handling objectionsOvercoming Sales Objections – what you need to know

by Diane Banister

An objection is a barrier.

It is what a customer or prospect uses as a reason for not buying from you…. or to get rid of you.

How you respond to that objection can win or lose you the sale.

Here are the crucial things you need to know about overcoming sales objections

Why do buyers object?

All objections are not created equal:-

An objection can be

  • a genuine reason why they would not proceed “I’m just not sure about this”
  • a negotiating stance – “if I object to the price, he might knock some money off”
  • to get rid of you as a salesperson “I’m happy with my existing supplier” (oh no! someone else trying to sell me something I don’t want)

Don’t let them be a sales-stopper

Sales objections are a bit like angry customers, make sure you don’t get any in the first place.  If you’ve really taken an interest in the client and their business, and had a quality conversation, you’ll minimise the objections.

“What are your concerns?”  is a really neglected question that can uncover where the prospect or buyer is at, and enable you to address their concerns before they become a “sale-stopper”

That said there’s still some things any sales person needs to know about handling objections.

when does the objection occur?When does the objection occur?

The type of objection and therefore your approach depends when they come:

  • early in the sales process ( prospecting )
  • during the sales process ( selling )
  • or at the end of the buying process ( closing and negotiation ).

Overcoming Sales Objections In Prospecting

reaching prospectsWhen you are prospecting you’ll need to find the right person to speak with.

For more on getting past gatekeepers, have a look at this post or check out our Go to Guide for Reaching Decision Makers

If you’ve put all the good ideas in our Go To Guide into practice, and you’ve reached the Decision Maker, the objections you’re likely to be faced with early in the sales process are:-

The Loyalty objection

“I’m happy with my existing supplier”

The I want to get rid of you objection

“that’s not something we would be interested in” ( the straight to the point I want to get rid of you )

“Can you send me some information?” ( the polite I want to get rid of you )

The Budget objection

“We don’t have any budget set aside for this”

Avoiding these objections

You will be contacting busy people and disrupting their day.

How do you approach that?

Do you need to review that – have you become apologetic; expecting them to respond to you as an interruption?

Have a look at what you say at the beginning of the conversation with the prospect, whether that’s in your emails, your voicemails, ( you do leave them don’t you? ) or your telephone conversationsvalue propositon

  • How well does that convey how you help your customers and clients?
  • How have you made that relevant to this prospect?
  • What’s your hook?

It’s vital that you are able to articulate quickly your value proposition and you need to tailor that to the person you are speaking with.

In other words you need to condense what you have to offer this prospect in one or two sentences.

  • How can you grab their attention, challenge their thinking, and set yourself apart from your competitors?
  • What are the most common challenges your prospects experience?
  • How can you help?
  • How can you convey that in one or two sentences at the beginning of a conversation?

There’s more on leaving voicemail messages in our ‘Go To Guide To Reaching Decision Makers’.

If you’d like some help crafting your value proposition why not get in touch?

Overcoming objections in prospecting

The loyalty objection

“I’m happy with my existing supplier”

If you hear this a lot, you’ve got to work on your introduction – your opening statement – your value proposition.

Your prospects are busy – why would they stop what they are doing to have a conversation with you about your products and services when they already have that covered?

Sales people

What sets you apart from your competitors?

What is it that you REALLY sell?

How can you condense this into a couple of sentences that get the prospect thinking?

What’s your hook, to start the conversation?

Sales Leaders

You’ve spent time planning your sales strategy – how well equipped are your sales people in converting that strategy into conversations that deliver you the results you need?

What do they need to be saying that will set you apart?

How will you communicate that to them?

How will you develop their confidence in delivering that message?

How do you help your people enthuse about what your products and services mean to your customers?

What story do they tell?

How compelling is it?

If you’d like them to have an intelligent dialogue with your customers and prospects, let’s talk. We’ll take the time to understand the issues you are facing, and help you think through how you can develop the approach that you need. Call us on 0845 450 0988 or get in touch here

The I want to get rid of you objection

Depending on how the prospect is feeling they might be direct and straight to the point, or a little more polite.

Straight to the point I want to get rid of you – “That’s not something we would be interested in”

The polite I want to get rid of you – “Can you send me some information?”

Again, we need to pay attention to the timing of the objections. When these objections arise will determine how we respond.

Before the value proposition

If it’s before you’ve been able to introduce yourself and your value proposition – they just want to get rid of you. It wouldn’t matter who is calling. It is not a good time for the call. You are an irritant ( and that may be nothing to do with you )

This can stop you in your tracks. How can they object when they don’t know why you are phoning?

Overcoming the “straight to the point I want to get rid of you” objection

“that’s not something we would be interested in”

Your job here is to understand why.

There might be a real reason why they are not ready to buy from you or to have a conversation, it may be that they don’t understand the value that you bring.

Make sure you assure them you won’t take up much time. What’s your version of these?

“I don’t want to take up your time unnecessarily, could you help me to understand why that is please?”

“I don’t want to take up your time, I know it’s precious, can I ask why that is….?”

Overcoming “the polite I want to get rid of you” objection

“Can you send me some information?”

