All salespeople are familiar with objections. They’re part of the vast majority of deals, even the ones that you close -- it’s incredibly rare that you’ll go through an entire sales process where your prospect is a perfect fit, knows they’re a perfect fit, wants to get started now, and has budget to do so.
So you’ll have to learn to handle common objections. In fact, it’s one of your primary job functions. Educating prospects about your product will always include a little bit of push-pull, and while you should never browbeat prospects with legitimate objections into buying your product, you can’t just walk away from a deal at the first sign of resistance, either.
The important thing is to understand which objections are true blockers -- the ones you can’t work out with your prospect or get around -- and which ones are just being raised because your prospect doesn’t have the whole picture. Often, buyers put up resistance because they aren’t completely sold on your product’s value, and it’s your job to educate them so they understand the full context of what you’re offering and how it could help them.
The 12 phrases below are frequently-raised objections that you should treat as requests for information. Instead of taking them at face value, dig a little deeper to understand what your prospect is really objecting to. Keep in mind that based on the answers your prospects give you, these may turn out to be real blockers -- but unless you know for sure, don’t let these objections kill a deal.
12 Objections That Aren't Really Objections
1) “<Feature/product/service> doesn’t accomplish what I’m trying to achieve.”
The good news: Your prospect’s acknowledged they want to solve a specific problem and understand that it’s a priority.
The bad news: They don’t think you can help them solve it.
Dig a little deeper to understand what’s driving the priority they want to achieve and exactly what they’d like to accomplish. Perhaps you’ve been positioning your product incorrectly, or you’ve misunderstood your prospect’s priorities. Either way, deepen your understanding of their objectives so you can figure out whether it’s really a bad fit or your pitch was just slightly off base.
2) “It costs too much.”
This one’s tricky. Not having money is a real blocker to all sales -- if there’s no cash, you can’t suddenly make some appear out of thin air.
But very often, the cost objection is raised when prospects don’t think your product is worth what you’re asking them to pay for it. Find out why your prospect’s skeptical, then address their real concerns. Check out these 24 responses to this classic objection for more ideas on how to proceed.
3) “This isn’t the right time for us to buy.”
Like the cost objection, the timing objection is one that many salespeople will encounter regularly. Again, this is often an issue of establishing value, but it also indicates that even if your prospect sees value, they don’t feel a sense of urgency.
Dig deeper for competing company priorities, whether their goals have changed, or anything else that could be holding them back. For more responses you can use against this objection, check out this blog post.
4) “We don’t have budget set aside for this project.”
Well, of course they don’t. Companies don’t set aside budgets to solve problems they don’t realize they have. You should spend more time educating your prospect about your product’s value proposition and learning about their pain points to determine whether there’s a real need or if they really aren’t a good fit.
5) “We’re not currently experiencing <business pain>.”
It’s hard for buyers to envision needing a solution to a problem they haven’t fully grasped yet, so you’ll need to do some legwork to show them that they are, in fact, experiencing pain. Make sure you’re familiar with your customers’ buying journey. When do your customers generally realize they’re having an issue? How do they generally research those issues? Take your prospect through the same journey to help them self-identify their business pain.
6) “I’m not the decision maker.”
This objection is often used as a deflection tactic but doesn’t tell you anything about whether the prospect does or does not need your product. Ask them who the right person to speak to is, then take your call elsewhere. And if they’d be an end user of your product regardless of their ability to sign a deal, take advantage of having them on the phone to learn a little more about their day-to-day as it relates to your product.
7) “We’ll get started next <month/quarter/year>.”
A variation on the timing objection, this one is usually raised when a prospect is bought in but for some reason doesn’t want to get started today. Try asking these questions to create a sense of urgency or explore whether they’d be better served by creative pricing options.
8) “We’re already working with <competitor>.”
Great! This means your prospect recognizes and is addressing the business pain you solve. Find out more about the relationship -- why did they choose your competitor? How has the experience been thus far? Is there anything that was promised that hasn’t been delivered on? Once you have a better sense of whether the implementation has been successful or not, you can decide whether to invest more time in the deal or walk away.
9) “This isn’t a priority right now.”
Why not? Is it because the prospect doesn’t realize they have business pain (#5) or are there competing internal priorities that are shunting it to the side? Ask the buyer to walk you through what’s ahead of you on the list to test whether this is a deflection or a genuine statement.
10) “<C-level decision maker> will never go for this.”
Sounds like your prospect needs a little help selling internally. Would they buy if not for the economic buyer’s resistance? If so, coach them on handling objections they anticipate getting, help them build a business case, and offer to hop on a call with them and the decision maker so you’re on hand to help.
11) “I’m not buying the ROI on this.”
You have two options here: Build a business case yourself or draw on your collection of customer case studies to demonstrate historical ROI. If it seems like your prospect won’t put up too much of a fight, it’s probably more efficient to start with existing case studies. If they still seem unconvinced, it’s time to bring out the big guns and create a business case specifically tailored to your prospect’s company. Here’s a free business case template to get started.
12) “I don’t understand how X works.”
This objection is fairly straightforward to handle -- explain any points of confusion your prospect has, and make sure you’re covering everything they don’t quite understand. If they’re still hesitant, it means they’re not fully sold on your value and you might hear one of the other 11 objections listed here. But if they really don’t understand what you’re talking about, it might be time to walk away -- even if you talk this prospect into buying, if they can’t learn to use your product they probably won’t be a customer for long.
What objections have you come across that were merely requests for information? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published May 26, 2016 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017