Objection Handling: No One Dares To Talk About

Objection handling training is a must. Every prospect you speak to has sales objections, or reasons they’re hesitant to buy your product. Why are sales objections unavoidable?

Because if the prospect didn’t have reservations about your solution’s price, value, relevance to their situation, or their purchasing ability, they would have already bought it.

As per LinkedIn post by Sarah Brazier an actress and current SDR at Gong.io that she mentioned how hard was to handle clients objections as a young sales representative.

To be successful, reps must learn how to both discover and resolve prospects objections.

What objection handling actually is?

Objection handling means taking prospect worries and solving them in a way that changes their mind or ease their concerns.

There are a lot of sales reps that try to argue their way through prospects or try to make them back down — but this far from actual objection handling. In such scenario your Prospects will end up building upon their concerns and standing firm over their position; it is even worse, sales reps will lose credibility, trust and rapport the have struggled to build.

Do not tell your Prospect he was wrong, try to come up with a different conclusion to the things that disturb them. When you will fail to change their mind you need to be aware that they might be right and your arguments are not that strong or it would be a sign that they are a poor fit for your Company.

Is this objection or rejection?

There is a thin fine line between sales objections and rejections. While objections will be a platform for discussion, rejections are just excuses. Think of an objection as a grey area prepared by the Prospect when he indicates a genuine interest in your product, but he is now willing to purchase it yet because he has some concerns, while rejection translates to, “I don’t want to talk to you.” Objections are the ones that you want to work on. The kind of no, to be turned into a yes.

Why Objection Handling is Important?

It’s very likely that you might endanger your deal during final stages if you let go prospects objections unattended. The longer the prospect holds an opinion, the stronger that opinion get — and in the end it is harder to handle his objections. Not to mention situation when you are almost closing a deal and the prospects objections explode into your face like a live grenade.

Having this in mind you need to embrace objections and definitely not avoid them. You should always proactively seek a way to probe the prospect by asking questions like:

  • “Do you have any concerns regarding …?”
  • “Is there anything that would stop us from finalizing a this deal?”
  • “How confident do you feel you’d see success from…. and why? “
  • “I can see that you are still worried about … What are your thoughts?”

Types of objections

There are few common objections that you might come across. It is very important to study.

Objection handling About Price and Budget

The most common objection raised by the client who did not understand the difference between your product and your competition. You must be aware that they are dozens of products and services on the market that are very alike – that is why, great sales rep needs to focus on creating the void between you and the competitor. The value proposition needs to be presented and discussed. On the other hand your product could be unique on the market, there is no other – then pricing objection could come up when the prospect doesn’t understand what the value proposition is, so your sales rep needs to show him the true value of the product and try to quantify it.

Do not let your sales reps fight with prices – this is the war you will lose.

The most common objection in this area would be

  • It is too expensive – which indicates that the prospect doesn’t understand the difference between you and the competitor;
  • There is no money – another one that point to not understanding the product and maybe lack of product fit (go back to the qualification sheet and check again if there is a prospect need);
  • The contract is too long, we can’t afford it – this is a genuine concern about the commitment and lack of a budget for the whole cycle. Most probably you can propose instalments or more extensive demo to create the value behind the product for the investor to sign.

Objection handling About the Competition

This one is fairly easy and indicates if the whole team did a good job on moving the prospect through the sales pipeline. Usually you will have competitors, but it is your job to make the prospect understand that there is only one solution he should take into consideration and he should not judge upon the unit price.

objection handling

The most common objection in this area would be:

  • We already have a contract with X vendor – obviously there is a product or service in place. It is an amazing opportunity as the prospect already knows that they need your product or service – so there is no need to start from scratch. The only thing that you need to work on is the value that you can provide over your competitor. Remember that you are already in the talks so there is a high probability that your prospect is not satisfied with current vendor.

Know your competition inside-out – use battle cards

  • I can get a cheaper version of your product somewhere else – this is the power play about the price. Is this the right type of customer for you if he is only interested in basic features – as he clearly does not understand the benefits which he will get with you. Try to circle around and go through the elements that are the most important for the prospect today and tomorrow – and if he still does not see the value – sometimes you also have to let it go.

Objection handling About Authority or Ability to Buy

Clearly you have been talking to a soldier. A person who is burden with responsibility to gather sales materials, offers and have first brief discussion. In sales world, we call it prospecting – so be easy on that person – it is a tough job. You could gain authority and become friends but clearly you need to work on your network a bit higher up the latter.

The most common objection in this area would be:

  • I’m not authorised to sign off on this purchase – this is a relatively easy objection to overcome. Ask the prospect about the name of the person that can make this happen, phone number, email address and definitely you need to ask for a warm introduction. Remember that you have to be respectful to the person you worked with – it is your ambassador. The problem that might occur is that you might have to do an additional round of product showcase and value proposition discussion with the authority.
  • There’s too much going on right now – usually there is, so please do ask your prospect to define what you are competing with. If they can’t, it’s likely a soft rejection and you should circle around on what is the main reason of it. Maybe you did not do a great job in previous stages of the pipeline. If they will provide you with concrete answers, great. Set a follow up meeting and send over helpful resources in the meantime to stay on your prospect’s radar. Try to seed more value before you will engage in the purchase process again.

