think is left unresolved?
Objections that are buried alive don’t die; instead, they surface again after some time. So, holding on to an objection is never a good idea. It should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Most common sales objections:
Are you frustrated about losing sales deals to objections? Like, your solution is too costly, We will make the purchase if you add xyz features, or Now is not a good time, then it’s time for you get serious and prepare to resolve objections. Instead of hoping that your leads won’t throw objections at you, prepare yourself to address objection and provide a resolution for it.
Now that you know what is objection handling, why it is important is and the best step-by-step process to resolve it, let’s discuss the most common sales objections.
It is too costly:
Objection about the price is the most sales objection and are even raised by the leads that have a genuine intention of buying your solution. Be careful while dealing with objections that are about the pricing as the moment you begin focusing on the pricing as a selling point, you degrade yourself to a common transactional middleman. So, circle back to your solution core value and then address this objection.
Even though, when a lead says they are concerned about the pricing as its too high, the objection isn’t always about the pricing. And in many situations, even they have sufficient budget for your solution, but you failed to show significant value to justify your solution pricing.
In many cases, the objection is not about the pricing or the value of your solution. Sometimes your lead just uses the pricing objection to hide their actual objection. Then the first thing you should do is to validate this objection.
We don’t have any budget left this quarter:
It is another variation of the pricing objection. Here, your lead is telling you that they are having money problems. And if there’s a serious issue, it needs to get resolved sooner or later. The sooner you resolve it, the better. So, either help your lead secure significant budget from their senior executives to buy your solution now or schedule a follow-up call/meeting for when they expect to get a fresh budget.
We are planning to spend that budget somewhere else:
Leads sometimes try to designate their budgets for some other purpose. And it is your part of the job is to make your solution high priority investment that deserves the budget allocation right now. So, send the case studies of your previous customer that were in similar situations and saved a lot of money, improved their efficiency, or grew their ROI with your solution.
We will purchase soon:
It is another good example of objections with good intention. Your lead may be interested you buy your solution next week, but something else comes up. And this week becomes next month, and then the next month becomes the next quarter, and so on.
When a lead tells you that, they are planning to buy your solution sometime soon. It is your job to identify any underlying issue that can sabotage the deal. If in the scenario when there’s an underlying issue, build an action plan to deal with this issue. And when there’s no underlying issue, then use the “reframe” technique (already explained in this blog) to resolve this objective.
We don’t want to get stuck in a contract:
A lead with real requirement and interest who hesitates at time-based contract terms is usually unsure because of monetary problems. Luckily, there are several resolutions for this objection. Figure out if you can provide them with the option of monthly or quarterly payments instead of requesting for an annual payment up front.
We don’t understand your solution:
When your lead literally cannot wrap their mind around your solution, it’s a really bad sign. And if your solution complicated in a specific way or specialized, it may be a good time to disqualify your lead as they may churn after few months from the purchase.
Although, never give up instantly. First, try to zero in on the exact problem. So, ask your lead what part of your solution is unclear to them, and then try addressing this problem through a different perspective. Parallelly, bring a solution engineer, or technician to address questions that are out of your breath and depth.
You don’t understand our business:
If you sell your solution in a specific industry, the chances are you do know a bit or more about your lead’s business. So, tell them that you have some experience working with a similar company, and most importantly that you have resolved similar problems in the past.
And if you sometimes make a wrong assumption about your lead’s business or their industry, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. Your leads may like you for being candid. You can say something like, “Sorry, I assumed XYZ was real, but it appears that xyz doesn’t apply to you. Can you please tell me more about xyz?”
Your solution is not compatible with our existing tools or set-up:
These types of objections can be a major deal-breaker if the lead is committed to their existing tools. However, sometimes your solution might replace these tools or set-up, or make them obsolete. You should consider a workaround as well.
To zero in on this, ask the following questions to your lead;
- Which tools or set-up are you using?
- How important are those tools or set-up to your business?
- What do you accomplish with those tools or set-up?
We are already using a solution from company xyz:
A lead that has been using a solution from your competitor is a blessing in disguise. As they have realized a need and identified your solution for it, so much of the warm-up and education, otherwise you would have been responsible for has already been done by your competitor. Now, you can utilize your time addressing the one thing which otherwise you would have to hold off, on with a lead that still has not yet recognized their own pain, which is to talk more about your solution.
Never assume that just because a lead is currently working with one of your competitors doesn’t always mean that they are happy with them. Light up your curiosity and probe into their relationship. And find out, why did they purchase their solution, what’s not working well? , what’s working well? Pay attention to poor reviews and complaints of your competitor solution that could be resolved by your solution.
So, the next time you are frustrated by your lead’s objection. Just remember, any sales representative can sell to eager leads. Successful sales representatives exist and arm themselves for the difficult leads those who throw several objections at you. That why objection handling is the most important skill for a sales representative.