Overcoming Sales Objections like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide
When you work in sales at any capacity – objections are pretty much a recurring item in your daily routine.
That’s just how sales works.
Products and services don’t just sell themselves. Otherwise you’d be out of a job.
But here’s the problem: the idea of overcoming sales objections fills everyone with a sense of dread and a pang of anxiety.
Maybe there’s even a nagging urge to avoid looking at your current sales forecast and forget about your monthly targets for an hour or so. Let’s be honest – You’d rather be getting a root canal than facing up to a rejection. It’s so hard not to take objections personally. You just have to try not to let the ‘no’s’ grind you down.
On top of that, facing one objection after another can be pretty darn demotivating – not just for one sales rep, but for the entire team.
Sales objections actually aren’t a bad thing. They present opportunities.
As Brian Tracy, author and sales expert said, “Treat objections as requests for further information.”
This quote sums up the attitude that you need in order to succeed in sales – you need to start seeing negatives as opportunities. If a prospect isn’t sure, it’s an opportunity for you to explain it better or to find another way of engaging them with your product or service.
Objections help you to weed out the low-value leads early.
They also help you nurture high-quality leads if you can quickly answer their genuine concerns. You have a chance to showcase the true benefits of your offering based on the exact needs of a prospect.
A question or objection is a crystal clear insight into the pain point you can solve.
It’s never too early to create an action plan for overcoming sales objections and make the most of the curveballs those calls bring.
You can turn objections into sales, and here is how to build a plan to make it happen.
Encourage proactive losing
Sales objections are true opportunities for you to understand your prospects’ struggles, make an impact on them, and build strong, lasting relationships.
However, you can’t forget that your solution isn’t for everyone, and not everyone is your ideal customer. Use sales objections as a way to qualify leads in your pipeline and drop the worst prospects out to focus your efforts on those you know that have a chance of turning into an ideal customer.
As Napoleon Hill said, “The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.” By doing so, you’ll maintain a clean sales pipeline and help your team focus without the fear of missing targets.
According to Lincoln Murphy’s Ideal Customer Profile Framework, your ideal customer is:
– Ready: they have a problem they need to solve
– Willing: they are ready to take action to solve that problem
– Able: they have the budget and authority to solve that problem
If your prospects hold these traits, handling their objections will help you identify them and tailor communication based on that.
If they don’t, think about the situation in two ways:
Customer’s perspective: will they really benefit from your product or service? Will it make an actual difference and bring them success?
Your company’s perspective: Will you benefit from having them as a customer? Will they happily keep paying for your offering or do you think this prospect as a customer would be more trouble than they are worth?
It comes down to turning reactive losing into proactive losing.
When objections lead your team to believe there isn’t a true fit between a prospect and your company, make sure to tell them they’ve done an excellent job seeing it.
The importance of preparing your sales team in advance
The worst thing to do about a sales objection is merely hoping it won’t happen (and when it does you have no plan in response).
And the best thing you can do?
Prepare for exact objections that you know will happen.
Different markets, product tiers, price ranges, and decision-making authorities come with their own common objections.
An agency owner will have a different problem to an enterprise-level marketing director. Budgets, needs, and challenges will vary based on your target market.
Instead of making sales objection preparation secondary to prospecting, pitching, and closing techniques – make dealing with objections an equal part of your induction and training program.
Before we get into some of the most common objections and the solutions you can implement, take some time to identify what it is your sales rep is likely to deal with on a daily basis based on who they’re selling to.
Look at past lost opportunities, call transcripts and emails, and take note of them. You should end up with at least 10-20 most common objections.
Solutions to overcome the most common objections
An objection is never just an objection. It helps you learn the background of your prospect’s pushback, and it allows you to tailor your conversation to do your best to overcome it.
As Peter Drucker once said, “The quality in a product or service is not what you put into it, it’s what the customer gets out of it.”
