Virtually every prospect you speak to has sales objections or reasons they're hesitant to buy your product — if they didn't have reservations about your solution's price, value, relevance to their situation, or their purchasing ability, they would have already bought it.
Objection handling is a natural part of selling, but it can be a significant roadblock when you're trying to move prospects through the pipeline. You might even be tempted to accept the objections and send a breakup email straightaway. But you need to learn how to both discover and resolve these concerns if you're going to be successful.
When objections arise, it isn't the time to give up — it's time to reemphasize your product's value. In this post, you'll learn everything you need to know about objection handling, including ways to rebut common objections.
- What is a sales objection?
- Handling Objections
- An Effective Method for Objection Handling – LAER: The Bonding Process®
- Why is objection handling important?
- Types of Sales Objections
- How to Overcome Sales Objections
- Common Sales Objections
What is a sales objection?
A sales objection is any concern a prospect raises in reference to a barrier obstructing their ability to buy from you – an explicit indication that you have to address more aspects of the buying process than you initially anticipated.
A typical sales objection stems from a buyer's "lack" of a certain capacity. Prospects object to a sale when they don't believe they have the resources, interest, need, or ability to buy from you at a given time.
While they represent one of the trickier, more frustrating elements of sales, by no means are objections dead ends by default. Let's take a closer look at how you can overcome these potential roadblocks.
What is objection handling?
Objection handling is when a prospect presents a concern about the product/service a salesperson is selling, and the salesperson responds in a way that alleviates those concerns and allows the deal to move forward. Objections are generally around price, product fit, or competitors. Sometimes, the objection is a good old-fashioned brush-off.
Objection handling means responding to the buyer in a way that changes their mind or alleviates their concerns.
Some reps argue with their prospects or try to pressure them into backing down, but that kind of strong-arming isn't true objection handling. In those cases, prospects typically end up more convinced than ever of their position — and those salespeople wind up undermining the trust and rapport they've developed with them.
Instead of telling your prospect they're wrong, help them come to a different conclusion on their own accord. And if you can't persuade them, that's a good sign they're a poor fit.
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.
Handling objections is a natural, frustrating fact of sales life. Carrying out the process involves certain actions and skills that every salesperson should have a grip on. Those include having situational awareness, accruing background information, leading with empathy, and asking thoughtful, open-ended questions.
Having Situational Awareness
There's no default, magic objection handling formula that fits any and all concerns a prospect might bring up. You need to have a solid feel for where you're at in your sales process, the nature of the deal you're pursuing, and your prospect's needs and interests — among other factors.
Understanding the circumstances that are shaping a prospect's objections is central to addressing them effectively. That's why you need to maintain situational awareness as your conversations with each prospect progress.
Accruing Extensive Background Information
This point is a natural extension of the one above — extensive background information informs effective, actionable situational awareness. Thoroughly research your prospect's company and, to a certain extent, the prospect themself.
What challenges is the company currently facing? What issues do the prospect's industry peers consistently run into? If you've already worked with organizations of similar scale, try to recall the objections they raised.
And in the case of your contact, understand their role. What is their decision-making authority? What aspects of the company's operations do they touch on a day-to-day basis? What does someone in their position typically struggle with?
If you know all that and more, you'll put yourself in a solid position to tactfully handle objections.
Leading With Empathy
Objections are a natural part of sales, and in many — if not most — cases, they reflect reasonable concerns. That's why you need to avoid getting obviously frustrated and impatient with your prospects when they push back a bit.
Empathy is central to every successful sales effort. You shouldn't sell to a prospect purely for the sake of making money — you should sell to them because your product or service is best equipped to suit their pain points. So you always need to bear their needs and interests in mind.
If you stay on top of their problems and circumstances — and approach them with patience and empathy — you can set yourself up to anticipate the objections they might raise and address them effectively.
Asking Thoughtful, Open-Ended Questions
The ability to ask thoughtful, open-ended questions can underscore every other point listed here. You need to get to the root of your prospect's pain points if you're going to understand and effectively handle the objections they raise.
That often starts by asking them relevant, tactful questions and giving them the space to discuss them thoroughly. Avoid questions that only warrant one-word, "yes or no" answers — and don't be afraid to use silence to your advantage.
