One of the universal truths and probably the toughest of sales is that every sales rep has been in a position where they have faced an objection. And the underlying truth is that many find it hard to believe that objections are assets to a salesperson if they have the ability to turn them into positive opportunities. And with buyers becoming more discerning than ever, the importance of mastering the art of combating sales objections has become pivotal to sales.
There are basically two combat strategies to overcome objections. Firstly, by anticipating and responding to an objection before the prospect gives voice to it. Secondly, by dealing with objections as and when it arises. Overcoming sales objections is essential, but some reps neglect or fear objections. Objections are easy to overcome, but before that, every salesperson needs to identify the most common sales objections so that he will always be prepared.
A lot of people believe overcoming objections is a battle where you either counter every argument your prospect raises forcing them to cave or manipulate them to accept everything you propose. This is not how it should be done. This approach virtually becomes a one-way conversation dominated by the seller, pushing towards a poor buyer experience. Overcoming sales objections is a skill, it demonstrates knowledge and customer empathy.
Sales Objection #1: “We don’t have the budget to..”
Pricing is the most popular objection in sales. And many salespeople's’ first reaction is to immediately concede to a lower price. This can be fatal because when you reduce the price immediately, the prospect will think that the product is of lower quality or was overpriced thinking ahead that such an objection will be raised. Either way, the prospect loses trust in you. Rather than surrendering to a lower price, look for other ways where you can demonstrate the true value of what you are offering. When a prospect says “I don’t think we have the budget to afford this”, plenty of times it might not mean they genuinely cannot afford it. As a sales rep, your task is to identify the underlying motivations of the prospect. Ask the right questions to understand why the prospect would raise a price objection. If not for the obvious reason, it is that they either don’t see the value or is skeptical about the price.
You should then dig deeper and investigate the true reason behind the objection. If it is because they don’t see the value of your offering, try using customer stories, case studies and testimonials that can reinforce them in taking a positive decision. Demonstrate value in terms of ROI through hard data or convince them how their competition invested in their solution and was able to generate revenue. If it is the initial quote that troubles them, laying out the cost structure will help you out. Breakdown the price of the solution to smaller amounts attached to services and billable hours. Help them achieve an informed decision. Ask them what they are willing to compromise in the solution; this would actually make them realize that the whole package is the best solution.
Sales Objection #2. “We don’t see the need for your services
You cannot possibly sell something to a prospect that has no need for your solution. This is why sales reps pre-qualify the leads before they start prospecting. But yet, even after scrutinized scrubbing off, sales reps will still end up facing the “No need” objection. How is that possible? This is because you haven’t focused on resonating with your prospect’s need, explored all available needs, or addressed the right need.
Scour the prospect's business, market, and competition. Identify the need that can trigger the purchase. By providing evidence to your prospect that they are lagging behind their competition, you will be in a higher position to demonstrate the value of your offering. Sometimes prospects are unaware about their own needs, mostly because they are unaware. if you are able to expose the hidden needs and opportunities that can be capitalized with your solution, you can easily overcome this objection.
Sales Objection #3: “I can’t make a decision alone on this”
While it is vital for salespeople to speak with key decision makers in an organization, it seldom goes your way. You would probably have to go through gatekeepers and sometimes if you are unlucky, a few committees as well. If you are in B2B sales (technical or high ticket sales), there is never a single decision maker in the process. Identifying the person holding the purse strings is like a maze. So even if you find your way up the decision-making ladder, you still might end up pitching your product to a unilateral decision maker. So if this decision maker that you have convinced raises an “Authority” objection, your goal is to help them sell your product to other decision makers. Send them critical and focused content that will help them arrive at a joint decision quickly. If you sense the objection as a purchase dismissal, try to get the decision maker in the room. Set up a joint meeting with both the parties or transition the entire selling process to the key decision maker.
Sales Objection #4: “We are all used to things this way”
Complacency or the fear of change is natural, and highly observed among buyers. They are satisfied with how things are going and are not willing to jump the long leap of fire and risk changing things. Complacency is normally related with being ill-informed about the problem surrounding the prospect or opportunities in the industry. Being a sales rep, you need to help your prospect take an informed decision by providing crucial information on the product and market trends. If the prospect observes your acumen in their industry and competition, they will be blown away. Sharing content like whitepapers, webinars, cost structure, etc. will help them to trust you more. Use case studies of their competition or companies in the similar industry that have invested in your solution and have made dramatic changes in their organization only to generate more revenue. This will calm their nerves and boost their confidence to accept change and will gradually reveal a window of admission.
Sales Objection #5: “I can’t make a decision right now. How about you call me next month?”
This is the worst kind of objection. You have built trust with the prospect, understood their needs, discussed the price, convinced them that the solution will help, demonstrated value, but then, they ask for more time. This can dishearten sales reps, but they need to understand what made them object now. Probably because you haven’t created a sense of urgency that compels them to purchase right away. Make it clear to them what they will be losing if they don’t invest now, offer them revenue projections for the next 6 months if they consider the solution and convince them that to remain competitive in the industry the investment should happen now. Numbers always impress clients and prospects. Demonstrate clearly the opportunity cost and the revenue projections in documents that can be shared with decision makers, and also outline their competitors that have already invested in a similar line of solution. This will help them reach a decision quickly and your hard work will pay off.
If you haven’t noticed, all the objections that were discussed results from one key problem - “lack of information”. If you are able to produce all the information your prospect needs to make an informed purchase decision, you can overcome objections even before they are thought of.Photo Credit: lstw via Compfight cc