by Diane Banister
An objection is a barrier.
It is what a customer or prospect uses as a reason not to buy from you…. or to get rid of you.
Over the years we’ve been asked to teach objection handling techniques to sales and inside sales people. And there is some logic to that; how you respond to an objection can win or lose the sale.
But the one important thing that any sales rep can do is understand why they cause the objection in the first place.
It’s worth repeating – what are you doing or not doing which is causing the resistance in the sales process.
The more you are able to build a sales process that reflects the world of your prospects or leads the fewer objections your will face.
You’ll still meet them, but if you can hone your sales skills to reduce them, or identify objections that are valid; real reasons why that prospect can’t proceed you’ll win more work.
Why do buyers object?
All sales 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)
You can control all of those.
If the prospect isn’t sure about your offer; then work on your offer; and how you articulate this with a customer.
If this is a negotiating stance; a price objection to get you to reduce costs, again you can develop your sales conversations to reduce the number of this type of objection and achieve the outcome you want.
And if it’s to get rid of you; then you need to be stronger earlier, and really in tune with your offer and what it does for tour potential buyers. If you don’t understand their pain; then how can you help them, or convince them you can help them.
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.”
The timing of an objection is key.
The type of objection and therefore your approach depends when they come:
- early in the sales process ( prospecting )
- during the sales process ( selling )
- at the end of the buying process ( closing and negotiation ).
Overcoming Sales Objections In Prospecting
When you are prospecting you’ll need to find the right person to speak with. The internet has given us the tools to refine our research, and linkedin continues to be useful to help you research and refine.
If you’ve put all the good ideas in our Go To Guide into practice, and you’ve reached the Decision Maker, some of the objections you’re likely to be faced with early in the sales process are:-
The Loyalty objection or the seemingly loyal objection
“I’m happy with my existing supplier”
This might be true, or it might be a polite way of getting rid of you.
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?
- 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 quickly articulate 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? Where is their pain – how can you get their attention by talking about it?
- How can you help?
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?
What sets you apart from your competitors?
What is it that you REALLY sell?
What pain can you take away?
How can you condense this into a couple of sentences that get the prospect thinking?
What’s your hook, to start the conversation?
You’ve spent time planning your sales strategy – how well equipped are your sales people to convert that strategy into conversations that deliver 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 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 this?
“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 the 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
“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 the buying process you need to align yourself with?
Have they spent their budget for this year? When would be a good time to be back in touch?
“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
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 control.
What gives a sales person the edge?
Good sales people understand people, they understand themselves, and they understand the dynamics 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, really 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
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 or service outweighs any risk they may perceive.
Follow these simple steps, and think through what the customer or client is really saying to you:-
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.
Some objections aren’t objections they are just questions that the prospect needs answering.
If they are discussed early 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.
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
Refine your sales process
Regardless of your territory, product or service, it is unlikely 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Good sales leaders will invest time helping their sales people feel confident in overcoming the objections they face.
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.
Call us now on 0845 450 0988.
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.