Let your buyers air their thoughts out. Feel out their concerns — and put yourself in a position to preempt the objections they might raise.
Objection Handling Guide & Templates
An Effective Method for Objection Handling – LAER: The Bonding Process®
A proven and effective method for objection handling is Carew International’s LAER: The Bonding Process®. LAER involves four steps — Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, and Respond.
When confronted with an objection, the first requirement is to listen to it. This demonstrates to your customer that you are interested in their concern and care about what they have to say.
The next step is to acknowledge your customer’s concern. This is where you demonstrate you have been actively listening. An acknowledgment can be something as simple as a head nod or a restatement of the issue. A sincere acknowledgment can circumvent an argument and have a calming effect. Sometimes, your customers just want to know that they are being heard.
The third step is to explore the concerns underlying your customer’s objection. It's imperative that you understand exactly what your customer meant by what they said.
For example, your customer may have stated a price objection, but the real reason they don’t want to work with you is that they like the competition’s salesperson and enjoy the attention from them.
If you don’t take the time to explore the customer's objection, you won't find out that they are using "price" as a smokescreen and won’t be able to respond appropriately.
"The adage 'people buy from those they know, like, and trust' is still true. Buyers want (and expect) a personalized sales experience. How you present yourself and your product either builds that trust — or gives your competitors a foot in the door," commented Mark Tanner, Co-Founder of Qwilr.
The final step is to respond. Only once you have a complete understanding of your customer’s objection can you offer your response in the form of a recommendation, an alternative, a solution, or a next step designed to address the customer’s concern and close the transaction.
Objection handling doesn’t have to be a painful activity for sales professionals. Instead, objections should be viewed as opportunities to help your customer and grow your relationship with them.
Carew International’s LAER: The Bonding Process® is an effective method for handling objections that creates a positive, two-way transaction between the salesperson and the customer.
Why is objection handling important?
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 stronger that opinion usually is — and the harder you'll have to fight to combat it.
With this in mind, welcome objections rather than avoiding them. You can proactively find them as well by periodically asking questions like:
- "Do you have any concerns around X?"
- "Are there any obstacles that would stop you from buying?"
- "How confident do you feel you'd see success from [product]? Why?"
- "You seem a little worried about X. What are your thoughts?"
Types of Sales Objections
As I touched on at the beginning of this article, most sales objections stem from some kind of "lack" — and they typically come from a reasonable place. Prospects who raise objections generally point to the fact that they simply can't buy right now.
But those "lacks" are often misplaced, and if you know what you're doing, you can usually find ways to work around them. Let's take a closer look at some of the most common types of objections in sales.
Types of Objections in Sales
- Lack of Budget
- Lack of Trust
- Lack of Need
- Lack of Urgency
A successful sale usually happens because the product or service you sell was within the prospect's budget, you had the authority to convince them, they actually needed the service or product, and the timing was right.
This phenomenon is commonly referred to as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing). Determining BANT should be part of your routine qualification process.
It also stands to reason that sales objections would be the converse of BANT:
1. Lack of Budget
"It's too expensive."
Objections based on price are the ones you'll come across most frequently. That's because all purchases come with some level of financial risk.
As a sales rep, you'll want to consider the positioning of your product or service and how to demonstrate that value. This turns the conversation into one about risk vs. reward.
By providing value and painting a picture of where your solution will take them, they can be convinced that the reward is enough to justify the risk.
2. Lack of Trust
"I've never heard of your company."
People do business with people they like, know, and trust.
In an inbound sales conversation, the prospect will have likely interacted with your content or will already be familiar with your organization in some way. This objection could be overcome by jogging their memory, or you might consider your sales cycle and whether it's feasible to nurture them through it.
But not all conversations are inbound conversations, and they may have genuinely never heard of you. It's at this point that you double down on the value you provide with your elevator pitch. Be sure to emphasize the authority your organization has in the market.
3. Lack of Need
"I don't see how this can help me."
This may seem like an objection on the surface, but it's actually an opportunity to give information to the prospect (and get information from them in return). Use open-ended and layered questions to qualify the prospect and evaluate their needs. If you find a fit, leverage it to demonstrate value.