Objection handling About Need and Fit

This is one of the basic ones. Usually it falls on a fairly new company or innovative product. It is very hard to make your way through without the proper authority, but there are some ways you can build your credibility. There additional steps that you and your marketing team should make before reaching out to the prospect. You should work on your brand awareness. This way customer will have an idea of who you are and what you do despite the fact that he never worked with you before.

The most common objection in this area would be:

  • I’ve never heard of your company – as mentioned in the intro. If the discussion continues this is a call to action. Prospect demands additional information, as he clearly doesn’t know you. Be prepared as this will be the pitch that you need to know by heart. If he already made an effort to speak with without the knowledge who you are – this is a clear sign that you managed to ignite a spark of rapport. Use it as it will not last long.

It is good to work hand in hand with marketing to build your brand awareness

  • The X problem isn’t important right now – sometimes, a simple “Really?” will be enough for your prospect to start talking. On the other hand, maybe your product is too complicated for the prospect to correlate it to the right category. Listen closely for his reasons why there is a low priority versus competing issues. Keep in mind that making excuses can be a sign that your prospect understands they have a problem and is trying to rationalise their inaction. Leverage this fact and try to install sense of urgency.
  • We don’t have capacity and resources to implement the product – this objection can be a deal-breaker. It highly depends on many factors, like what is the product that you sell and the other tools that their are using. It is a kind of positive objection as this answer is usually really well thought through – so the prospect understands what you can provide. Problem might be in the ROI. Is your product well priced with this customer, will it generate a positive ROI? If yes, there should be no issue in getting resources. Think about it. If you will notice that the ROI might be negative, come up with an idea how to lower the preassure on the prospect and put it on your company. In long term – problem solving label will gain you new revenue and new customers. Another tactic that I would not advise is to assess your prospect’s current duties and day-to-day to see what job responsibilities could potentially be eliminated or made easier by your product. Do not do it unless you have a great relationship established with your prospect.

Objection handling that Are Actually rejections

This kind of objections are the most interesting ones. Because it shows the true value of a great preparation. This stage should start when you are building your prospect list. Why this prospect landed on the list in the first place? Was there a good reason to that? Do you have any insights about this company? You see a great fit when others can’t? Amazing – you are half way done then. Use your skills, preparation and insights to over come rejections.

objection handling
  • Phone *Click.* – we all have been there. Prospect hears your intro and hangs up. Now there are several ways you could handle it. You do not know if they hang up on you or the connection was broken on that inconvenient moment. It is up to you but next try needs to be perfectly planned. You could try to reach out to a different person at the company using a different approach. Or if this is the best person you should talk to in the company you can give it another go. Wait a few seconds, then call back and say, “Sorry, looks like we got disconnected! Do you have a few minutes?” What comes after is up to your preparation. You need to engage the prospect into a discussion about their company. Bring a specific fact from last week and how your product and service can help. Try to make the prospect intrigued. Which approach you choose is purely dependent on you , your research and previous interactions.

Do not get your self off your horse to easy

  • Just send me some information – the most common of them all. The one type of rejection that comes very easy to say by every prospect. But this is the trap that they set on themselves. And they do not know what is coming. Just Say, I’d be happy to send you some materials, but I want to make sure that they’re relevant to you. What are you interested in learning about? This way you end up with the conversation that the prospect wanted to avoid. Or you get a true rejection which also helps you to save some time on sending presentations and follow up calls that never go through.

7 Tricks To Objection Handling

#1 Pause, Speak with Calm Authority

Consider this: In a typical sales conversation, average talking speed is 173 words per minute. But when flustered by an objection, a bad sales rep will speed up to 188 words per minute.

Successful reps pause after objections. In fact, they pause for longer after an objection than during other parts of a sales call. It’s as if objections trigger them into slow motion. By contrast, unsuccessful reps often interrupt the customer upon receiving an objection. They pounce on objections, getting all riled up. They also speak faster after hearing an objection. It’s as if objections make them nervous.

Top producers slow it down.

If you maintain a calm under the pressure of objections, you’ll build trust with your customer. The rest of the steps won’t matter if you can’t do that.

#2 Clarify With Questions

Successful salespeople respond to objections with a question. Objection scenarios are planted with potential misunderstandings. If you don’t clarify them, you might end up trying to address the wrong issue. Doing so  you will create friction and confusion in prospect ranks. In case of low performers: they react with a meaningless monologue trying to talk they way through.

The customer brings up a valid concern, and the sales rep spends the next minute talking shallow nonsense. Not only do they often address the wrong issue, but talking for long creates the sense of insecurity. Everyone sees that immediately, so forget about it.

