As a salesperson, your natural instinct is to treat objections as requests for information. This is for good reason -- many objections are raised because your prospect hasn’t fully bought into your product’s value, and a little education can bridge that gap.
But not all objections are created equal. Just as you shouldn’t let an objection like “I’m not the decision maker” stop your sales process, it’s important to recognize when an objection needs to be taken seriously. There’s no quicker way to ruin your own credibility and tank a relationship than refusing to take “No” for an answer when it’s a legitimate blocker. It’s just not worth it -- especially when a prospect who’s not ready today might be ready in six months to a year if you’re just patient enough to wait.
It’s also important to be able to tell the difference between true objections and requests for information when it comes to forecasting purposes, too. If you can’t, your pipeline will be filled with junk deals that will never close, and you’ll always be taken by surprise when you don’t hit quota.
So which objections are real and which aren’t? The eight objections below are ones that you should take at face value.
8 Sales Objections That Can't Be Overcome
1) “There’s no money.”
Many, many, many prospects will tell you they can’t afford a product as a negotiation strategy or in an attempt to get you to go away. (Here’s how to respond when this happens.)
But sometimes, your prospects simply won’t be able to afford your product unless you gave a discount that is too steep to bear. Even if you’ve used indicators like company size to help you guess a prospect’s financial situation (which you should be), sometimes these things will just take you by surprise.
To find out whether there really isn’t any money, ask whether liquidity is a cashflow or budget issue (which can be resolved through payment plans or helping your prospect sell the project internally to secure budget, internally). If not, there’s really nothing you can do -- even if the prospect has your business pain, they won’t become a good fit until they can afford to buy.
2) “I don’t understand how this works.”
Tread with caution when disqualifying based on this objection. If it’s the first time your prospect is confused, it’s not time to move the deal out of your pipeline. And if your point of contact isn’t the end user, that’s okay too -- figure out who that end user is and speak with them to gauge their aptitude with your product.
But if you find yourself explaining the basic principles behind your product or its simpler features over and over and over again, your product is more complicated than the end user can bear and you should walk away. Selling a product to a customer who has no idea how to use it isn’t just morally questionable, it’s setting up your business for churn -- and you’ll get dinged hard by clawback rules.
3) “We don’t have the capacity to implement this.”
This objection is a subsidiary of #1, and mostly applies to companies who sell products that require hard work or a change in behavior to implement successfully.
If you fall into this category, you need to make sure your buyers have the capacity to implement your product. Whether they’re going to hire a new staff member (or one on hold) dedicated to projects related to your product or there’s an end user in place with time set aside for it doesn’t matter -- without these resources, implementation will fail and your buyer will churn.
4) “We need [X feature your product doesn’t have].”
If you run into this objection, first find out why your prospect needs the feature. If your product can do something similar through a different path or can work with a separate point solution that achieves what they’re trying to accomplish, all isn’t lost. But if they need exactly one feature your product doesn’t have for a purpose you can’t solve, there’s not much you can do here.
Note: If you hear this objection again and again and again, it’s time to alert the people who design and build your product. It’s important that frontline reps keep the rest of the company informed about significant market demands.
5) “I’m convinced, but [economic buyer] isn’t.”
This is one of the most frustrating objections you can get. If, after internally selling to the economic buyer and bringing them into calls, they’re just not budging, you don’t have many options.
If you get this objection in the early stages of a sales process, though, there’s hope. Ask to be introduced to the economic buyer and have a group or individual call to address their specific concerns.
6) “Wait, who are you again?”
This isn’t exactly an objection, but is sometimes an indicator you should walk away. If you’ve spoken with your prospect multiple times and they aren’t making you a priority, completing the tasks you set them (if any), and don’t even know who you are, you clearly aren’t a priority. Maybe the business pain isn’t there. Maybe they’re dealing with a million other things. Whatever it is, a prospect who is actively disinterested in participating in a sales process won’t make a good customer.
7) “I can’t disclose [piece of information crucial to making the sale].”
You shouldn’t expect a customer to show your their P&L statement on the first call, but if they refuse to tell you things like their business goals for the next quarter or challenges (as relate to your product), they don’t trust you. And you can’t help a prospect who refuses to be helped. If you explain why you need the information (so you can make a tailored recommendation and explore whether there's a product-prospect fit) and the buyer still isn't moved? Walk away.
8) “Our company is being downsized / bought out / going bankrupt.”
Most of the objections listed here are ambivalent, and can only be really accepted as objections once you do some more digging. But this one? This is the Big Kahuna of sales objections -- without a business to sell to, there is actually no more deal. Pack it up and go home.
What sales objections have you encountered that were truly deal-enders? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Jun 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017