4. Lack of Urgency
"[X problem] isn't important for me right now."
The goal here is to figure out if timing actually is an issue or if the prospect is brushing you off. One way to do that is by asking them to elaborate on why it's not important or what competing priorities currently have their attention.
Listen closely to determine if their response involves concrete timing issues or vague excuses. If they're doing backflips to justify inaction on a real pain point, you may have an opening.
When all else fails, schedule an appointment with them at a later date to dive deeper into the issue.
How to Overcome Sales Objections
- Practice active listening.
- Repeat back what you hear.
- Validate your prospect’s concerns.
- Ask follow-up questions.
- Leverage social proof.
- Set a specific date and time to follow up.
- Anticipate sales objections.
When trying to overcome sales objectives, it’s imperative you respond appropriately and avoid reacting impulsively to your prospect’s objections. Here are some helpful strategies for overcoming objections.
1. Practice active listening.
First and foremost, as 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.
2. Repeat back what you hear.
Once your prospect has stated their objections, repeat back what you heard to make sure 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.
3. 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. No, that doesn’t mean you have to talk down on your product or recommend a competitor.
For example, if you are selling 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 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 are offering a solution to mitigate their fears.
4. Ask follow-up questions.
When you hear objectives, you want to do all you can to keep the conversation going in a natural way. 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 give, the more you have to work with to potentially turn the sale around.
5. 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.
6. 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. But you don’t want to leave them hanging. Set up a specific time and date to follow up in the near future so too much time doesn’t pass, and offer to answer any questions they have in the meantime as they deliberate.
7. Anticipate sales objections.
Ultimately, the most effective strategy for handling sales objections is to predict them. When you are prepared to have objections come up, you’re far less likely to be thrown off your game.
Having a set of neutral recommendations to offer prospects when objections arise can keep sales moving. Because you listened to the buyer and explored their rationale rather than giving a knee-jerk response, they're usually willing to hear you out if you have a solution.
Keeping track of the objections you receive most often is also helpful. Once you know what to expect, you can devote extra time to practicing and refining your responses.
We also recommend sales reps use role-plays to boost their objection-handling abilities. Take turns with another rep on your team posing common objections (like any of the 40 on this list), answering, and then giving each other feedback.
Now that you know what objection handling is, why it's important, and how to improve, let's dive into the 40 most common sales objections.
Common Sales Objections
- It's too expensive.
- There's no money.
- We don't have any budget left.
- I need to use this budget somewhere else.
- I don't want to get stuck in a contract.
- We're already working with another vendor.
- I'm locked into a contract with a competitor.
- I can get a cheaper version somewhere else.
- I'm happy with your competitor.
- Competitor X says [false statement about your product].
- I'm not authorized to sign off on this.
- I can't sell this internally.
- [Economic buyer] isn't convinced.
- We're being downsized/bought out.
- There's too much going on right now.
- I'm part of a buying group.
- I've never heard of your company.
- We're doing great in this area.
- We don't have the business plan.
- It's just not important right now.
- I don't see what your product could do for me.
- I don't understand your product.
- I've heard complaints about you from [company].
- We don't have capacity to implement the product.
- Your product is just too complicated.
- You don't understand my challenges. I need help with Y, not X.
- You don't understand my business.
- Your product doesn't have X feature, and we need it.
- We're happy the way things are.
- I don't see the potential for ROI.
- It's just a fad.
- Your product doesn't work with our current set-up.
- Your product sounds great, but I'm too swamped right now.
- I'm busy right now.
- I'm not interested.
- Just send me some information.
- Call me back next quarter.
- How did you get my information?
- I hate you.
- I'm not responsible for making these decisions.
- Does your product do X, Y, or Z
- Sorry, I have to cancel. I'll get back to you with a better time.
- Hello, you've reached [Prospect's Name] ...
No is something salespeople hear often. In fact, 60% of customers say no four times before they say yes. Objections vary by business scale, industry, and what you're selling. But knowing and preparing for the most common objections can help you close more sales.
