To be successful, sales leaders must learn how to both discover and resolve sales objections. The best way to overcome sales objections is to identify and remove the friction that’s acting as a hurdle for your client. Every salesperson should be prepared with some quick and smart response to the common objections raised by the customer.
In this blog, we’ll take you through the common sales objections faced by a salesperson and how to respond smartly to those objections.
Table of contents:
- What is a sales objection?
- How to respond to sales objections?
- What are the 5 most common types of sales objections?
- How to respond to sales objections based on price and/or budget?
- How to respond to sales objections based on competition?
- How to respond to objections based on authority and ability to buy?
- How to respond to sales objections based on need and fit?
- How to respond to sales objections based on “brush offs”?
What is a sales objection?
Sales objections are explicit expressions by a buyer about a barrier that exists between their current situation and the needs they require to be satisfied before they buy. Objections are frequently recognized as opinion-based (e.g., they begin with first-person pronouns, “I” and “We”).
Objections can be genuine concerns of customers or could be a lie or manipulation to stop the conversation. Whatever the case is, a good salesperson’s job is to handle the objection and turn it into an opportunity. It's also important to distinguish between sales objections and brush-offs. While objections are authentic, brush-offs are excuses. Think of an objection as, "I see the value in your product, but I'm not sure about buying it for X reason," while a brush-off translates to, "I don't want to talk to you." Objections are far more serious than brush-offs.
How to respond to sales objections?
Nothing is more dangerous to a deal than letting sales objections go unaddressed until the final stages. The longer the buyer holds an opinion, the harder you'll have to fight to combat it.
Objections stand in the way of your offer and its acceptance by a buyer. An objection unaddressed, or even unsatisfactorily addressed, is likely to be a lost deal. When trying to overcome sales objectives, sales reps must respond appropriately and avoid reacting impulsively to your prospect’s objections. Here are some helpful strategies for how sales reps can overcome sales objections.
- Practice active listening - When your prospect is sharing their concerns with you, make sure you are using active listening skills to take in what they’re saying.
While your prospect discloses their objections, listen to understand, not respond. Avoid *interrupting them while they are speaking, and give them space to voice their concerns and objections freely.
- Repeat back what you hear - Once your prospect has stated their objections, repeat back what you heard to ensure you are understanding correctly. Not only will this help clarify their points for you, but it will also help your prospect feel heard and valued, which is important for building trust.
- Validate your prospect’s concerns - After you have confirmed you understand where your prospect is coming from, continue building trust by empathizing with your prospect, and validating their point of view. For example, if you are selling a sales automation software and your prospect is worried about their ability to implement your software into their complex system, you could say, "I understand, implementing new sales software can feel like a daunting task. Thankfully, we have an incredible tech team that has experience working with similar organizations, and can handle a seamless transition for you." With this response, you are acknowledging that their concern is valid, and you are offering a solution to mitigate their fears.
- Ask follow-up questions - When you hear objectives, you want to do all you can to keep the conversation going naturally. If you hear your prospect pulling back, asking follow-up questions can be a tactful way to keep them talking.
Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no". Make sure you ask open-ended questions that allow your prospect to continue expressing their thoughts on your product. The more information they provide, the more you have to work with to potentially turn the sale around.
- Leverage social proof - Depending on the nature of your prospect’s concern, sharing the story of another customer who had similar reservations and went on to see success with your product can be a successful approach. If you are in B2B sales, you can also share relevant information about your prospect’s competitors and any success they’ve seen from overcoming a similar objection.
- Set a specific date and time to follow-up - If your prospect asks for more time to think things over, give them the time and space to weigh their options. However, you don’t want to leave them hanging. Set up a specific time and date to follow-up shortly so too much time doesn’t pass, and offer to answer any questions they have in the meantime as they deliberate.
- Anticipate sales objections - Ultimately, the most effective strategy for handling sales objections is to anticipate them happening. When you are prepared to have objections come up, you’re far less likely to be thrown off your game.
Keeping track of all different kinds of sales objections you receive most is also helpful. Once you know what to expect, depending on the product and industry, you can devote extra time to practice and refine your responses.
Where in the sales process do objections usually occur?
Sales objections usually occur during or after the discovery stage but can happen at any point in the sales process (e.g., during prospect qualification, discovery call, and/or close).
What’s the difference between objections and qualifications in the sales process?
Qualification is ensuring that your prospects have the resources and incentive to buy your product. Objections deal with all the trivial things involved in what you’re selling.
