Objection! Your Honor, leading the witness.
Cracking a sales deal is like going to a court hearing. Just as you need evidentiary proof to back your claim, you need a specific strategy in place to counter sales objections.
Things get really serious and sensitive when the prospect strikes back, with a bedrock of challenging questions for the sales representative. How they respond to such queries eventually makes or breaks a sales deal.
As the sales funnel skews, sales objections get more probable. To ensure it doesn't impact your brand health, you can pre-qualify your leads using sales intelligence software and optimize your negotiation efforts in the right direction.
What is a sales objection?
Sales objections are questions or concerns a prospect raises in anticipation of an ongoing sales deal. The objections can occur at any stage of the sales cycle, where the prospect factors in their bandwidth, budget, resources, authority, and current requirements for a product.
As a sales rep, your responsibility is to answer all the burning questions and keep the decorum of the consumer deal. Remember that your job is to nurture the lead, not feed them the basics. Fair knowledge sharing between the prospect and the sales rep is an easy consequence of a successful deal.
There are several ways to handle sales objections without harming the professional relationship you share with your prospects.
How to handle sales objections
If a prospect blurts sentences like, "I am busy at the moment, call back later" or "I'd love to chat with you, it's just that my calendar is full," they might be genuinely interested in a follow-up call later on. It's the time or work crunch that holds them back.
Sometimes you even encounter aggressive people who might throw you off the cliff. During extreme behavior like these, keep your head above water and make them understand your purpose. You'd be surprised to witness that their aggression is short-bound, and an outcome of their routine activities.
Following the below 4-step strategy can help you to deal with different prospect personas patiently.
- Listen: Interrupting a prospect as they object will put you in poor sales stead. No matter how vague or dubious the objection sounds, give it a patient ear and then reach out with a relevant answer. Breathing spaces and sublime pauses have a lot of value during high-intensity sales conversations.
- Understand: Get the hang of the prospect's problems in a single delivery. Don't let it sprout two or three more issues. Figure out the sole reason behind why they're posing their objection; is it the competitive pricing or their lack of product knowledge? Engage in an empathetic, open-ended conversation and figure out what they want.
- Respond: As you frame your response, understand that objections are just distractions in the big sales picture. Sometimes, leading with empathy and sensitivity toward the prospect's plight can get you through objections as a people-centric professional.
- Assert and confirm: Nothing gets done if you don't follow through with your prospect commitment. Once you've determined the objection, act on it. Only promise the moon and deliver something more because if you do, you will retain your prospect's trust.
Now that you know how to handle sales objections, let's look at the 11 most common sales objections across different business spheres.
Tip: If a prospect tells you that they've heard bad things about your company, stay calm and let them know that your team leverages user feedback to grow their base. Keep a high head, and don't fall for intangible baits they set for you.
of customers say "no" four times before they say "yes".
11 common sales objections with responses
Sales objections usually revolve around four BANT factors: budget, ability, need, and timing. Let's have a closer look to examine how we tackle all these factors and increase sales opportunities.
1. "What is the value of this service to our business?" or "How will your service benefit our business?"
This is often the first thing prospects ask when you pitch them your product. Answering this question for the first time might make you quiver with nervousness. However, please understand that the fear is temporary. The reason your prospect asked this question early in the pipeline can be twofold:
- You didn't create more desire for them to purchase your service
- The prospect needs to gain knowledge about the industry.
If it's the first case, ensure you stay sharp on your reasoning. Dig out the pain points of your prospect that they have de-prioritized, and build your selling proposition on it.
Example: If I am understanding correctly, you are looking to solve your major issues, like [problem X] and [problem Y], and increase [outcome 1]. I'd love to show how [product X] can help you achieve all your goals. Can I take up 15 minutes of your time? If not, we can always book a time for later on.
A famous thumb rule of sales is to sell the next step, not the product. If your prospect needs to learn the industry segment, give them time. Don't overburden them.
Example: I am glad you asked that. Can I take 5 minutes of your time to quickly describe how our product applies to your industry? Or else, we can set up a call at a later [time] or [date].
2. “This is too expensive.”
This objection is linked to the first one. The prospect has explicitly mentioned their dissatisfaction with the price. Some variations of this question include: "We don't have a budget for this service" or "We can get the same service from somebody else at a cheaper rate."
Pricing objections are often the most common but can be easy to refute. When a prospect brings up pricing, don't dance around it. Address it, then emphasize the value of the service and talk about rewards.
Example: I'd love to explain how [product X] features can solve [problem Y] that you are currently facing. Also, we have a flexible subscription model for this service, something that might interest you.
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.
- Refrain from mentioning pricing last in the conversation. The brain tends to ascribe more weight to the last thing we hear.
3. “We're already using this service. 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 off how good you are at selling. Use the current sales trail to your advantage and focus on your product strengths.
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:
Example: If I understood correctly, your current provider helps you solve [problem x] and [problem y] but costs you a lot of time and effort. My goal here is to help you identify and solve these problems, but with improved efficiency and productivity.
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.
It could also mean you might have errored while filtering your leads in your CRM software. If you encounter this situation later, it might be a "brush-off" from the prospect's end. In this case, close the call professionally and keep the door slightly ajar for future interactions.
After all, no means no.
Example: Sure. It was a pleasure connecting with you. Thank you for your time, have a great rest of your day, and I look forward to connecting with you in the future.
If this was an instant, knee-jerk reaction, try to woo them into your strong pitch. Send across sales enablement resources that make them rethink their decisions and analyze what they really want.