If you've got an expensive product, chances are that money, budget, and pricing will be an issue. If you're in a competitive niche, objections may center on other vendors. Timing and urgency are also common challenges.
In sales, you're building relationships with every remark and gesture. Before you can actively listen, share data, or validate a prospect’s perspective, you need to get them to let you in.
The answers below can help you respond to the objections you're most likely to hear on your first few calls with a prospect. But the most effective way to handle objections is to craft your own responses.
Featured tool: Objection Handling Templates and Best Practices
You probably already know this. But you also know that writing is a challenging skill. Many sales reps thrive on the phone or in a meeting but get stuck when they try to put those ideas on paper.
So, if you're looking for a quick and easy way to get started, check out this sales objections and answers PDF. It has useful templates to jumpstart your personalized objection responses.
Sales Objections About Price and Budget
1. "It's too expensive."
Price objections are the most common type of objection and are even voiced by prospects who have every intention of buying. Beware — the moment you start focusing on price as a selling point, you reduce yourself to a transactional middleman. Instead, circle back to the product's value.
"I'd love to unpack [product's] features and how it can help with the issue of [prospect problem] you shared with me."
2. "There's no money."
It could be that your prospect's business simply isn't big enough or generating enough cash right now to afford a product like yours. Track their growth and see how you can help your prospect get to a place where your offering would fit into their business.
"I understand. Allow me to explain our other offerings that may be a better fit for your current growth levels and budget."
3. "We don't have any budget left this year."
A variation of the "no money" objection, what your prospect's telling you here is that they're having cash flow issues. But if there's a pressing problem, it needs to get solved eventually. Either help your prospect secure a budget from executives to buy now or arrange a follow-up call for when they expect funding to return.
"Let's schedule a follow-up call for when you expect funding to return. When do you think that may be?"
4. "We need to use that budget somewhere else."
Prospects sometimes try to earmark resources for other uses. It's your job to make your product/service a priority that deserves budget allocation now. Share case studies of similar companies that have saved money, increased efficiency, or had a massive ROI with you.
"We had a customer with a similar issue, but by purchasing [product] they were actually able to increase their ROI and assign some of their new revenue to other parts of the budget."
5. "I don't want to get stuck in a contract."
A prospect with a genuine need and interest who balks at time-based contract terms is generally hesitant for cash flow reasons. Luckily for you, there are workarounds — find out if you can offer month-by-month or quarter-by-quarter payment instead of asking for a year or more commitment upfront.
"I understand. Let's talk about some different contract terms and payment schedules that I can offer you. Perhaps these would be a better fit."
Sales Objections About the Competition
6. "We're already working with [Vendor X]."
A prospect who's already working with a competitor can be a gift. They've already recognized a need and identified a solution; much of the education you'd otherwise be responsible for has already been done. You can spend your time doing the one thing you'd have to hold off on with a prospect who hasn't recognized their pain yet — talk about your product.
Just because a prospect is working with a competitor doesn't mean they're happy with them. Probe into the relationship and pay special attention to complaints that could be solved with your product.
"Why did you choose [vendor]? What's working well? What's not? Allow me to explain how [product] is different."
7. "I'm locked into a contract with a competitor."
Perhaps the easiest competitor-related objection to handle, this phrase is worded in a way that broadcasts your prospect's feeling of being trapped. See if you can come up with a creative discount to offset the cost of breaking a contract early, or demonstrate ROI that will make up for the sunk cost.
Of course, your prospect could have simply chosen an overly negative turn of phrase. Ask questions about their relationship with the competitor to determine whether they're actually happy or are itching for a vendor switch.
"How is your relationship with [competitor]? Perhaps I can offer a discount to make up for the cost of switching over to work with us."
8. "I can get a cheaper version of your product somewhere else."
Find out what you're dealing with here. Are you in a competitive situation, and the prospect is playing you against a competitor to drive up discounts? Or is your prospect under the impression that a similar, cheaper product can do everything they need?
If it's the former, lay out your deepest discount and emphasize the features that make your product superior. Walk away if they ask you to go lower. In the second scenario, take advantage of the comparison. Play the differences up and emphasize overall worth, not cost.
