The ability to successfully overcome sales objections and secure deals despite a prospect’s doubts is what separates the middling salespeople from the top performers. The sheer variety of options afforded to consumers has made them more discerning about the products they’re considering purchasing. This can prove to be a challenge.
One must also bear in mind that when objections are encountered, they are not the same as outright rejection. They represent a momentary obstacle rather than an insurmountable obstruction, and there are tactics you can employ to either push the objections aside or turn them to your advantage.
Similar to other aspects of the sales business like market penetration or managing one’s deal pipeline, overcoming sales objections is a matter of preparation and refinement. Plan before every meeting, practice your responses to objections the prospect may raise, and take note of what works and what does not.
Empathise with your prospect
The first time your prospect lists their objections don’t interrupt or interject, allow them to speak at length and in detail about what concerns them. Being empathetic builds trust between you, which in the long run will make a final deal more likely. Not interrupting the prospect will give you more information to work with too, so make sure that you’re taking notes.
After the prospect is finished laying out their objections you should respond with a statement demonstrating empathy. Try one of the following;
- “I fully appreciate your concerns in this regard.”
- “I can see how that’s important for your company.”
The key here is to establish a friendly, trusting connection with the prospect. Whatever you do, don’t criticize the prospect or dispute the legitimacy of their objections. Dismissing their concerns outright will come across as hostile and will likely make any further progress difficult to impossible.
Understand their objections
After listening to your interlocutor’s concerns you can begin to overcome their sales objections. The best way to do this is to look over your notes from the previous stage and ask broad, open-ended questions based on your findings. Take a look at these examples;
- If the issue is financial, ask, “What can you tell me about your budget?” or, “Can you please describe your long term financial projections?”
- There’s a reason why you’re in a sales discussion; there’s a pain that needs curing. Therefore ask “What problems do you have that require our product?” or, “Why do you need to solve this issue now?”
- If you’re not sure what to focus on ask something like, “What can I do to help move things forward?”
The key, as with all questions in the sales business, is to be as direct and honest as possible. Don’t take it personally if a prospect criticizes your company or your product. Rebuttals are not the end of the world.
Prepare your own rebuttals
Before each meeting with your prospect, you must practice the potential objections that they may raise. Think as outside of the box as possible and challenge yourself with qualifying questions. You don’t want to be wrong-footed by an objection you weren’t prepared for after all.
Budget-based objections are some of the easiest to deal with. If the prospect says the price is too high you can counter by offering a discount or an additional product as part of the deal. If the prospect also disclosed their financial projections to you during the previous stage you can increase the length of the contract you may sign with the prospect in return for cutting your price.
If you asked the prospect why they’re looking for a product in the first place, follow up by asking if their objections also apply to their original need or pain. Try something like this;
- “You need a product for X reason, why might you object to our product?”
This will put them on the back foot and will remind them of their original pain. You can then capitalize on this moment by providing examples of how your product will cure the pain. It’s a bold tactic, just be sure to be polite.
Provide examples of your success
At this stage your prospect may be leaning either way, you may have successfully rebutted some or all of their objections, but their mind remains to be made up. The phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ is cliche, but it is true. One of the best (and most underutilized) ways to overcome sales objections is to prove you’ve done so before.
Case studies or positive reviews by previous or existing clients will go a long way to overcoming your prospect’s objections. The trick is to make sure they are relevant to the industry the prospect works in. There’s little point in producing examples on how you overcame a clothing company’s objections when you’re speaking with an IT startup for example.
Work with your content and/or marketing team to create case studies you can send to your prospects. In particular, it’s highly desirable that you get real testimonials from satisfied customers. Ask them to include their own objections, and how you worked to overcome them.
Circle back and confirm
The biggest mistake you can make when overcoming sales objections is to assume that you were successful and not confirm the status of your discussions. It’s all too easy to talk through the closing stage without confirming what you and the prospect have agreed to. Make sure you go back through their original objections to ensure you’ve addressed each and every one of them.
It’s a good idea to use one of the following phrases when doing so. They may be direct, but this will be appreciated by most prospects;
- “Have I addressed all of your concerns today?”
- “Has everything I’ve discussed made sense to you?”
- “Can we proceed to closing or is there something else you wish to discuss?”
It’s alright if another objection emerges at this point, just run through each stage again to address the issue until you have final confirmation that you can move on. Your prospect will appreciate the clarification of your mutual position as much as you will, as long as you act in a positive manner.
Just be sure that if the prospect says yes that it’s a firm yes. A “maybe” or “50% yes” won’t serve either of you. Aim for a firm commitment, yes or no, that way you’re not wasting your time and can focus on more promising leads.
Responding to objections promptly and effectively
Objections aren’t the end of a deal. In fact, you’ll rarely find a buyer that wants your product, has no doubts about it, and is ready to buy immediately. Responding to prospects’ needs and concerns quickly and effectively is an essential aspect of closing deals.
A flexible tool like Revenue Guide can offer a number of quick ways to handle common objections. Revenue Guide’s Signals work as background routing for integrated tools to give realtime updates, reminders, and suggestions to reps or other members of the sales team for any part of the sales cycle.
Use Signals to check the speech in your meetings for common objections like the mention of “pricing” or “implementation”. Then set up alerts, for example asking a manager to join the deal, or reminding the rep to check on details with the product team.
Revenue Guide is built to help your sales team respond quickly and effectively to whatever your opportunities throw at you, so you can bring your best game to every deal and have the best possible chance of winning.