Example: I understand your concern. Do you want me to schedule a follow-up call this week? In the meantime, I can send across some enablement resources which might help you with your questions.
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. This also indicates that your prospect has a knack for your services and wants to get on board. Inquiring about the dollar value of your product means that the prospect is ripe for deal closure.
Be sure to have client data at your beck-end call. Address your prospect's concerns by providing data metrics, case studies, and closure reports that account for your immaculate' success. 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?”
Another way is:
Example: Did you know [major renowned clients] that used our product churned [X%] net accounting profit at [Y%] lower customer acquisition cost? I'd love to walk you through this, and other ROI wins, in detail.
6. “We’ve been burned by a previous provider with this service.”
It can be an issue of trust, which means you'll need to make the extra effort to warm up to a prospect. Some agencies mightn't include it as an objection in their sales strategy, but it is a perfect sign in your favor. These prospects know well what they want and how valuable your service would be.
Example: I am sorry for your experience. I understand that it might not have been easy to revive. However, at [company name], I can confidently say that you won't encounter these problems. Not only is our product one of the most trusted products in the market, our dedicated customer service team has won laurels for their unwavering service.
7. “We’re looking for a particular feature.”
Again, this is a good trait of a warm prospect interested in the deal. Conveying feature requirements implies that they're willing to know more about your offerings. Grab this opportunity by the straw and walk your prospect through everything you have to offer.
Example: I'd be happy to tell you that not only does [product x]include [feature y], but it also includes plug-and-play features that can be integrated with your existing stack, very easily. So if you're looking to achieve [outcome 1] with [feature X], you would end up doubling down on your goals and subsequently, revenue.
8. “Our team will deliberate on this.”
Some prospects use this to stall the decision-making process. In some instances, this objection comes up when a prospect doesn't have the purchase ability of the product or is a part of a buying group. If it is the former, you can use this response to keep the conversation going:
Example: Would you face specific objections during your internal decision-making? If you want, I can help you prepare a business plan for this product to present to decision-makers. I have some client closure reports, case studies, and other content collaterals that can supplement well.
But in case it's the latter:
Example: Thank you for informing me about this. I'd be happy to connect with the authorized person in this regard. Please help me with that.
Another way to overcome this is by suggesting a joint meeting among all stakeholders where you can answer their questions, share your pointers for success, and aid in their decision-making.
9. “Call me back after X days/months.”
As working professionals, sales reps need to understand that their prospects have a massive decision on their shoulders and might take some time off to think it through.
With this type of objection, your goal should focus on setting an appointment with them to show what you can do for them and help them move forward with their decision.
Example: I understand you have a lot of work on your plate. However, I would like to schedule a brief call to show you what we're doing. If you felt otherwise after that, we don't have to worry about scheduling again after X days/months. Is [day] at [time] good for us to talk?
With this approach, you're not asking them to commit to buying the service from you but gauging their interest.
10. "We don't have the capacity to implement that product."
If not dealt with early on, this objection can become the biggest hurdle to your deal. While pitching your product, give out important information regarding client onboarding processes, implementation details, logistics, and labor distribution. If they still can't wrap their head around it, go ahead and drop the conversation.
Here is what you can say:
Example: I understand your concern. We at [company name] look for ways for our partners to cut unnecessary costs, optimize performance, and churn maximum ROI. I'd love to host a live demo of the product for you to understand how it'll positively impact your status quo.
11. "We have chosen [competitor X] already."
How do you poach an existing competitor? Sounds like a horrible thing to do. But hey, that's how the business world goes around.
If your prospect is already in talks or locked in by a potential competitor, try to analyze what they did better than you. There are slim chances of getting picked over, but more chances of getting noticed.
Example: Thank you for telling me about this. I appreciate the transparency you've kept so far. Could you let me understand which components of your current provider you are most satisfied with? I'd like to take note of it.
Top sales intelligence software in 2022
Filtering your prospects on correct parameters can drastically reduce the number of sales objections. With sales intelligence software, companies avail existing prospect data to qualify and quantify their incoming leads.
The data covers all critical parameters of a prospect, like their contact information, job titles, firmographics, recent funding, and data from buyer intent tools to sort the order of intent and connect accordingly.
Best practices for sales objections
Sales objections are challenging to walk past, as sales reps might attest. Every facet of a sales transaction needs an active communication channel, content, and other resources that make a prospect believe in your genuineness.
Not all objections can help in gaining a deal. There would be many leads that might have really considered your product, but in the long run, dropped interest. Here are some pointers on how to convert sales objections into sure-shot deals.
- Reassure your prospects that their needs will be taken care of by a dedicated customer service panel to rule out any scope of nervousness or fear.
- Use your company's existing data, case studies, or testimonials to your advantage. Show off your increasing profit margins to interest the candidate.
- Correspond with the top hierarchical personnel of the company and create a professional rapport with them through frequent guest posts or link building.
- Push their priority focus by hitting their pain points and providing your product as a viable alternative.
- Before you call a prospect, ensure they have been marked as a sales-qualified lead by your supervisors.
- Personalize all email correspondences or content distribution activities so that your prospect knows their queries would be attended to.
Deliver a promising experience
Always anticipate what prospects will likely say to you during your pitch. Nothing will make it easier for you to overcome objections than 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.
Want to know how social proof can boost your sales numbers? Check out the ultimate social selling kit to create winning deal opportunities.