"What are the points of differentiation between [product] and your other option? What gives you the most value and support?"
9. "I'm happy with [Competitor X]."
What if your prospect is happy? The same strategy still applies — find out why they believe their relationship with your competitor is beneficial, and identify weak spots where your product could do better.
"That's great. What components of the product or relationship are you most satisfied with? I'd love to learn more and see how we may compare."
10. "Competitor X says [false statement about your product]."
According to the creator of Your Sales MBA® Jeff Hoffman, salespeople should first respond with, "That's not true," then pause.
Hoffman says 90% of the time this reply will satisfy the buyer and they'll move on. You'll seem confident and collected, whereas your competitor will seem desperate and insecure.
If your prospect is still unsure, they'll ask another question. At that point, you can offer more background in your rebuttal.
"We manufacture our products in Canada, not Thailand. I have a map of our factories and distribution routes if you'd like to see it."
Sales Objections About Authority or Ability to Buy
11. "I'm not authorized to sign off on this purchase."
No problem. Ask your prospect the name of the right person to speak to, and then redirect your call to them.
"Who is the right person to speak to regarding this purchase? Can you redirect me to them, please?"
12. "I can't sell this internally."
Well, your prospect might not be able to, but you can. After all, you sell your product every day. Ask your prospect what objections they anticipate, and help them prepare the business case for adopting your product. Check with Marketing to see if there's any collateral you can leverage on your prospect's behalf.
"What objections do you think you'll face? Can I help you prepare the business case for when you speak with your decision-makers? I may have some enablement materials I can share to help."
13. "[Economic buyer] isn't convinced."
If you've already addressed objection #12 by providing internal selling advice and coaching and your prospect just can't hack it, it might be time to walk away. While it's heart-rending to give up on a prospect who's on your side and just can't convince the higher-ups, it's also a waste of your time to keep butting heads with someone who will never see your product's value.
"That's too bad. If anything changes, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'd love to help you get your team onboard."
14. "We're being downsized / bought out."
This happens rarely, but when it does, there's usually nothing you can do. If there's no more company, there's no more deal. Wrap the relationship professionally so that when your prospect finds a new gig, they'll be more likely to restart the conversation from a new company.
"Thank you for your time and for speaking with me regarding this product. If you're ever in need of [product or service], please don't hesitate to contact me."
15. "There's too much going on right now."
Ask your prospect to define their competing priorities for you. If they can't, it's likely a brush-off and you should press them on precisely why they don't want to engage with you.
If they can offer concrete answers, don't sweat it. Set a meeting time for a follow-up and send over helpful resources in the meantime to stay on your prospect's radar.
"I understand. What are some of your competing priorities? I'd love to schedule a follow-up call for when your calendar clears up."
16. "I'm part of a buying group."
Buying groups enable independent companies to team up and make joint purchases from vendors — usually getting a far better price than they'd be able to secure on their own.
If your company isn't on a prospect’s list of approved suppliers, your prospect probably won't be interested. After all, you can't offer them the same discount for purchasing in bulk.
Respond to this objection by delving into the details of their membership. When you've learned more, you can decide whether it makes economic sense for this prospect to work with you — and if there's an opportunity to become one of their buying group's vendors.
"Are there limits on whom you can buy from? What price are you currently receiving? What companies belong to your buying coalition?"
Sales Objections About Need and Fit
17. "I've never heard of your company."
Treat this objection as a request for information. Don't give an elevator pitch, but offer a quick summary of your value proposition.
"We're a company that sells ad space on behalf of publishers like yourself. I'd love to speak with you about your revenue model and see if we can help."
18. "We're doing great in X area."
If you hear this objection, ask a few more clarifying questions and do a little more qualification.
"What are your goals? How much progress has been made?"
19. "We don't have that business pain."
This objection is often raised as a brush-off, or because prospects haven't realized they're experiencing a certain problem yet. And while ultimately you might discover they really don't need your product, don't take this objection at face value.
"Interesting. What solutions are you currently using to address that area of your business?"
20. "X problem isn't important right now."
