Today’s buyers are more discerning than ever. They have knowledge about competitors’ products and services at their fingertips, which means it’s critical that your salespeople are able to overcome sales objections quickly and confidently.
What Objection Handling Is—and Isn’t
Objection handling means responding to the client or prospect in a way that changes their perspective or alleviates their concerns. It’s not about tricking a buyer or persuading them to purchase something they don’t need.
Many times, objections come from a place of buyer insecurity. Buyers have been tasked with making an important decision, and they want to be sure they get it right—and choose the product or solution that makes them look good.
It’s your sales reps’ job to bring value to a decision maker, and help them make the decisions that are best for them and their company. By reminding your salespeople of this, they can feel more confident responding to the most common sales objections they might receive.
The Most Common Types of Objections in Sales and Strategies to Overcome Them
Price objections are probably one of the most common types of objections your sales reps will encounter in a sales conversation. It’s a fact of sales life, so your salespeople must anticipate that a buyer will often have an initial objection to the price they give.
How to overcome price-based objections:
The key here is for your salespeople to be skilled at presenting price, so that they don’t unintentionally invite buyers to beat them up on it. Your sales reps should focus on building value based on the buyer’s unique wants and needs, and then present price bundled with the benefits the prospect will receive.
If the decision maker still objects, the salesperson can suggest removing sections of the offering in order to reduce the price. In most cases, the buyer won’t want to give up the benefits, and will somehow find room in the budget for the complete offering
Remind your reps that often the reason a buyer questions or pushes back on price is simply because it’s a part of their decision-making process.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time and effort with a contact who is not in the position to make a purchasing decision. No one wants to hear “I’ll have to run it by my manager,” after they’ve spent time preparing and presenting.
How to overcome authority-based objections:
To avoid this frustrating scenario from the beginning, your reps should determine if the person they are dealing with has the final say in the decision-making process. Early conversations should include the following two questions:
- “Who else, other than you of course, will be involved in the buying decision?”
- “Could you describe for me the process you will be using to make this decision?”
The goal here is to understand the contact’s purchasing power, and to map out the buyer's journey and the organization’s decision-making unit. If your sales rep uncovers that their contact is not in fact a decision-maker, they should work to turn them into an internal advocate who can guide them through the organization and the purchasing committee.
A prospect who’s already working with one of your competitors may not immediately see the need to change. This can be less about them being fully satisfied with their current setup or solution, and more about complacency—or even a fear of change.
How to overcome need-based objections:
In this situation, your sales reps must quickly identify the prospect’s priorities, and determine if there are any weaknesses in the current provider’s offerings.
Your salesperson can ask:
“If you don’t mind my asking, if you could change, modify, alter, or improve anything at all about your current supplier, what would it be?”
Your rep can then use the 3-deep questioning strategy to ask follow-up questions. The goal is to determine if there’s any single issue that’s less than 100% satisfactory to the prospect, and approach from this angle (as long as your product or service is capable of fulfilling the priority.)
If the potential customer objects with “we’re too busy right now” (or something along those lines) it could mean one of two things:
- They are interested in your solution, but legitimately too busy to implement a new product or service right now, or
- They’re trying to brush you off.
How to overcome timeline-based objections:
Coach your salespeople to ask open-ended questions to understand if the prospect is actually qualified. If they are, see if your rep can help simplify the buying process in any way. Maybe that’s by offering to send over an RFP template or a business case for your product or service that the contact can easily share with the rest of the buying team.
If it’s simply a matter of timing, your salesperson should be sure to set a meeting time for a follow-up and send along any helpful resources in the meantime to continue to build value and stay on your prospect’s radar.
Overcome Sales Objections Before They Are Raised
Objections are a fact of sales life, so your salespeople must anticipate that a buyer will often have some pushback.
Coach your reps to prepare answers to common objections they've received during their pre-call planning process.
In addition, your reps can use the questioning process and active listening skills to uncover any hesitations a prospect or customer might have. Getting these out in the open early on allows the rep to address the hesitations before they become full-blown objections.
Read more about sales techniques for handling price objections in this blog post.
If your salespeople are following a consultative and buyer-focused sales process, they’ll ideally be addressing any objections before they even come up. It’s always a good idea, however, to be prepared for the most common concerns and the most effective ways to address them.
Coach your salespeople to spend time upfront questioning prospects and uncovering all of their wants and needs, which will help them get to the core of any sales objections that do come up later.
Whether it’s learning a standardized selling process, improving negotiation skills, or learning to create detailed business development plants, The Brooks Group can deliver a customized, interactive training that’s a great opportunity for your Annual Sales Meeting. Learn More.
Published on September 12, 2017