If the process of selling was filled exclusively with ‘Yes! I can’t wait to put all my money into your product!’ and ‘Wow! This sounds exactly like the product for me. Shut up and take my money!’, anyone could be a sales rep.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of prospects are like that. The majority of them are significantly less eager to convert into customers and require convincing before they make a decision. That’s why a sales rep’s journey consists predominantly of sales objections and the responses that help to overcome them.
In this article, we tell you everything about what a sales objection is and how to overcome it.
What is a sales objection?
A sales objection is an issue that a prospect communicates to the sales rep talking to them as the reason that stops them from purchasing the product or service offered.
It’s important to view sales objections as an opportunity to identify misconceptions about a product or service, as opposed to treating them as a hard ‘no’ to the offer. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a stagnant pipeline.
How to overcome sales objections.
If you want to close more deals, you need to make sure you minimise the number of sales objections and successfully deflect all of them. Here are some of the key tactics and techniques to use when handling sales objections.
Be prepared for objections.
It’s very unlikely that every prospect you reach out to will be waiting for your offer with their chequebook ready. You need to stay realistic and anticipate objections, rather than let them come into the picture later on. The longer the objection remains unaddressed, the more serious of a reason to turn down the offer it becomes in the eyes of the prospect.
You need to have a game plan for sales objection handling...
- Compile a list of the objections your prospects may have.
- Discuss your list of objections at team meetings to ensure everybody is on the same page.
- Prepare prompts to respond to those objections.
Make sure you clarify the objection.
You don’t want to put up any speed bumps and hinder deal closure. While eager salespeople are the drivers of business’ success, everything’s good in moderation. That’s why you should stay away from…
- Answering unasked questions.
- Pitching unwanted features and benefits.
- Misaligning your solution to their pains or use-case.
- Saying anything that creates unnecessary risk in the prospect’s mind.
If you don’t quite understand the nature of the objection you’re faced with, it’s best to clarify what the prospect actually means. Otherwise, you can push the wrong buttons and trigger other sales objections that weren’t there in the first place.
💬 "Am I right that [your objection assumption]?’"
💬 "Please, could you explain why you believe [the objection]?"
💬 "I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that. Perhaps, we could discuss it in detail?"
Validate your prospects' concerns.
Actively listen, understand and react to the objections you receive. Don’t discard your prospects’ concerns just because you believe they aren’t justified. Instead, you should tune into the conversation and address those. Here are a couple of things that will show your prospect that they’ve been heard...
💬"I totally hear that!"
💬 "Yes, I understand your point. But let’s discuss it a bit more so you could have a better idea of what I’m talking about."
💬 "Yep, you’re not the first person to say that to me."
💬 "I can certainly understand and appreciate that."
💬 "Believe me, I’ve heard it before. Let’s take a minute and talk about."
Don’t get aggressive or defensive. You need to remain calm and polite whenever communicating with your prospects. Ideally, you should revise the language you use when handling sales objections and make sure you only turn to assertive yet calm words.
Compare these two responses. Which one would receive a better reaction from you?
❌ "You don’t have enough experience to understand how valuable of an offer I’m making to you. Perhaps, if you cared more about the future of your company, you’d appreciate my email. Now, let me tell you about [product] again."
✅ "I understand and appreciate your concerns. In fact, we’ve had several clients worry about it, too. [Client X] said the same, and now they’re using [our service] in [ways A, B, and C]. They love it! Let me tell you how it can improve [area]."
Not sure about you, but if the email on the left hit my inbox, the sender would go straight to the spam folder. Phew, how disrespectful!
Suggested read: 34 ready-made sales objection responses
Make use of social proof.
People trust other people - you can use it to your advantage.
Your collection of case studies and testimonials is the best way to convince difficult prospects that your offer is valuable. Use real-life examples to show how your product/ service helps businesses succeed. Just make sure your examples are relevant. If you have a prospect from the education industry, don’t hit them with a quotation from a Manufacturing Sales Executive.
