"I'm not interested."
"It's too expensive."
"I can get a cheaper version."
"How is your product better than X?"
We have all hit the dreaded "NO" bomb when speaking to a prospect on sales calls. It's inevitable. But that doesn't mean the deal is in dead water. All salespeople face objections, but the product still sells, and businesses make money.
So, how do you sell your product or service when the buyer is in a dilemma and throwing excuses? That's where objection handling comes in!
A report by HubSpot mentions that "sellers who successfully defend their product against buyers' objections can have a close rate as high as 64%."
Objection handling is an art, and when common objections are handled in the right way, they can help you build rapport, provide the buyer with values that help them in decision-making, and lead to a serious sales win.
If you're struggling with any type of objection, in this guide, we will take you through common objections and objection-handling techniques shared by successful real-time sales leaders. Plus, we have curated some objection-handling scripts that you can use right away in your next objection-handling call. (More on this later!)
What is a Sales Objection?
Prospects will always have concerns when they are unsure about buying your product, and as a result, they throw excuses like:
“We don't have a budget”
“We already work with a vendor”
“We will get back to you”
So while some excuses might be true and you can't do much about it, most excuses are knee-jerk reactions, and how you manage these reactions is what we call objection handling.
What is Objection Handling in Sales?
Buyers push back what you're offering at that moment which calls objections.
Objections can happen:
- When they're unaware of your product or brand
- They don't know completely about the product, its features, and how it can help them
- They're opening up the scope for future negotiations
We can cluster all the objections majorly into four categories. These include:
"We're not ready to invest so much at this point."
Cost, price, and ROI-related objections - all of them fall into this category. To handle such objections, you need to justify the cost by showing the product's value. You may also consider offering a discount if it permits you to convince the prospect.
"I'm not sure if we really need this at this point in time."
Such objections come when the prospect is unsure about the quality of the product or the service. In such cases, demonstrating how your product can solve their problem is the best way to handle the objection. You can build a personalized interactive product demo using Storylane to show how your product can solve the potential customer's pain point.
"I have not heard about your brand."
When potential customers say things like I don't know your product or your brand, it shows they lack trust. In such cases, the sales teams need to ask more direct questions, get at the center of what is causing the doubt, and clarify them. It also helps to share success stories of customers who used your product or service.
Here's an example of a classic example of stalling objection.
"We'll think upon this and get back to you."
Prospects often try to stall a deal when they feel pressured to make a decision. To avoid such objections, help the prospect to clarify all doubts.
Each of these points looks like an objection, but in reality, they are allowing you to propel the sales wheel and move the conversation forward.
The Importance of Mastering Objection Handling
The last thing that perhaps you want is to let go of your objections unaddressed because the longer the prospect holds the objection, the stronger they get on their opinion. And so you should address it as early as possible. Ask questions proactively like:
"Do you have any concerns that we can clear?"
“Are there any factors that are creating an obstacle in your decision-making?"
Remember, objections are obvious. But addressing them proactively and not avoiding them will help you to convert more potential customers into happy customers.
9 Best Techniques You Need for Handling Different Types of Objections
Objection handling is an art! And needs time to master it. So, we reached out to nine industry experts who shared their best techniques with us for you.
1. Using Battle Cards to Handle Objections
Battle cards are visual aids that compare your company's product with the competitor's. It's a frequently used objection handling process. Starting from pricing to features to services, a battle card gives a quick overview of how you are fair against your competitors. These one-pager cards work as a great tool when your customers ask, "How is your tool better than X ( your competitor)?"
"We have created battle cards that we use - these help us differentiate ourselves from any of our competitors. Our battle cards have helped us immensely, and we see 7-8% more conversions happening when we use these cards - they are also used as collaterals to send along with emails after discussions."
2. Focus on Offering Value to Build Trust and Credibility
While the product's price, the available options, and the need for the product is some clear drivers for sales, sales reps need to focus more on offering value to their prospects to build trust and credibility.