What question should you ask to clarify objections?

The first one is called mirroringThis tactic is from Chris Voss in his book Never Split the Difference.

Here’s how it works: Repeat the last few words of your prospect sentence. And do it with an upward voice tone (like you’re asking a question). It triggers your prospect to elaborate.

The key is to PAUSE and let your prospect further explain.

This way you buy yourself a bit of time and the prospect has a chance to feed you with additional information.

Don’t ask the “why?” question when clarifying objections. “Why” doesn’t clarify. It’s a threatening question that questions the validity of the prospect objection. It puts your folk on the defensive position.

That leads us to the second type of question you can use to clarify objections.

Can you help me understand what’s causing your worries?

Notice this question asks “why” without laying the load on the word “why.”

To sum up, overcoming an objection should come layer after layer. You need to ask few additional clarifying questions before you will arrive at the bottom, the core of the prospect concern.

#3 Validate the Objection

So you have been behaving well, not putting your prospect into defence mode. You also clarified his objection to the moment you know how to counter-react.

objection handling

Now it is time to validate the objection.

It is not a secret that people in 95% of their lives feel misunderstood. That is a great information because this is the card you can play.

If you are the person who understands them, you’ll carry powerful influence.

Giving your prospect the “gift” of feeling understood is very important, that the Solution Selling method dedicates three out of its nine types of questions to “summarising confirmation questions” (questions that make your prospect feel understood – to the level that there are no loose ends).

If you get this tip right, it might be the first time in your prospects life that they’ve felt truly understood.

That’s how rare it is. Fill in the blank with an emotion you observed your prospect express.

“That’s a valid concern Stacy. It seems like you’re pretty torn on what to do here.

Here’s the phrase that makes it happen.

That’s a valid concern. It seems like you’are ……..

#4 Isolate the Objection

Some objections are smoke and mirrors. Words that are being said by your prospects are not the thing that is actually stopping them from sealing a deal with you. You need to dig a little bit deeper to find the real objection.

It’s your job to make sure you’re addressing the real objection. Otherwise, you’re wasting your and your prospects time.

If your prospect brings up new objections, chances are those are the real things you need to overcome.

If they don’t have any others, then the first objection they voiced is the right one or they simply do not want to disclose the real ones to you.

But assuming that they finally said them out loud.

Congratulations, you’ve isolated the objection 🙂

#5 Get Permission

Each of these steps on their own seem obvious and simple. But when you put all of them together, magic can happen.

Your next piece to the puzzle is to address your prospects concerns. Your goal is to make them receptive to a different way of thinking.

Without this critical step, you’ll trigger resistance. You can do every other step, but if you leave this one out, your objection handling efforts will fall short.

First, here’s what not to say to gain permission from your prospect:

Can I make a suggestion?

NOT

This question triggers defensiveness. Your prospect will not be receptive to your suggestions.

It triggers the “rebellious teenager effect.” You’ll come across as lecturing. At best, the prospect will smile, nod, and then ignore everything you say.

Here’s the phrase that works like a charm:

Can I bounce a few thoughts off of you?

This question neutralises your prospects mind. It implies that you are the vulnerable one, not your prospect.

#6 Address with a “Reframe”

If you’ve done the last five steps, you can now address the objection with a “reframe.”

Reframes get your prospect will see things through a new “lens.”

“I don’t want to start a pilot until after next month. We’re too busy closing out the quarter. Right now is the worst time to for us to do this.”

Prospect

Good sales reps reframe that objection from “bad timing,” to “perfect timing.”

The conversations your team will be having before end of quarter will be higher-stakes, and more important to capture. Right now is the best time.

Sales Rep

#7 Confirm an Unbiased Resolution

Don’t lead the prospect to say what you want to hear. This leaves the objection unresolved, killing your deal later on.

Here’s what to ask to bring closure to the objection:

What part of your concern do you feel is still left unaddressed?

Sales Rep

The exact phrasing of this question matters.

Now, if your prospect responds with “no, we can move on,” CONGRATS! You’ve overcome the objection!

All of the objections above can have a different form. Together with your team you need to prepare as much as possible. But I can assure you that despite all the preparations you will come across a brand new objection from your prospect. Write them down, work them through with your team and be aware that they will pop up again in different discussions. Overcome objections by actively listening, repeating what you’ve heard, asking follow up questions, and responding appropriately. Do not react impulsively as no ones likes to be attacked. Try to carefully, listen to them, analyse worries, and ask your usual qualifying questions. Try to respond in a thoughtful way.

Good luck!

2 Comments

  • Ron
    Posted 16 November 2019 11:12 0Likes

    Eye opening and super useful article on how to approach sales objections.
    Specially the one about asking a question to a prospect regarding what would he be interested in if he asks for additional material!

  • Pawel Paluch (@BusinessFinger)
    Posted 17 November 2019 01:06 0Likes

    If you found this article useful, please share it among your friends!

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