What is a Sales Objection?
A sales objection is the buyer explicitly or implicitly expressing a hesitation in proceeding with the sale. It may be in the form of hesitation, excuses, doubt or even irritation.
The top sales reps respond to objections by asking questions – at a rate of 54.3% of the time compared to 31% for average sales reps. – Gong Labs
As you look to set and achieve big sales and revenue goals, one concern that may arise with your sales team is how to handle common sales objections.
Typical sales objections include:
- “Your services cost too much”
- “I’m okay with the way things are working right now”
- “It’s too risky to change the way we’ve been doing things for the last number of years”
- “We are too busy to take this on right now”
…and the list goes on!
Whether you have been in sales for a few months or a few decades, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some or all these sales objections at least once. But these objections don’t always have to end with a “no.” If you know how to handle them, you can transform their concerns into reasons they’re even more excited to buy your service or product.
Four Tips for Handling Sales Objections
Handling sales objections such as these can become the primary obstacle preventing your business from achieving new and ambitious sales targets. Understanding what is stopping your potential customers from purchasing your product or service and then having a plan to tackle the specific objections will help you close the next deal.
Use this four-step model to handle objections below to ensure you are on the right track by asking questions — the right questions.
1. Active Listening
This is the first and most important step to understand exactly what type of sales objection you are encountering. Is the issue one of price, complacency, timing, trust, or fear of change? Listen first to understand what the objection is before formulating a plan to overcome it.
Active listening is a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your prospect in a positive way. It is the process of listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting on what is said, and withholding judgment and advice.
When you practice active listening, you make the other person feel heard and valued. It’s a solid foundation for any successful conversation in any setting, not only in sales.
Suspend judgment during your conversation with your prospect. Ideally, you want to get to the bottom of what their primary challenges and sales objections are currently. Ask clarifying questions (open-ended questions used to probe and gain further understanding) and don’t interrupt during their response.
Continuing to paraphrase to ensure you have demonstrated the correct understanding of the objection is a good step to add to the conversation. Another good technique, besides asking open-ended questions, is asking multiple-choice questions. This becomes an easy way for your prospect to select a response and not have to think about all the possibilities when making a choice. It takes practice, and the questions must be relevant to the product or service you sell.
Empathy can help you connect not only with your employees or fellow team members but also with your customers. Take a look at this post next to learn more about forming these connections: Communication for Everyone – How to Connect with External and Internal Customers
After you have listened carefully to your prospects’ challenges and have asked the right questions, it is okay to tolerate silence as you reflect on what the next steps may be. Remind yourself ten seconds of silence may feel like minutes, but the opportunity to reflect can avoid a negative decision.
You may also paraphrase some of their responses, once again, to confirm you understand their situation and what their unique goals and challenges are.
Your response must focus on the unique value of your products and services that the customer will not be able to receive from any other provider.
“How is your product or service remarkable or superior to your competitors?”
Know your competition and when making comparisons, state the facts, not your feelings or opinions about them.
Summarize the features, benefits, and strongest needs based on the prospect’s challenges and confidently propose a realistic next step.
Keep in mind, features are facts and do not change from prospect to prospect. The product is red, or the course is four hours. The benefits, however, change for each prospect. That is why determining needs is so critical. If a prospect is looking for a blue product, a red one has no benefit. If a prospect is looking for a two-day course, a short version will not be a benefit.
Of course, the way you respond will relate directly to your communication style. In this post, we cover helpful information about identifying different communication styles in sales and service
These four steps require practice and exceptional product knowledge. Product knowledge may be what separates one objection from the other, and often the best technique is to overcome the common objection in advance.
If it is a common objection, brag about it in a positive way. Do not hope it will not become a question or an issue. But be sure you can explain the benefits.
“Make the handling of objections an integral and expected part of your selling sequence” – Tom Hopkins
Remember, sales is like painting a picture of your prospect using your product or service before they consider buying. With your ability to engage, keep painting that picture as it relates to their needs until you meet the engagement needed to overcome the objection.
Do not be afraid of the word, NO. Learn, practice, and use these techniques to turn the word NO, in to a YES.