Before you spend time and energy sending out information that will never be read, explore a little more.

If you have been able to condense your value proposition into two sentences, then you can respond with confidence. What’s your version of this?

“Can we just take a minute now for me to explain what we do, and you can decide if information would be useful for you?”

“Can we take just a minute now for me to explain what we do, and you can decide what information would be most useful for you?”

After your value proposition

If it’s after you’ve delivered your value proposition, you are just not communicating your sales message powerfully enough. Work on what you say and how you deliver it.

Need some coaching? – we offer one to one sessions where we work with clients to help them develop their sales messages and their sales approach. Bringing results by developing confidence, working with your sales style and focusing on the action you can take which will bring results; get in touch here

Budget objection

“We don’t have any budget set aside for this”

In most cases prospects don’t sit with their budget waiting for a phone call so that they can spend it.

Your response will depend on what you are selling and your sales process, and for some of you, budget might be part of your lead qualification process ( BANT – there’s more on this later ).

Dig a bit further – how do they allocate budget for your products and services? What is their buying process which you need to align yourself to?

Have they spent their budget for this year? When would be a good time to be back in touch?

Try

“That’s OK, we weren’t expecting that you would buy straight away.  We’ve been helping companies like yours……..value proposition…….. and I’d really like to discuss what we are doing and see if that could help you…….”

Overcoming Sales Objections In The Sales Process

trigger sales objectionsHow aware are you of when and how you trigger a sales objection?

We need to develop the awareness to understand what it is in our sales approach that may cause objections to arise.

We need to minimise the objections along the way, ( the false ones – the red herrings ) and explore with confidence the real reasons why someone may not want to buy.

Here’s where you need to get honest with yourself.

It actually may not be your product, your service, your company that causes the objection – it may be you! It may be your approach, your style, your presentation of your product, your timing, the way you were with that customer on that day.

It may be that you rely on your relationship with the account and fail to deliver your sales message in a way that resonates with your customers and prospects. They see you as a nice person, trustworthy, you’ve been visiting them for years, and then they buy from someone else and you didn’t know there was an opportunity.

There’s some good news about this – you can put it right. You’re unlikely to be able to change your products, your service levels, your pricing, but you have your sales approach in your power. And the good news is that you are reading this, and we’re adding resources like this all the time.

What gives a sales person the edge?

Good sales people understand people, they understand themselves, and they understand the dynamics that are happening as they happen. They are interested in their customers, and know how they can help them.

Developing awareness and understanding about our sales approach and how it affects potential buyers strengthens our confidence along the sales process.

Our attitude to objections can affect the sale, and over time our resilience.

We can capitulate and start to believe the objections we hear. Perhaps our products really are too expensive, our lead times too long etc. If only the company changed its products and services then we could sell more.

Or we can be combative, “I’ll show that prospect…….” And while a bit of fire to win the sale does no harm, you will never win an argument with a prospect.

When your frustration starts to boil over, or you start believing some of what you hear constantly, it’s time to take a step back and think about what you can do to win more sales, and overcome the objections you encounter along the way.

If you’d like help getting your sales mojo back, we can help, get in touch to talk about our sales coaching rally useful for sales people who’ve had lots of sales training, but want to focus on their approach and what would make a difference for them. Call us on 0845 450 0988 or get in touch here

Here’s some ways to help you minimise sales objections during the sales process and deal with the ones you do face. Real techniques that work in the real world.

The Golden Rule – Think before you respond

handling sales objectionsIf you say the same thing to different customers, then your sales message could come across as a well-rehearsed “spiel”.

A buyer will spot this, they’ll be left cold.

How do you make a buyer feel during your conversations?

What do you say, and how do you deliver it?

None of us like being sold to; most of us like help to buy.

Take the time to think through your response to an objection.

Exploring an objection with the customer or prospect, will help them see that the benefits of using your product and service outweighs any risk they may perceive.

Follow these simple steps, to think through what the customer or client is really saying to you:-

Listen

A mistake that sales people make is to hear a few words of an objection ( which we will have encountered before ), remember the script and kick into the spiel that counters the objection.

This isn’t, as Stephen Covey would say, listening to understand the customer. It’s proving you know the answer, the answer you want to give rather than the answer the customer wants to hear. You are countering their objection; blocking it, you are not overcoming it; you’ve just hit the ball back over the net.

This will not build the relationship, and will probably not gain you the sale.

Buy yourself thinking time

We often feel that we have to know the answer to an objection immediately, especially if it is month or quarter end when those sales seem to matter more.

The smart, quick answer can be counter-productive; stop and think what the prospect is really saying to you.

Restating or summarising your understanding of their concerns buys you a bit of thinking time. It also demonstrates you have been listening, that you want to get it right for the customer.

Explore

Some objections aren’t objections they are just questions that the prospect needs answering.

If they are discussed earlier in the sales conversation, they feel like questions that can be explored, rather than a ‘sales-stopper’ near the close.

Exploring those and building the relationship, enables customers to share their concerns with you and gives you an opportunity to solve their problem.