Ultimately, you’re not just selling; you’re trying to help improve someone’s business and make their job easier. No matter how big or small that might be, knowing how you can uniquely solve their unique problem will help you see these objections as a good thing.
Common objections can be divided into six big areas.
Objection with time as its background simply means your prospect isn’t ready to buy just yet.
Versions of this objection include:
- “I need to think about it”
- “I won’t buy it now, but maybe next quarter”
- “I will contact you later”
- “Email me more information and I’ll get back to you”
And then there is also:
- “I don’t have time to talk right now”
In the first group, there is a common thread that involves some form of buying extra time to think about your offer. This is a legitimate objection, but it’s also your opportunity to ask open-ended questions and, most importantly, schedule a time for a short meeting to put on your calendars.
Don’t leave the ball in their court and wait and wonder if they will call you back.
Instead, ask for some specifics and get on their agenda with a meeting.
You can use one of the following lines:
- “What is your specific concern about making this decision?”
- “What will change by next quarter?”
- “I completely understand you are busy and I appreciate your time, so let’s make sure to get a schedule a meeting that fits your schedule. What answers can I answer for you in the meantime?
- “That sounds great, I’m looking forward to talking again. Just so I know what to include in my email, can you tell me […]?”
Conversely, if you hear the ‘I don’t have time’ line and the prospect brushes you off quickly, look back at your conversations up to this point and your overall experience with this prospect. Have they shown genuine interest so far and they are really just busy and overloaded this moment? Or is there a negative pattern in your recent correspondence?
Pipedrive’s Contacts Timeline helps your team gauge the history of their activities with a specific contact and enables the salesperson to tackle objections in an informed and tailored way.
Using the price as an objection might mean your prospect doesn’t have the budget, but it might also mean they simply aren’t yet convinced they will benefit from your offering.
Some common objections to pricing:
- ”I don’t have enough budget”
- ”It is too expensive”
- ”I can find a cheaper alternative”
When you come across a price-based pushback, the best thing you can do is uncover the background of it. Ask them follow-up questions like:
- ”Are you currently using a solution in [your industry]? How much are you spending on it?”
- ”Which features are the most important to you? What is it that makes the biggest impact in your day?”
- ”I understand. Let me ask you: if price were not an issue on this, is this something you would move forward with today?”
These questions will help you understand what lies behind the pricing issue. Once you get a clear picture of their situation, you can use the following line to demonstrate the value and benefits of your solution, and help your prospect visualize the result:
“Your concerns are very reasonable – I get it. It makes sense. I want to make sure you get a return with this offer. I’ve seen huge successes with customers who have implemented [your solution]. These features are the reason [your client] just signed with us last month to achieve [goal 1] and [goal 2] and has seen substantial progress.
Since you mentioned [goal 1] and [goal 2] as your challenges the last time we spoke, it would be great to talk to you about the added value these features offer your business.”
This goes back to the earlier point about the importance of qualifying your lead.
You might hear these objections:
- ”I don’t need this solution”
- ”My current supplier does what I need”
- ”This is not a priority”
If you’ve already done the legwork and you’re sure this is the right lead for your solution, you’re either not playing towards their pain points and priorities, or you haven’t yet uncovered their real concerns and challenges.
To do that, ask them questions like:
- ”If you could improve one thing about [challenge in their work that your solution covers], what would it be?”
- ”How have you tackled [challenge] so far? How much time/energy/resources does it generally take you to do that?”
Once you learn where they struggle, paint a picture of bridging that with your offering by going deep into the outcome of using your product or service.
Your prospect might be concerned simply by the fact that the offer is coming from your company for a few different reasons. They might say things like:
- ”I don’t know if I’m prepared to commit to an investment just yet”
- ”I’ve had a bad experience with your company before”
- ”Your company is much smaller than [competitor]”
- ”I’ve never heard of your company”
This is your opportunity to position your company for this prospect; this truly is a (hidden) request for more information to either learn from you, or to be reassured in your value.