Can an objection made during the earliest stages of the sales process (e.g., during prospect qualification) have any significant impact on later stages?
Yes. In large B2B deals, you will likely have more discovery calls and perhaps iterate on the proposal multiple times: these iterations are sometimes in response to objections you’ve overcome from different prospects in the same account.
What are the 5 most common types of sales objections?
Sales objections are generally around the price, product fitment, competitors, authority and good old-fashioned brush-offs.
- Authority/Ability to Buy
- Need and Fit
- Brush Offs
How to respond to sales objections based on price and/or budget?
1. Prospect: “It’s too expensive.”
Sales rep: “Do you have a budget for a product like this?”
Pricing objections are the most common type of objection by prospects. That's because purchases come with some level of financial risk. The moment you start focusing on price as a selling point, you risk the value your product can add to the prospect’s business. Do ask the prospect if they have budgeted an amount for your product and circle back to the product's value. Price-conscious prospects are more likely to result in high churn in the long run.
2. Prospect: There’s no money.
Sales rep: “When do you expect there will be money?”
Some prospects might not have the ability to buy and make the best use of your product right now because of their stage. It’s always good to nurture and keep in touch so that when the prospect is ready and the money is there to invest in new technologies for growth.
3. Prospect - “We don’t have any budget left.”
Sales rep: “When does your Fiscal Year-end?”
You want to know their FY since different industries have different fiscal years that start at different times. It’s good to know when is the right time and how you can help the prospect become an evangelist in his company to push for a budget to invest in your product.
4. Prospect: “I don’t want to get stuck in a contract.”
Sales rep: “Why not? Let me solve this for you.”
Contracts can often be altered to make everyone feel comfortable. Often a contract is as much for the customer’s benefit as the seller’s: find out why and adjust accordingly when possible. Find out if you can offer month-by-month or quarter-by-quarter payment instead of asking for a year or more commitment upfront.
5. Prospect: “I can get a cheaper version somewhere else.”
Sales rep: “Where? If you tell me what pricing you’re getting elsewhere, I can speak with our management team about staying competitive.”
You want to know as much as you can about what systems they have purchased/used in the past and how your product is better to solve the problem over a cheaper solution. In case you are dealing with competition here, lay out why you are better in terms of value and come to win-win pricing.
How to respond to sales objections based on competition?
6. Prospect: “I’m locked into a contract with a competitor.”
Sales rep: “When does it end?”
Often these are good prospects to put in your sales pipeline because you have more time to develop a relationship with them and once their contract is nearing the end you have a nice pathway in. You can also come with innovative discounted pricing models to offset the loss on an early switch to your product.
7. Prospect: “We’re already working with another vendor.”
Sales rep: “How is that working out?” or “How do you like them?” or “What’s your experience been with them thus far?”
You don’t have to create a need here. The need for your product already exists. Continue to ask open-ended questions until you hear a crack and be prepared to fill it by knowing how you stack up against the competition.
8. Prospect: “I’m happy with your competitor.”
Sales rep: “Which competitor? If you tell me what pricing you’re getting elsewhere, I can speak with our management team about staying competitive.”
Keep asking open-ended questions. There’s usually a crack somewhere that you can squeeze into. Sometimes you can offer a lesser, complimentary service to fill a void and once you have a foot in the door you can show flex and show your value.
9. Prospect: “Competitor X says [false statement about your product].”
Sales rep: “Hmm...They must be confused. I have [insert case study/document/datasheet/whitepaper/etc.] that shows otherwise.”
If you don’t have data, just be genuine: “I can assure you that’s not the case” and try to explain the misunderstanding.
How to respond to objections based on authority and ability to buy?
10. Prospect: “I’m not authorized to sign off on this.”
Sales rep: “How does the person who is, feel about it?”
Asking someone to elaborate on someone else’s opinions or feelings can make them connect you with the right person so they don’t have to put in the emotional burden of thinking about someone else.
11. Prospect: “[Person in charge of our budget] isn’t convinced.”
th “How do you feel about it?” Follow up with “What are their objections?” or “How can we change their minds?”
You want to know everything you can about who is in charge of the budget.
12. Prospect: “We’re being downsized/bought on.”
Sales rep: “What benefits or drawbacks do you see resulting from this?”
You want to know how this will affect the need for whatever it is you’re selling.
13. Prospect: “I can’t sell this internally.”
Sales rep: “What would it take to change that?”
14. Prospect: “I’m part of a buying group.”
Sales rep: “Great! A lot of companies can benefit from this. What is the best way to make sure you’re all getting to take advantage of Upscale’s sales automation software?”