Sometimes, a simple "Oh?" will be enough for your prospect to start talking. Listen closely for real reasons the need has low priority versus platitudes. Keep in mind that excuses can be a sign that your prospect understands they have a problem and is trying to rationalize their inaction. Capitalize on this and instill a sense of urgency.
"Tell me more about that. What are your current priorities?"
21. "I don't see what your product could do for me."
Another request for information packaged as an objection. Reconfirm the goals or challenges you've discussed and explain how your product can solve specific problems.
"Interesting. Can you share what specific challenges you're facing right now? Perhaps [product] presents a solution we have yet to discuss."
22. "I don't understand your product."
If your prospect literally can't wrap their head around your product, that's a bad sign. If your product is particularly complicated or specialized, it may be time to disqualify your prospect lest they churn two months from now.
Don't give up immediately, though. Ask your prospect what aspects of your product they're unclear on, then try explaining it in a different way. Alternatively, bring in a technician or product engineer to answer questions out of your depth.
"What aspects of the product are confusing to you? I'd love to connect you to a customer success technician or product engineer to help you better understand how we can help you."
23. "I've heard complaints about you from [company]."
Word-of-mouth reviews are powerful, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Rather than defending your solution, business, or brand — which will only validate the criticism — thank them for sharing the feedback with you. Then follow up with an offer to add value.
This gives you an opportunity to establish credibility and trust with your prospect. Once you've given them a positive experience, they'll naturally form a high opinion of you.
"Thanks for sharing that feedback with me. I'll pass it along to [relevant department]. While we're on the phone, would you be interested in hearing a few tips for improving your average invoicing turnaround time?"
24. "We don't have capacity to implement the product."
This objection can be a deal-killing roadblock. Depending on what product you sell, it's possible your prospect will have to add headcount or divert resources to fully take advantage of your offering, and if they truly aren't able to, you might have to disqualify them.
Another tactic is to assess your prospect's current duties and day-to-day to see what job responsibilities could potentially be eliminated or made easier by your product.
"I hear you, and I want [product] to add value, not take it away. What are your current day-to-day responsibilities in your job? I'd love to explain how the product, once onboarded, can alleviate some of those problems."
25. "Your product is too complicated."
Find out if your prospect is confused about specific features or if the product is indeed over their head. If it's the latter, you might have to disqualify that lead. But if it's the former, remind your prospect that they'll have help from your customer service team should they choose to buy and that you'll be on hand to answer any implementation questions they have.
"What features are confusing to you? Remember, our customer service team will be available 'round-the-clock to help with implementation."
26. "You don't understand my challenges. I need help with Y, not X."
It's crucial to make your prospect feel heard. Restate your impression of their situation, then align with your prospect's take and move forward from there. A lot of misunderstandings and hard feelings can be resolved simply by rephrasing your prospect's words.
"I apologize! Allow me to restate my understanding of your challenges, and please let me know what I'm missing or misstating."
27. "You don't understand my business."
If you sell to a specific industry, chances are you do know a bit about your prospect's business. Let them know that you have experience working with similar companies, and have solved similar problems in the past.
If you simply made an incorrect assumption about your prospect's company or industry, don't be afraid to own up to it. Your prospects will appreciate your candor.
"Sorry — I assumed X was true, but it looks like that doesn't apply to your business. Can you tell me a little more about X?"
28. "Your product doesn't have X feature, and we need it."
Try suggesting a supplementary product that can be used in conjunction with yours. But if that specific need is a must-have and your product can't solve it, your prospect might not be a good fit. Time to disqualify and move along to a better-fit opportunity.
"Have you checked out [partner or conjoining product]? It's a good fit with ours and can be used alongside it to solve for Y."
29. "We're happy the way things are."
Maybe everything really is going swimmingly. But more likely, your prospect is having some sort of challenge (after all, who isn't?). Do some light qualification to determine if they're facing any problems you can solve, then move forward or disqualify based on their answers.
"That's great! Can you tell me how you're currently solving for X?"
30. "I don't see the potential for ROI."
This is a sign that you'll have to prepare a formal pitch for either your contact or their managers, either using internal numbers from your prospect or customer case studies. Nothing sells quite like hard numbers.
"I'd love to show you. Can we schedule a time for me to explain our product's potential to deliver a high ROI to you and your team?"
