An important part of the sales process involves what you do when things do not go as planned. For every person who will be happy to buy into what you have to offer, there will be a similar number who have questions and concerns before they are comfortable making a buying decision. Handling objections is a natural part of the sales process. If you want to succeed, you need to learn how to both discover and resolve these concerns in the most effective way possible.
In order to handle sales objections effectively, you need to understand where your prospects are coming from. Each person is different with different concerns and motivations. While there are common objections, your response to objections will vary depending on the personality style of the person. There are 5 basic communication strategies that will help you better understand the person and the situation. Communication is key and understanding is paramount to building a relationship that can navigate objections successfully.
1. Do Your Research Beforehand
In order to handle objections effectively, you must do your research beforehand. If you are familiar enough with the product or service you are selling, you probably know some of the most commonly asked questions. Do your research before speaking to someone - you will be able to anticipate and think through concerns they might have, enabling you to better prepare.
2. Stay Calm and Be Empathetic
It's important to remain calm and empathic if someone is asking tough questions. Don't take it personally. Let them know that it's natural to have questions and that you completely understand. You want to help them feel comfortable, so try to understand the situation from their perspective.
3. Ask Open Ended Questions
When there is a concern, your first responsibility is to make sure you understand what they are asking and why. Never assume. Open-ended questions create an opportunity for your prospect to share more information and expand on their thoughts and concerns. Listen and take notes on their answers. Be silent instead of jumping in to speak. Give them space to talk about what’s on their mind.
4. Acknowledge Concerns
Repeat their concerns back to them so that you can be sure you understand them correctly. On this basis, they want to fill that they are heard and understood. Don’t automatically jump to answers or comebacks, as that creates an adversarial tone to the conversation. They need to know that you are on their side, helping them find solutions that address their concerns.
Underlying Concerns Behind Objections
At their root, most sales objections can be traced back to a few core concerns. Knowing what the underlying issue is will help you more successfully address that objection.
Lack of Budget
Most objections will be based on price, which is understandable since all purchases involve some degree of financial risk. The risk must be worth the reward. Show them ROI. Providing value to a prospect and painting a vivid picture of where your solution will take them will enable you to convince them that the risk is well worth taking.
Lack of Trust
People are naturally more inclined to conduct business with people they trust. If they don’t know you or if your company is new to them, realize that they want to trust the relationship. Are there referrals you can provide from other customers, or can you share information that answers some of their questions? Always follow up and do what you say you’ll do. Trust is built in big ways and in small ways throughout the entire process.
Lack of Need
Uncovering need is an important part of the sales process. People won’t buy what they don’t believe they need - and their perception is reality…until you uncover a new reality. Never assume need, but ask carefully selected questions that reveal needs that prospects may not have realized they had until they spoke with you.
Lack of Urgency
Prospects may agree that they need your product or service, but they are not convinced they need it right now. Don’t assume that just because a prospect wants to buy your product or service, they want to do it now. Ask questions to clarify their sense of the timeline and then ask more questions to understand why they want to wait.
Common Sales Objections
Your interactions with prospects are likely to involve a number of the following common objections. The specific words you use can vary, but their general categories can be identified:
- "Your product is simply too expensive."
- "We're already working with another vendor."
- "We just have too much going on at the moment."
- "I've never heard of your company before."
- "Your service just isn't a priority right now."
- "I don't see the potential for return on investment."
- "I'm just not interested."
- "Call me back next quarter and we'll see if things have changed.”
How to Overcome Sales Objections
The best way to overcome sales objections is to take a multi-faceted approach, as each situation is unique. Below are a few tips for overcoming sales objections.
- Actively listen to what the prospect has to say.
- Verify that you understand the prospect's concern by repeating it back to them.
- Be sure to convey that you understand their concerns.
- Continue the discussion by asking follow-up questions.
- Demonstrate value by providing examples of real-life use cases.
- Set a specific follow-up date and time.
The key to handling objections is to anticipate them. Don’t get frustrated when a prospect gives you an objection. Rather, practice answering them so that when they do come up, you can calmly respond. Understand that it isn’t personal. It’s a natural part of the sales process. Your job is to clear the way in helping a prospect feel comfortable buying from you.