In the perfect world, you’d be closing sales smoothly – without any counter questions or objections. Alas, the world isn’t perfect, and selling to prospects is not that easy. That’s why successful sales representatives are highly regarded, for their ability to convince prospects with proper knowledge and skills, often turning a ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ into a confirmed ‘yes.’
Customer Objections – What It Means For Your Sales Communication
Simply put, objections are an integral part of the sales process, and successful sales representatives treat objections as opportunities to understand a prospect better. For example, every prospect has a unique requirement, and you cannot anticipate all of these requirements, despite intensive research. However, when a prospect objects, it is an opportunity to provide him or her with more information, and also figure out their requirements better to personalize your script accordingly.
Handling Objections in Sales
Customer Objections, also known as sales objections, are not viewed favorably by most of the sales representative and understandably – who does not want a smooth sales process?
However, sales objections are not bad in most of the cases. In fact, they usually indicate that the prospect is interested and wants more information. When handled tactfully, sales objections also present you with an opportunity to provide additional details to prospects and make your relationship stronger – leading to a higher closing rate in the long run.
Of course, you cannot predict when an objection would crop up in the sales process. It could be the first time you connect with a prospect or right before closing – but, no matter when they come up, it is up to you to keep your calm and handle objections in sales intelligently to get the results you desire.
Remember, objections may not always be easy to manage. However, customer objections are good for the sales process, because:
- Sales objections often indicate that the buyer is engaged or interested
- You can judge whether a lead is qualified, based on the objections
- In most cases, you can turn around objections into sales opportunities by adding valuable information and sharing social proof for your product or service.
Here’s a small example, to drive home what we are saying.
At the prospecting stage, a typical buyer objection is that they don’t need your product. However, if you have done your research, you are already aware of the buyer’s business objective and can use this occasion to tell them how your product can help in achieving their goals efficiently.
As you get further into the sales process, objections often become more specific, reflecting the buyer’s thought process. By analyzing these objections, you can comprehend what’s going on in the buyer’s mind and address their concerns accordingly by adding facts, information, and value.
As you can see, objections are great for qualifying subjects. They help you identify uninterested buyers, as well as those who cannot afford or need your solution, saving you valuable time in trying to convert them. So, start looking forward to objections and prepare in advance to make your sales communications much more effective and pleasant. Below, we have shared some proven steps for overcoming objections with poise and wit.
Proven Tips to Turn Objections into Opportunities
Unhappy customers exist in large numbers, and you will invariably encounter them on some of your calls. Therefore, it is best to have a plan at hand for overcoming objections and managing their concerns better – leading to satisfying resolutions for everybody involved in the process.
LAER: The Bonding Process® by Carew International lays down four simple steps for handling objections in a sale. These are:
1. Listen Effectively
There’s nothing more annoying for a prospect that being served gibberish. Therefore, you must hear out your prospects patiently and make sure that they know you are listening.
As a rule – let your prospects speak without interrupting them. However, you may regularly make affirmations like, “Okay, go on, please tell me more,” to show your prospects you are following what they are saying.
2. Acknowledge their Concern
Once your prospect has shared their concerns, it is important to repeat to them what you heard to ensure your understanding is correct. This will not only clear all the points to you but also make the prospect feel valued – which is a crucial part of the sales process.
3. Explore Causes
Now that you have understood the prospect’s concerns, the next step is to explore the underlying reasons for their objections to come up with a suitable response. For example, if you are selling an IT solution, and the prospect is concerned about implementation, you can inform them about your implementation procedure that entails a smooth transition. If you can quote some past wins (that is, clients who faced a similar concern), it would add even more weight to your solution.
4. Respond Intelligently
The last part of the process is to respond to a prospect’s objections with a reasonable solution, alternative, or recommendation designed to overcome their challenge. Of course, it is possible that your product cannot meet some of the criteria raised by the client – and it makes complete sense, to be honest about it while letting them know the other ways in which your product could benefit them.
We have also made a list of some additional tricks and tips to help you in handling objections in sales like a pro:
a. Practice Empathy
It is easy to get frustrated when prospects doubt your solutions. But have you put yourself in their shoes to understand where they are coming from? Be kind, listen patiently, and practice empathy while responding to build trusting relations and solve customer queries better.
b. Ask Questions
Very often, the objection shared by a prospect is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, if a buyer says that your product is too expensive – it may mean that a competitor is selling the product for lesser, or the buyer doesn’t understand the difference between your product and what they are using. Or, it could be that they aren’t aware of the value you can bring to their business or, maybe, your product isn’t expensive, but the client doesn’t have the budget for it presently.
Here, we ask you to rewind to BANT analysis to qualify the prospect, and if you find him or her to be the right fit, invest your time in asking intelligent questions to determine the real objection and its solution.
c. Use Facts and Figures
A rebuttal is not the right way to handle objections. Instead, take an educational approach to help your buyers understand the value your product brings to the table. You can achieve this by sharing case studies, relevant examples, and client testimonials to drive home the goal that you created with the client during the sales process – say, boosting overall revenue by X percent in Y months.
Sometimes, a prospect may ask for additional time to think things over. That’s okay – give them the time and space they need without being pushy, but make sure to set up a time and date for a follow-up – as you don’t want to leave the process hanging. If the prospect is non-committal about fixing a date, it is clear they are not interested, and it is time to move on without wasting your time any further.
Proven Responses to Handle Common Sales Objections
Any experienced sales representative would agree that anticipating sales objections is the best way of handling them. When you are prepared for specific customer objections – it is likely that you’d be at the top of your game and handle those objections like a pro.
To help you succeed as a sales representative, we have created a list of the most common sales objections and proven responses to handle them with élan. We also recommend that you maintain a centralized repository of complaints with responses that your team can add to and consult for better results.