31. "X is just a fad."
You might hear this objection if your product pioneers a concept that's new to your prospect's industry. For example, social media is now widely accepted as a necessary part of a sound business strategy, but seven years ago many would have scoffed at it.
Now is the time to pull out any testimonials or customer case studies you have to prove the ROI of your product. If you're pioneering a new concept or practice, you'll have to show that it works.
"I understand why you may think that. Let's schedule a time for me to walk through how our product helped some other businesses like yours find success with X — and why it's here to stay."
32. "Your product doesn't work with our current [tools, set-up]."
This objection can be a deal-breaker if the buyer is committed to their existing solutions. But sometimes your product will replace these tools or make them obsolete. A workaround may be possible as well.
To find out, ask some questions.
"Which tools are you currently using? How integral are those tools to your [strategy]? What do those products help you accomplish?"
33. "Your product sounds great, but I'm too swamped right now to handle [implementation, roll-out]."
Prospects are often put off by the effort required to switch products, even if the ROI is substantial.
To empathize with them, prove that you're trustworthy, and ensure they do have the bandwidth. Next, combat their reluctance to change by digging into the costs or pains of their current situation.
Calculate what they stand to gain — in time, efficiency, money, or all of the above.
"I understand. It typically takes our customers [X days/weeks] to get fully up and running with [product]. How many minutes a day do you spend on [task]?"
Sales Objections that Are Actually Brush-Offs
If your prospect hangs up on you, don't sweat it — it happens to everyone eventually. Try reaching out to a different person at the company using a different approach.
Or you can go on the offensive. Wait a few seconds, then call back. Which approach you choose is purely dependent on how your conversation with your prospect went before the hang-up.
"Sorry, looks like we got disconnected! Do you have a few minutes?"
35. "I'm busy right now."
Of course your prospect is busy — almost every professional is these days. Simply explain that you're not looking to give a full-blown conversation, just have a quick chat about whether or not a longer discussion about your product would be a good fit at their organization.
"I don't want to take up too much of your time. Can we have a quick chat about your challenges with X and how [product] may help?"
36. "I'm not interested."
During a prospecting call, it's far too early for a prospect to be able to definitively say they are or aren't interested in your product. Offer to send over some resources and schedule a follow-up call.
"I understand. Can we schedule a time for a follow-up call? In the meantime, I can send over some resources so you can learn more."
37. "Just send me some information."
This is a great opportunity to segue into some qualification questions.
"I'd be happy to send you some materials, but I want to make sure that they're relevant to you. What are you interested in learning about?"
38. "Call me back next quarter."
Prospects will often say this to dissuade you from pursuing a conversation. But don't let them off that easily — it's a vague brush-off uttered in the hopes you'll fade away and disappear. Ask some questions to find out their motivations for brushing you off.
"I'll touch base next quarter. Before we hang up, I'd love to get a sense of how your next quarter will go. Do you feel you'll get the go-ahead from your superiors?"
39. "How did you get my information?"
Hopefully, you're not pulling numbers from lists you got off the internet — because if you are, your prospects have every reason to be annoyed. Don't get defensive — simply remind the prospect that they filled out a form on your site, or signed up for more information at a trade show, or that you simply came across their website and wanted to connect to see if you could help.
"I came across your website in my research and believe that [product] would be a great fit for you."
40. "I hate you."
A disclaimer: Generally, prospects won't actually come right out and say this. And it's obviously not necessary to become best friends with someone to sell to them. But if you and your prospect really just don't get along, consider handing them off to a colleague lest your company lose the deal for good. The upside? This objection has nothing to do with your product or its value.
"I'm sorry you feel that way. Can I hand you off to my colleague [name] to continue the conversation? Perhaps he'll be a better fit."
41. "I'm not responsible for making these decisions."
What your prospect is trying to convey with this objection is that they're not the best person to have this conversation with. And believe it or not, this is a pretty common occurrence that surprisingly has benefits.
For one, the person you need to communicate with is probably busy and won't have time to check their email, let alone book a demo with you. But starting the conversation with someone on the team with less responsibility can give you a direct intro to the decision-maker. In turn, your sales process will move along more quickly than if you had targeted them from the beginning.
