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9 Common Sales Objections (+How to Overcome Them)

March 11, 2019

You’re at the final step of your sale, until your prospect drops an objection.

How do you respond?

If you’ve been in a similar situation, don’t worry. A salesperson is likely to encounter an objection from a prospect at one point of their pitch. An objection happens when you’ve failed to address the most important question of any potential client:  “What’s in it for me?” 

How you address an objection can be the tipping point for a prospect to buy your service or buy it from somebody else. However, with the right approach, you can easily win the conversation, turn that objection into an opportunity, and, ultimately, close that prospect. That’s what you’ll learn from this post.

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How to address sales objections

There are four steps you need to follow to develop a solid response:

1. Acknowledge

When potential clients raise a sales objection, the biggest mistake you can do is ignore it. Always acknowledge the objection. This shows that you’re recognizing their concern and listening to what they’re saying, which is why you should start with the phrase “I hear you/I understand.” However, there’s a difference between acknowledgment and affirmation. When you acknowledge an objection, it doesn’t mean that you’re agreeing with them.

2. Isolate

It’s important to nail down the main concern of your prospect. Don’t let it sprout two or three more issues. You don’t want them to tell you that your pricing is too high, the value isn’t clear to their business, and the service is too complicated for them. You need to figure out the sole reason behind their objection. This is where you start asking probing sales questions.

3. Own

This is where you take accountability to address their concern. Don’t leave an objection hanging without your commitment. Taking ownership is a way of gaining the trust of your prospect. Instead of saying, “Let me check with the team how to go about this,” say, “I’ll dive right into this and get back to you by {insert time and day}.”

4. Act

Nothing gets done if you don't follow through with your commitment. Once you've determined the reason behind their objection, act on it. Don't promise the moon and deliver anything less because if you do, you're going to lose the trust of your prospect.

Common sales objections

Now, let’s try it with the following nine sales objections:

1. “What is the value of this service to our business?”

Another variation of this is “How will this benefit our business?”

This is often the first thing that prospects ask when you pitch them. When you encounter this sales objection, it’s likely that a) you haven’t created enough desire for them to purchase your service or b) the prospect lacks the knowledge about the industry.

If you’re dealing with the first case, you need to go back to your sales process and identify their pain points. This can help you formulate a better sales pitch that explains how your service can address their business problem.

If the objection leans toward the second case, your response should be geared to educating the prospect. This is where you throw in stats about the industry and relating these to business opportunities.

2. “This is too expensive.”

This objection is connected to the first one. Some variations of this include: “We don’t have a budget for this service,” and “We can get the same service from somebody else at a cheaper rate.”

Pricing objections are often the most common, but they can be easy to rebut. When a prospect brings up pricing, don’t dance around it. Address it, then emphasize the value of your service.

Some pro-tips when responding to a pricing objection:

  • Don’t mention pricing first — otherwise, your prospect will remember it for the rest of your pitch.
  • Don’t let pricing stand alone. Relate the cost of the service to the value it brings.
  • Don’t mention pricing last in the conversation. The brain has a tendency to ascribe more weight to the last thing we hear.

3. “We’re already using this service from a different provider. Why should I switch to you?”

Prospects often bring up this objection because they’re likely averse to change. In most cases, they’re comfortable with the current service from their provider and don’t feel the need to switch to a new one.

To overcome this objection, show that you’re the better salesman. I’ll give you an example – a partner of ours was selling web design and pitching to a restaurant owner about its new website. The response to this sales objection was outstanding:

“I hear you. I can’t speak for other web designers, especially the one you’re working with right now. What I can say is that there’ll be no other group of experts who takes care of your web design needs as personally as we do.”

The key is to leverage the premium experience you’re offering and focus on your strengths.

4. “We’re not interested in pursuing this service at the moment.”

This type of objection may be hitting three issues - time, need, and budget.

This is the best time to ask probing questions to unearth the real reason they’re reluctant to buy. You need to isolate the issue, then determine the right approach to address this.