"Every sales situation is different, and so is every sales objection. B2B or B2C, I believe every sale involves a huge humane influence, and hence objection handling should also be weighed heavily on the same. While Price, Need/Want, Options available, etc., are most certainly the visible drivers, for me – value offered, trust you build around deliverance of the same, and flexibility of engagement basically nails the crux of it for me. Continuous Communication is key to ensuring these aspects of objection handling and key to it."
3. Embrace an Outward-Inward Approach
Common sales objection occurs predominantly because Sales reps and AEs are more concerned with selling their product and hitting their monthly target. They hardly attempt to understand the customer's requirements and pain points. This is known as the inward-outward sales approach. But sales reps, you need to know that prospects are not interested in their solution or waiting there to buy your product. They're interested in solving their problem, so as sales reps, you need to build an outward-inward approach.
"I encourage my sales teams to adopt an outward-inward approach by:
- Building an active listening skill to empathize with the customer.
- Brutally be honest —- if you don't have features or services that the customer is looking for, just say it across the table even if the same is on the road map after a year. We even recommend our competitors if need be, and we have seen that customers respect us for authenticity. You build trust in the long run.
- Give more than what you get paid by the customer. Your true worth is determined by how much you give in value than you take in payment.
4. Practice Mirroring
Sales mirroring is a technique that salespeople use in objection handling. In this technique, the salespeople mimic the prospect's verbal and nonverbal communication cues. Mirroring helps to build rapport as the customer feels heard and valued.
"When we encounter objections in sales, the first step should be to pause and let the other person finish making his or her point and then respond by mirroring.
Once you've truly understood a prospect's objection, you'll want to reframe the objection as an opportunity to solve bigger underlying problems that are causing the true objection.
For example, if a prospect objects to pricing, you should focus on the "payoff" of your solution; whether that is time-savings, the revenue your product can help generate, long-term cost-savings in exchange for an upfront investment, or other value your product can create for the company.."
5. Ask Follow-Up Questions Before Responding to an Objection
"The one technique spoken about the least when handling objections is active listening and asking open-ended questions back. 95% of sellers listen to answers but never listen to understand. Within my team, we have a rule —- we never answer the objection till we have asked at least two follow-up questions, which has to be "why did you think x could be a challenge." Understanding why the prospect asked a specific question rather than jumping to an answer is critical.
6. Validate the Objection
Once you understand the concern of the customer, validate them. This is an empathetic approach, and it helps in building trust. Of course, that doesn't mean you talk down your product, but by validating their concerns, you're acknowledging their feelings.
"Don't just brush off the objection or interrupt the client. Show that you appreciate their feedback and that their objection is valid. This demonstrates that you respect their opinion and are willing to address their concerns. For example, if the prospect is concerned about implementing your tool in their existing system, validate it by saying “yes, we understand. Integrating a new tool in your existing system is a concern, but we have a sound customer service team who has managed similar integrations in the past and can help you with seamless integration."
7. Do Your Research
Objection handling is an art; every objection in the early phase of the sales cycle should be considered an opportunity. Before responding to any objection, do your research well and be prepared with a convincing answer.
"Prepare well in advance, do comprehensive research on the buyer, company, and competition, as well as the macro environment around so that any pushback can be converted to a healthy dialogue. To do so, ask questions to clarify and understand, listen and empathize, and finally provide a thoughtful, tailored, and concise response, and you will see dealing with objections is fun and rewarding."
8. Begin with a Compliment
Objection handling can be frustrating. But as a sales rep, it's important to maintain your cool while handling an objection. Always begin with a compliment before addressing the objection.
"That's a good question! Let me see if I can answer it for you."
9. Poke the Bear
When sending a cold email to a prospect, it may fall flatter, but asking neutral questions gets the prospect to think differently about their current solution. This is what is known as poking the bear. Here are some examples of how you can use them in your pitch.
"How do you know if your Stripe account is losing revenue without you knowing it?"
"If you run an MVR quarterly, how do you know violations aren't occurring between pulls?"
"How do you know you're not being overcharged for shipping?"
Script Templates to Overcome Sales Objections
Sales objections are real, and all salespeople face them. That's part of the industry. So, if you're facing objections, don't feel dismayed! But you can turn the table using different objection-handling techniques, tips, and scripts discussed in this article.