"Hi [Name], thanks for letting me know you're not the right person to discuss this with. Who on your team handles these types of decisions? Can you introduce me to them?"
42. "Does your product do X, Y, and Z?"
This isn't so much an objection as an obstacle to closing a call with a prospect and getting them to the next appointment, (such as a demo or a discovery call with the sales rep). But it is one of the most common obstacles that prevent an SDR from converting the lead to an SQL.
Not only does getting into the weeds waste time, but you also run the risk of devolving into a features and benefits conversation when you don't need to. The good news is this generally means the prospect is interested. Use this opportunity to end the conversation on a good note and set up another appointment to discuss it.
"I am glad you asked that. I think it will be helpful to set up a time when we can answer this question and others with a specialist. When is a good day and time for us to talk?"
43. "Sorry, I have to cancel. I'll get back to you with a better time."
People don't like to say "No" — and that includes your prospects. This manifests in ghosting, procrastination (as mentioned above), and asking for more time.
Sales pro Mike Rogewitz swears by Sandler's Negative Reverse Selling strategy to overcome tricky non-objection objections like these. "You want to call out your prospect's lack of interest and get them to admit the answer is 'No' without going too negative," says Rogewitz. Here's the formula:
Prospect: "XYZ fluffy response."
Salesperson: "Typically when I hear someone say XYZ, it really means ABC. Is it fair for me to assume that's the case?"
By using this simple script, you'll nudge your prospect into giving you the final answer you need to move on.
"Typically, when someone cancels and says they'll get back to me, it means they're just not interested in what I have to offer right now. Is it fair for me to assume that's the case?"
44. "Hello, you've reached [Prospect's Name] ... "
Does your prospect avoid your phone calls like the plague? Do they take a while to get back to you and always need approval? Do they give vague answers when you ask about budget and priorities for the year?
If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, you might be speaking with an individual contributor. They're usually not as comfortable talking on the phone as managers or decision-makers, they need a lot of internal approval, and they aren't privy to important budgetary information or company-wide priorities.
It's important to gain the gatekeeper's trust and learn as much as you can from them, but then you need to move on and build relationships with the people in the company who can actually choose your product or service.
"Have you ever purchased this type of product or service before?" "Who will be in charge of this buying process?" "Who else should we bring on board for this conversation?"
Handling Objections Will Help You Sell Better
Objections are an inevitable part of sales. Some are legitimate reasons to disqualify the prospect, while others are simply an attempt to brush you off. But as long as you're familiar with common objections and equipped to answer them, you'll be able to distinguish between prospects who have the potential to be good customers and prospects with whom you need to part ways — empowering you to become a more efficient salesperson.
When an Objection Means No
Prospects don't often give you a chance to explain the value that you can provide. They are too busy and have too little faith in the hordes of SDRs and sales reps that contact them on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, they have learned through experience that these knee-jerk objections are the best defenses against people who unintentionally waste their time. This means as a salesperson, you have to be more assertive and persistent.
That said, at a certain point, no means no. The responses to the common objections above give you a way to pierce through the reactionary objections prospects give without thinking. But if you’ve said your piece and the prospect still objects, let it go.
Nobody is going to buy against their will. Get as clear as you can on the objection and try to determine what your prospect is really concerned about, but don't push past the prospect's point of comfort. Rule of thumb: if the prospect says an objection twice, it's real. No means no.
As I said, objection handling is frustrating but virtually unavoidable in sales. But if you know how to get to the root of your prospects' issues, lead with empathy, understand where most objections come from, and read these kinds of interactions appropriately, you'll be in a good position to handle these issues as they arise.
Overcoming Objections Can Become Your Best Sales Skill
As a sales professional, you'll hear no a lot more than you hear yes. But that can be where the fun is. Every no is a step toward learning more about your prospect and helping them solve problems with the product or service you're offering.
Objection handling helps you learn how to get to the root of your prospects' issues. With a little assist, you can lead with empathy and understand where most objections are coming from. If you read these interactions right, you'll be in a good position to handle any objection that comes up.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.