If their main issue is time, leverage value in your pitch. Show them what their competitors are doing and explain how your services can match the competition. Your goal here is to make the decision-making easy for them by sharing what you’re doing that can be helpful for their business.

5. “What’s the potential ROI of this service?”

This is also a variation of the first objection, but it’s mostly asking about the revenue your service can bring to a prospect’s business. SEO agencies we’ve worked with get asked this a lot, especially when talking to leads that are not knowledgeable about SEO and other digital marketing tactics.

This is where doing prep before a sales pitch comes in handy. When you talk to prospects and this objection comes up, be sure you have the data to backup your service. If you’re selling SEO, for example, one way to rebuff this objection is with this: “Did you know that SEO has $22 ROI per $1 spend?”

Don’t just throw in stats when speaking with a prospect, though. Explain to them clearly how this will work for their business.

6. “We’ve been burned by a previous provider with this service.”

This is an issue of trust, which means you’ll need to make extra effort in warming up to a prospect. Some of the agencies we’ve talked to find it difficult to overcome this objection in the sales funnel, but it actually presents a good opportunity because you’re already talking to qualified prospects, and it’s likely these prospects already know the value of your service.

When you’re in a conversation with this sales objection, you’re no longer selling your service. Instead, you’re selling the experience of working with you. If you have a portfolio or testimonials from previous clients, show them.

It’s important to differentiate yourself from other providers, but take extra measures not to say anything bad about your competitors. While you can acknowledge that these horror stories do happen, you should always put your clients in a positive mindset. This translates into the type of experience they’ll have with you.

7. “We’re looking for a particular feature.”

In other situations, this is a prospect’s way of saying, “Can you do X, Y, and Z?” or “We want these features instead of what you’re pitching.” The good news with this type of sales objection is a prospect already has interest in buying the service.

The best recourse for this is to ask them what they’re looking for, as this allows you to find out what they really want and keep the conversation going. However, it’s important not to fall into the trap of agreeing immediately to what your prospect wants – especially if you don’t have the capacity to fulfill what they’re asking for.

If you can’t immediately answer the prospect, don’t be afraid to defer to a later phone call so you can better prepare a solid response.

8. “Our team will deliberate on this.”

Some prospects use this to stall the decision-making process. In certain cases, this objection comes up when a prospect is looking for other incentives that will make them say yes to the sale. On the other hand, it may be because you’re not talking directly to the decision-maker.

One way to overcome this is by giving a special promo that allows them to try out your service and see if the experience matches their expectations. This can provide a reason to sign and get onboard with your services.

If the prospect is not the decision-maker of the business, try suggesting a joint meeting among all stakeholders and yourself. This way, you can answer questions directly from key stakeholders, explore more opportunities, and guide them in their decision-making.

9. “Call me back after X days/months.”

This is somehow similar to objections No. 4 and No. 8, but the intent to buy is still there. Reasons for this objection is the prospect may be busy or need more time to decide.

With this type of objection, your goal should focus on setting an appointment with them that allows you to show what you can do for them and help them move forward with their decision.

Here’s what you can tell them:

“I understand if that’s what you feel now. However, I would like to schedule a brief call with you to show what we’re doing. This won’t take too much of your time - just a quick five-minute call. If it’s not up your alley, we don’t have to worry about scheduling again after X days/months. But if you find it interesting, we’ll be happy to talk more about it. Is {day} at {time} good for us to talk?”

With this approach, you’re not directly asking them to commit to buying the service from you, but gauging their interest.

Final thoughts

Always anticipate what prospects will likely say to you during your pitch. Nothing will make it easier for you to overcome objections than by doing your homework and a good deal of preparation.

Most importantly, don’t look at these objections as a hard “No.” Think of them as a way to check for understanding from your prospect before they sign on that dotted line.

Ready to learn more about how to sell better? Learn about social selling in 2019.

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