Here are lines you can use:
- “That’s completely valid. We’re a [type of company] that helps [target audience] do [outcome], and we’ve so far helped [customer 1], [customer 2], and [customer 3] exceed their [another outcome].”
- “I’m really sorry you’ve had that experience. Good news is we’ve taken action and updated [product] in order to [outcome], so I’m confident you’d see a positive result with [offering] this time.”
It comes down to showing your prospect the true results they will achieve and enjoy if they decide to buy.
This is where case studies and customer success stories can offer the objective proof you need. Have the links to case studies from your website on hand to share with your prospect straight away.
These objections are often great news—this means your prospect knows the value of your solution. Your job here is to ask follow-up questions and identify how they feel about it.
They might tell you something like:
- I’m already using [your competitor]
- I’m in a contract with [your competitor]
You can ask the following questions to find out about their experience and satisfaction with a competitor’s solution:
- “I’m glad you’re already working with a provider—because I’m confident we can help you with [goal 1] and [goal 2] even more than you current provider. What do your results look like so far?”
- “Why did you choose this service? What is working well? What isn’t?”
- “How do you feel about being in a contract?”
Carefully listen to the answers and look for weak spots, cues for features they might be missing, or desires for outcomes your prospect is not getting as expected.
As with most other objections, you’ll want to be prepared with a set of case studies and testimonials for your solution.
One of the easiest objections to deal with isn’t an objection at its core – it’s simply a cue to be redirected to the right person.
Authority-based objections come in the following forms:
- ”I don’t have the authority”
- ”I don’t control the budget”
- ”I can’t buy until I meet with [other stakeholders]”
If you’ve qualified this lead, your only job here is to get connected with the decision-maker.
Use any of these lines to follow up:
- “Can I get the name of the right person to talk to? Can you kindly connect me with him/her?”
- “Can I answer any of your questions before you meet with [other stakeholders]? Can you think of anything they will want to know first?”
- “I’d love to meet with both of you and get a chance to answer any questions and concerns you might have.”
This is another chance to show you genuinely care about the ways you can help them – not just sell to them.
How to boost your team morale to overcome objections
Finally, consistently aim to empower your sales team to deal with objections. Put a structure in place that will allow you to hear their concerns and help them power through potential setbacks.
Provide regular feedback
Because you’ve created a list of top objections your team receives, you can create a practice of checking in with your team on a monthly basis.
Ask them which objections they’ve encountered in the last sales cycle and have them walk you through the outcomes. Give feedback and update your list with any new objections. This doc can act as an invaluable training manual for your induction process.
Schedule ongoing training and support
Giving your sales team an ongoing learning experience based on their feedback can be a significant driver of long-term success. Tim Ohai, president of Growth & Associates, explains the value of this process:
“One of the ways to demotivate your staff is isolation, like leaving them alone without any feedback, encouragement, or offers to help”.
Don’t just set up a plan for overcoming sales objections and leave it at that. Schedule recurring training events on a quarterly basis to update your team’s techniques and strengthen their confidence in dealing with challenging situations during their sales process.
Recognize efforts and achievements
Recognition and encouragement are great ways to show your team you notice and value their hard work and contribution.
According to a study by Psychometrics, 58% of employees believe leaders could give more recognition and praise to increase employee engagement.
By genuinely recognizing milestones and successes, you will positively reinforce actions that get you and your team closer to your sales goals.
Another study by Westminster College shows that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated—so don’t forget to show your team the positive impact their hard work has on the company.
Develop your plan to battle the fear of sales objections
You and your team are ready to confidently tackle the fear of sales objections.
Your shared plan to proactively address common objections turn these hurdles into simple steps that take you closer to that final handshake deal.
View these objections as welcome opportunities to:
- Make sure your leads are qualified and perfect for your solution
- Personalize all correspondence based on their concerns, history, and experiences
- Build rapport and create a long-term customer relationship
Once you implement this approach, you’ll find results not only in a strengthened sales process, but more satisfied sales reps excited to talk to the next prospect.