Help

Present your solution. Find ways to demonstrate how your suggestions will help the buyer and their particular circumstances. If you are saying the same things to all your buyers, take some time to think through a more connected and tailored response.

Ask for feedback – did your suggestions help them and satisfy their requirements?

More golden rules for overcoming sales objections

Make sure they don’t happen

Spend time understanding the customer, their concerns and their wants from the service or product you are selling.

The more you understand that early in the process, the less likely you are to encounter a “sales-stopper” towards the end of the sales process, when you should be closing.

Avoid objections by relating to the buyer

If you know your products and services inside out; how well do you translate them for the buyer you are speaking with?

Think about your style when speaking with a prospect, could anything you say put them off?

If someone is expressing a concern about your product or service, then you have not been able to explain your products and services in a way that resonates with them.

You have more work to do.

How do you help buyers to buy?

What messages do resonate with what types of buyer?

If you consistently meet with the same objection, it’s worth reviewing what happened earlier in the conversation – are you causing the objection by not fully exploring the prospect’s needs, or not explaining your product or service in a way that the prospect can relate to?

If you have a sound sales conversation that resonated with the buyer, understand things from their point of view and explain how you can help them, you are less likely to encounter objections.

You may uncover some concerns that the customer or prospect has, but you are unlikely to encounter the big “show stopper” objection because you have done your homework and laid solid foundations for the sale.

You’ll also have developed the relationship and built trust, setting yourself apart from your competitors.

Refine your sales process

Regardless of your territory, product or service, it is unlikely, that you will have a basis to do business with everyone you speak to.

Spend your time wisely – before leaping into costly and time consuming face to face activity, take time to qualify and evaluate the lead.

Often referred to as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timescale) this helps you to understand where the prospect stands:-

  • is it a speculative enquiry?
  • how serious are they about buying?
  • do they have the budget in place?
  • are you dealing with a decision maker?
  • will you have access to the decision maker during the buying process?
  • when do they want to buy?

If the answer to any these questions is no, or the timescale is protracted or vague, you must have a clear value proposition that will challenge and convince them to buy.

If you don’t, several prospects of this type will block your sales pipeline.

Your time is finite, spend it where you have most impact.

This is one of the most important things in your sales effectiveness – spend time where you will get most payoff.

Taking a genuine interest in the buyer, ask questions that get them thinking as well as uncovering useful information for you.

Objection handling techniques depend on what you are selling.

One size doesn’t fit all.

As a rule of thumb, the more complex the sale the more you need to understand and address the concerns of the prospect or buyer.

Where there is a complex sale or the need to build a long term relationship, trust is a crucial factor.

What can you do to build your prospect’s trust in you and what you are selling?

What do you do that might jeopardise that trust e.g. over-promise, under-deliver?

How able are you to have a business conversation about the real challenges that you can help with?

How reliable are you?

How credible are you?

How focused are you on the buyer and their needs ( or on your own agenda?)

Think Buying Process Not Sales Process

Often buyers will look at several options before they decide to buy, and most will have done a little research before they buy. This is one of the ways the internet has changed the buying process and the sales dynamic.

81% of consumers carry out online research before they buy. (Minewhat.com), and there is increasing evidence that this is true for b2b buyers who buy on line.

Understanding the “decision journey” of a buyer, will help you think about what good should look like at each stage, and what you can do to gain the buyers trust and minimise their perception of risk at each stage in the process.

Just as how this buying process has changed, how you or your sales people connect with the buyer in their buying process needs updating. Buyers are less tolerant of people who want to fact-find information that is available on their website.

You need to do your homework, and that includes preparing so that your meetings have impact and capture the buyer’s attention.

Your approach

The way you present your products and services, and build the customer relationship can set you and your company apart from your competitors.

If your style is to push your products and services, talking at a customer rather than with them, you are more likely to encounter objections.

People react negatively to being pushed.

Lots of sales people think buyers hate pushy sales people, because they hate pushy sales people. We often sell in the way we want to be sold to. The art is to sell in the way the buyer wants to be sold to.

If we believe that people react negatively to being pushed, the trap we fall into is that we stop promoting as we see this as being pushy.

The opposite of being pushy is not to stop pushing. The opposite of being pushy is to pull – to attract people to your product and service. That’s a learned skill for most people.

For most of us, the art of growing your sales pipeline, bringing in sales on time, every month or every quarter, is in managing the activity that helps people buy – rather than pushing products to hit your sales numbers.

Want to learn more about push and pull as an influencing style, and explore which is most appropriate for your sales process? Then get in touch with us now.

Want to develop the confidence and skills to put these ideas and more into practice in front of customers? Call us now on 0845 450 0988.

Good sales leaders will invest time helping their sales people feel confident in overcoming the objections they face. That may or may not involve training. We want you to be more confident in your sales messages – get in touch now to discuss how you can develop the sales conversations of your people that reflect your brand and bring the results you require.

Diane BanisterDiane Banister is the MD of Intelligent Dialogue.

With nearly 30 years b2b sales experience, Diane makes sure we deliver relevant training and development programmes which build skills and confidence that work in the real world.

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