Let’s dive in:
1. It is Quite Expensive!
Price objections happen to the most common of customer objections – cited by both interested and uninterested prospects. However, remember that this is a trap. You are not a middleman but a salesperson.
In such a situation, it is best to subtly steer the client to your value proposition instead of focusing on the price. If you have researched well, you already know the client’s pain points. Use that to your advantage by shifting their attention to the losses they may incur by rejecting your product than evaluating its cost in isolation of the benefits.
2. We Can’t Afford This /There’s Isn’t Enough Budget Remaining This Year
Well, it could be true that your prospect does not have the budget to afford your product. If that’s right, you may either suggest a plan that fits their budget or fix a follow-up call whenever they are expecting the budget to free up.
If the client is reluctant to fix a follow-up, take the hint, and don’t waste your time any further. In case the prospect has the budget but wants to use it elsewhere, it falls upon you to showcase the value of your product through examples and case studies that show measurable benefits, such as significant ROI, reduced costs, and increased efficiency.
3. I Don’t Want to Be Stuck With a Contract
A prospect may be interested in your offering but not sure about it. That’s good enough reason for them not to commit to a long-term contract. However, this is an easy objection to workaround if you can offer a trial period followed by monthly or quarterly payments instead of a year-long commitment.
4. This Is Not a Good Time
Well, timing is everything, and this simple statement can hold several meanings in its fold. For example, your point of contact may not have the time to handle the negotiations at the moment, or it may not be a good time for the company to invest in your product.
Here, you need to take a step back to analyze the situation and confirm whether the prospect is actually interested in buying from you or not. If the prospect is qualified, you can ask them for a good time to call again or put you in touch with someone who has the time to discuss your product in detail.
5. I Am Not Interested
Well, this is one of the worst sales objections faced by any salesperson. However, it isn’t uncommon to receive a cold shoulder when you connect with a prospect for the first time.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, take a deep breath, don’t get angry, and use one of the below responses to handle the situation deftly:
- Empathize and tell the prospect that you know how they feel. However, follow it up by telling them about somebody who felt the same way but eventually bought the product and how he or she benefited from it.
- Politely inform the prospect that you understand they are not interested in the product as they don’t know about it in detail. Yet, you are aware that they are interested in [mention a benefit here – like reduced costs, more meetings, lead qualification, etc.] and your product can help them achieve this goal, which is something you can prove to them with facts and figures in the next few minutes.
In both the above scenarios, it is possible that the prospect just asks you to send the information over. However, this is once again a trap that you must avoid – as, once you send across the marketing material, you have no control whether or when the buyer would get back to you. Instead, promise to send the material over but request a few minutes of the prospect’s time to put your point forward.
6. I Need to Discuss This With the Team / I Cannot Make This Decision Alone
In most cases, this statement is a stalling tactic, as the prospect is too polite to say no to you. Unfortunately, the prospect doesn’t want to buy from you, and if you don’t take the hint, you’d be wasting precious time. That being said, you can always try to gauge the buyer’s intent through an intelligent response, such as:
Mr. Prospect, we have been discussing this product for quite some time now. What do you think are the chances of this getting through? I don’t wish to waste your time if you believe there isn’t a possibility of this happening. However, if you have any doubts about the performance of the product, I am happy to offer you a [14-day] period so you can judge the best course of action for your company.
7. We Are Already Working With X
It’s excellent if your prospect is already working with another vendor. It shows they have identified a need and found a solution – hence, you can skip the preliminary education and directly discuss your prospect.
But first, you must find out whether the prospect is happy with their current vendor or not. Ask tactful questions like why they chose a particular service and what’s working and not. Gradually, you can steer the focus to complaints that can be solved better with your product and other perceivable benefits of switching vendors.
8. The Product Is Available for Lesser Somewhere Else
Is this true?
Research your competition to dig out more information. It is possible that the prospect is playing you out against another vendor, or they honestly believe a cheaper solution can fix their problems. If it turns out to be the former, it is prudent to offer your best price and walk away from the deal if the prospect asks for more discount. In the latter, you can take advantage of the situation by sharing information about your product features that differentiate it, emphasizing its overall benefits vis-à-vis the cost.
9. You Don’t Offer Feature ABC
Today, most companies expect you to offer them a tailored solution to overcome their business challenges perceptively. However, this isn’t always possible, which is when an objection like this is raised.
Here, if you don’t have feature ABC, answer in the affirmative while drawing the buyer’s attention to other useful features that deliver similar results. And, if you do offer the functionality, it is time to share more information with the prospect to clinch the deal.
10. I Visited Your Social Media Page and Read Some Negative Reviews
First and foremost, how do you deal with negative feedback and reviews on your social media pages? Do you get back to the customers promptly and try to resolve their problems? Because, if you don’t, it is a definite deal-breaker in situations like these.
However, if you have been managing bad reviews properly, by treating unhappy customers with empathy and trying to help them, you can always direct the prospect to the resolution while also informing them about how you plan to fix similar issues in the future.
Some Parting Words
Now that we have acquainted you with the ten most common customer objections and how to deal with them, we are confident that you’d be better prepared for your next sales call. You can also use this list as a starting point to build a common resource for your team with objections and rebuttals – which can prove to be an invaluable sales tool.
That being said – we’d like to reiterate here that no salespersons can ever report a 100% closing rate – which means that you will often face rejections or brush offs in your career. However, it is squarely on your shoulders to take such experiences positively, learn from them, and move on – because that’s what the best salespersons do. That being said, you can always depend on modern technology to improve your success rates, such as getting access to accurate market research and the contact details of best-fit leads, ready to buy your product, by using a sales prospecting software such as Clodura.