Almost every prospect has objections -- and most have several. It's difficult enough to change someone's mind when money isn't on the table, so doing so when the outcome has a financial impact is really tough.
If you're not a skilled objection-handler, your ability to close will pay the price (literally). You might suspect you're not good at resolving objections ... but why? Here are five potential reasons.
1) You think you can “win” an objection.
When your prospect starts a sentence with “But”, do you immediately go into “fight” mode? I don’t blame you: It’s easy to think of every objection as an obstacle you have to defeat before getting to the end.
However, this aggressive approach won’t do you any favors. Prospects don’t want to argue with you or feel like they’re being persuaded against their will. Most of the time, you’ll actually end up convincing them they’re right. Even if they do cede in the moment, their objection will bubble up again at the crucial closing stage.
Reframe your perspective on objections -- think of them as an opportunity to correct any misinformation your prospect has or simply give them new details they’re not aware of.
If you work with them versus against them, you’ll actually have a shot of resolving their concerns.
2) You treat every objection equally.
Some objections are legitimate blockers. Others are brush-offs disguised as objections. It’s your job to differentiate them so you know how to respond.
That’s harder than it sounds, because an excuse given at the beginning of the sales process might be a real objection when it’s voiced a little later.
For example, if your prospect says on the connect call, “We don’t have the budget for this right now,” they may be blowing you off.
But if you’re discussing pricing and they say, “I love the product, but our budget is being halved and my director says we can’t buy anything over X amount,” you’re probably dealing with a real objection.
The latter deserves a real response. If you can’t find a solution, you should walk away. But if you’re hit with a brush-off, find a way to continue the conversation so you can prove to the buyer the value of your product.
3) You don’t prepare for objections.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. You should know in advance which potential objections you’ll hear before every sales call -- and not only that, you should have responses ready to go.
Doing this in advance means you won’t be lost for words when the actual call rolls around.
How do you know which objections you’ll likely hear? Compare your prospect to similar ones based on budget, company size, product type, priorities and challenges, and/or location. Review your CRM notes to see which objections have come up with those prospects. To take it one step further, note which responses you used and whether you closed those deals.
4) You don’t proactively address objections.
It’s never a good idea to let your prospect stew over their objections for days, weeks, or even months. If you address their objection when it’s newly formed, you’ll have a much better shot of convincing them otherwise. The longer you wait, the stronger that concern becomes in their mind.
For that reason, ask for objections at every step of the sales process. Doing so is simple -- just use any of these questions:
- “Is there anything you see standing in the way of [company] buying [product]?”
- “What do you see as potential obstacles to this [partnership, purchase]?”
- “Which concerns do you have at this point?”
- “You seem to have some reservations about [price, use case, functionality, etc.] Do you want to talk about it?”
Not only will you get valuable insight into your prospect’s decision making criteria, you’ll also earn their trust and respect by being direct.
5) You’re not honest.
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make around objection-handling: Fudging the truth. It’s always tempting to gloss over a buyer’s concerns with an answer that’s slightly untrue -- for example, if your prospect says, “I don’t think the solution can help us with X,” you might say, “Our engineers are actually working on a feature for that right now.”
Your prospect ends up buying, you get commission … What’s the problem?
Well, when the months go by and the promised feature doesn’t show up -- or they discover the product doesn’t do what you said, or it’s less powerful than you implied, and so on -- they’ll be pissed.
Pissed customers cancel. Not only that, they tell their colleagues not to buy your product. And that’s how you poison a well of revenue.
If any -- or several -- of these poor objection-handling habits sound familiar, commit yourself to improving immediately. As your skills improve, you'll see the effects on your win rate.