How to respond to sales objections based on need and fit?
15. Prospect: “It’s just not important right now.”
Sales rep: Start with “Why?” and follow up with “When do you think it will be important?” or “Can I stay in touch so that when it becomes important you don’t have to do the legwork of researching a sales engagement software again?”
16. Prospect: “We don’t have the business plan.”
Sales rep: “We can be flexible with our contract until you have a better idea of direction: that way as you grow, Upscale will be a part of your company and can scale as you do.”
17. Prospect: “We’re doing great in this area.”
Sales rep: “I think we can help you do even better.”
18. Prospect: “We’re happy with the way things are.”
Sales rep: “What could make you happier?”
19. Prospect: “I’ve never heard of your company.”
Sales rep: “Check out what our customers have to say about us” and send them testimonials/white papers, etc.
20. Prospect: “Your product is just too complicated.”
Sales rep: “How could we simplify it?”
Ask your prospect what aspects of your product they're unclear on, then try explaining it differently. Alternatively, bring in a technician or product engineer to answer questions out of your depth. In this case, if it is too complicated, you’ll get some good feedback; if not, the true objection or misunderstanding will become uncovered quickly.
21. Prospect: “I’ve heard complaints about your company [factual ones]”
Sales rep: “Unfortunately not every interaction has been positive. But we have done [XYZ] to remedy those complaints and are always open to customer feedback.”
22. Prospect: “We don’t have the capacity to implement the product.”
Sales rep: “How can we help? We have an implementation team that can guide you through the process.”
If not, find some kind of solution (e.g., maybe moving slower than normal or making sure as their account manager you’re super hands-on).
23. Prospect: “You don’t understand my challenges. I need help with X, not Y.”
Sales rep: “I’m sorry I did not communicate adequately - this product can help [X] by helping [Y] in these ways…”
24. Prospect: “Your product doesn’t have X feature, and we need it”.
Sales rep: “You’re right, it does not. However, we’ve seen other customers use [X] to fill in the gap and it’s worked great for them.”
If you don’t have that feature perhaps offer an alternative.
25. Prospect: “You don’t get my business.”
Sales rep: “I understand it takes a LOT to comprehend the ins and outs of your business. What do you think I’m missing?”
26. Prospect : “I don’t see the potential for ROI.”
Sales rep: “Can you share your analysis with me? I’d be happy to take a look and break down your gains from using our product.”
27. Prospect: “Your product doesn’t work with our current setup.”
Sales rep: “What about your setup is incompatible? We have tailored our solution to fit [X] amount of different environments.”
28. Prospect: “It’s just a fad.”
Sales rep: “I can understand why you’d feel that way: research we’ve done indicates that the industry is moving in this direction and integrating this solution will not only save you money in the long run but ensures you won’t have to make big internal changes once you do decide to implement.”
How to respond to sales objections based on “brush offs”?
29. Prospect: “Click.”
Sales rep: Try them one more time to make sure it wasn’t just a technical error.
30. Prospect: “I am not interested.”
Sales rep: “That’s all right, Mr. [Prospect Name], I understand why you may feel that this is not of any interest to you; CLIENT XYZ told me the same thing and now he is using our solution to improve their closing rates. I understand that improving closing rate is an important KPI for your business as well - can you share with me why improving these metrics is not of any interest to you at this time?"
This kind of sales objection is generally an impulsive response to a sales pitch and rarely has anything to do with you. These types of objections are not very serious either. Prospects tend to do this when they feel the salesperson is taking away their time.
The best way to deal with this is to not contradict them. First empathize with them, telling them that you understand how they feel. Then tell them about somebody who felt the same way. Next, tell them how that other person found buying the product was a very beneficial thing to do.
31. Prospect: “Just send me some information over.”
Sales rep: “I’d be happy to email our information over to you. [Prospect’s name], I have a 100-page product feature eBook that I can email you, but do you mind if I ask you just a couple of quick questions so I can only send you that part that you’d be most interested in?”
32. Prospect: “Your product sounds great, but I’m too swamped right now.”
Sales rep: “When’s a better time?”
33. Prospect: “I’m busy right now.”
Sales rep: “I’m free to speak to you day or night. Is there a better time to call back?”
34. Prospect: “How did you get my information?”
Sales rep: “From [X] who indicated you could avoid [the common problem you solve] by integrating [product].”
35. Prospect: “I hate you.”
Sales rep: “That’s okay! Do you need [product]?”