We reached out to a real estate agent and offered them to try out NetHunt. Here’s their response…
Real estate prospect: "I don’t think I need your product. I’m a real estate agent working on my own, so I don’t really need any fancy software to manage my business. It’s a waste of money, and I don’t see how it can benefit me."
It’s a classic lack of need sales objection to with social proof. NetHunt CRM is a proven sales-focused CRM for real estate. We have history of helping realtors grow their business. Use a case study of a business similar to that of the prospect’s to explain to them how they can benefit from purchasing the CRM solution...
- Explain why real estate businesses need a CRM.
- Show a video success story of a past, similar client.
- Mention must-have, industry-specific features.
Focus on improving prospecting.
According to a study conducted by HubSpot, prospecting is the hardest part of the sales process. Over 40% of salespeople find it extremely challenging to prospect the right people, with closing (36%) and qualifying (22%) being close second and third.
If you face a lot of objections, it could be that your prospecting isn’t good enough. You need to focus on levelling it up so that you could deliver your offer to the people who’re more likely to accept it. Consider your prospect’s business environment and the drivers that affect their purchase making decisions; conduct both customer-centric, industry and market-based research...
- What do you believe is of value to this particular prospect? Why?
- What are the internal and external factors influencing their decisions?
- What are the business workflows of your prospects?
- Who are your competitors and what do they offer?
Get rid of the ‘objection handling’ mindset.
If you want fewer sales objections, you need to get out of the traditional ‘objection handling’ mindset. Instead of automatically defining ‘no’s as professional failures that discourage you from any subsequent sales work, you need to learn how to accept them and work through them with your prospect.
Furthermore, stop treating objections as a bad thing. Sales objections are an opportunity, especially if you approach them like one.
- Objections are a sign of engagement.
- Objections tell you more about the buyer’s disposition.
- Objections offer an opportunity to respond.
- Objections let you clear up the air in case of misconceptions.
Don’t treat objection handling as a debate
First of all, sales objection handling isn’t a debate. You shouldn’t spend ages trying to rack up stats and arguments to completely destroy your opponent. Because your prospect isn’t ‘the other side’. By putting yourself in the fight or flight mode, you’re automatically presenting yourself in a bad light. No one wants bad vibes, man.
You should focus on having a conversation instead. Listen to the concerns your prospect is voicing, validate their feelings, react to them and just let it be human, not a series of canned responses.
Don’t give up too early.
80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.
Source: The Bevet Group
Instead of calling it quits immediately after you’re faced with an objection, focus on keeping the conversation going. It’s all about continuity. Even if it feels like the prospect is done with you, you should still follow up to stay in touch with them.
Ask open-ended questions, where leads can't simply give yes-no answers. Get them talking, keep them engaged, and build a relationship. Besides, by asking open-ended questions you get more thoughts on your product and learn the actual views of prospects. Use this information for their, and future, objections.
Be on your prospect’s side.
People are naturally more susceptible to those they see as allies. In fact, as much as 79% of customers prefer salespeople who act as advisors.
The last thing you want to happen is for your prospect to feel like you’re being hostile towards them. Don’t let it be me vs. you. Instead, shift the conversation towards me and you vs. the problem you’re facing.
Remember that some objections can’t be eliminated.
Not all prospects are bound to convert into leads and then into paying customers. Sometimes, a ‘no’ is a ‘no’ for real. You need to understand and accept it. Don’t dwell on that too much - learn your lesson and part your ways on a positive note.
Here are a couple of key things to consider when deciding on whether or not you should proceed with sales objection handling...
- It lowers your sales velocity. If you feel that the sale might be dragging on for too long, extending the average length of your sales cycle, it’s best to drop the conversation.
- You’re losing other prospects and leads in the pipeline. If other deals are slipping out of the sales pipeline because you’re focused on converting a difficult prospect, think if they’re worth it.
- You’re compromising too much. It’s okay to alter your offer a little to meet the needs of your prospect. However, if they’re pushing you to compromise more than you can, call it quits.
At the end of the day, if you believe in your product then there are no sales objections too large to overcome. Besides, if we didn't have objections... you wouldn't have much of a job as a salesperson now, would you?
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