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The 4 Most Common Sales Objections And How to Master Them

What would sales be without sales objections? Pretty easy and boring. It would consist of just one thing: handing the pen to the customer and pointing out where to sign. You might think sales would be better off without objections, but objections are often a good sign. In this article, you will learn what are the 4 most common sales objections and some objection handling techniques to deal with them.

What is a Sales Objection?

What Are The Most Common Sales Objections?

What is Objection Handling?

Objection Handling Techniques in Sales

Sales enablement supports in the cultivation and practice of objection handling skills

What Is a Sales Objection?

A sales objection is a buyer's announcement that there is an obstacle for him or her to make a buying decision. On an Expert Talk with Brett Trainor, he described customer objections as a demonstration of their misunderstanding in your value, or your ability to solve their problem. When prospects have objections with regards to a purchase, they are actually demonstrating interest in your offer. They ask questions, request more information, and state their concerns. Instead of fearing sales objections, you simply need to learn to see them as opportunities to advance your sales process. 
sales objections

What Are The Most Common Sales Objections?

Holding meetings with new and even existing customers can seem uncertain at times, but, as salespeople, we have the responsibility to predict the types of perspectives and questions that our customers may have in mind. Through extensive research, attentive preparation, and a forecasting process, you can anticipate your customer’s objections with devised solutions.

There are different kinds of objections that occur during a sales cycle and they all have different causes. The most common objections our clients experienced in the sale of solutions revolved around money, the authority to buy, the do-nothing attitude, and finally, the problem of unidentified needs and benefits.

Sales Objection #1: Money, Money, Money

A leading objection in the sales cycle may be the cost of your offer and the client’s allocated budget. Your prospect will have a constrained budget for IT investments and will naturally want to negotiate on the price. Statements like the following might pop up:

  • “We do not have a budget for this.”
  • “Our budget is shrinking.”
  • “Your price is too high.”

Concerns about money will most likely go deeper than your prospect’s budget and the price of your offering. Identify the problem at its root to see if the stated objection is really the truth or if it’s merely a smokescreen. Also, it is crucial to determine if the prospect is really a good fit for your solution. Once this is clear for you, you just need to make it clear for the customer. Know the value of what you are selling in order to "own" your price and avoid the mistake of devaluating your product. Reiterate the benefits of your solution and make sure to emphasize the value your solution brings to your prospect’s specific situation.

Sales Objection #2: Authority to Buy

Your prospect contact person may not have the authority to sign the contract or not be the sole decision-maker. Your contact will say things like:

  • “I have to speak with so-and-so about this before deciding.”
  • “I don’t know if my superior would sign off on this.”
  • "Such matters are not my responsibility."

But you shouldn't automatically turn away from people with no authority to buy. At most organizations, the decision-makers will be too busy to conduct research or talk to vendors upfront about a purchase. They will first delegate a team to identify whether your solution is a good fit for their company and only then, after your solution is deemed worthwhile, will you have the opportunity to state your case to them directly.

For sales professionals decision-makers delegating to others has one major implication: You should connect with the people involved in the purchasing decision since they represent influential individuals in the purchasing process. Identify their needs and concerns and win them over as a first step.

Sales Objection #3: Do-Nothing Attitude

Throughout your sales career, you will face prospects that procrastinate or put your sales process on hold. You will hear “It is not the right time to make a decision. Please call me in a month or so” and similar statements. In such cases, either the prospect wants to get rid of the salesperson or the prospect’s purchase process is an extremely protracted one.

If the purchase decision is in the distant future, you should get more information on the prospect’s process for approving budgets, the people involved in the process, and their needs and concerns. Do not try to rush your prospects into a decision if they aren’t ready. Instead, show them the impact and value they will be missing out on today without your solution.

Sales Objection #4: Unidentified Needs and Benefits

This objection is often the root cause of a wide range of problems. You will recognize this objection when you hear statements like “We really don’t need your solution” or “We’ll stick to our current solution and get by”. When you hear these kinds of statements, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are your prospects certain that they don’t need your solutions?
  • Does your solution really solve your prospects’ problems?
  • Are they simply overwhelmed by the information presented?

Find the reason why they think they don’t need your solution and provide them with case studies or guides, summarized in an email, to highlight why they may, in fact, need it.

 sales objections

These four objections can act as clues that you have not yet understood a prospect’s problems and needs. Most of these objections pop up because sales personnel have failed to properly investigate the needs and motivations of a potential client and align a corresponding sales approach. As a sales professional, you can be more proactive in your sales process and lead your customers through their purchasing process instead of trying to push them through your sales process.

What is Objection Handling?

Here is a definition of objection handling from our Sales Enablement Glossary:

In sales conversations, customers will articulate their opinions including objections to your offered solution/service. Objection handling provides techniques to salvage trust and meaningful connection during critical moments in customer relationships by acknowledging, addressing, and relieving the customer’s issues.

Objection Handling Techniques in Sales

Jacek Chmielecki, a keynote speaker and expert in sales that has had different management positions in IT, e-commerce and fintech companies for the last 20 years, points out preparation and an objection-blocking perspective as the most skillful objection handling techniques in sales:

1. Preparation is crucial for objection handling

One of the most important objection handling skills is research. Thorough preparation is mandatory before any meeting, whether it is with a new buyer or an existing customer. Because of its networking capabilities and international user base, you should start by looking at the LinkedIn profile of your meeting partner. Bear in mind, they will also investigate your profile and company to avoid any surprises. Following this step, continue your research on Google or any search engine. Salespeople need to understand the KPIs of their clients, the expectations of their daily job. As Brett Trainor advised, prepare yourself until customers start viewing you as a subject-matter expert and advisor as opposed to simply a salesperson.

In addition, we must uncover our client’s individual problems, the problems of their company, and of their industry. With this abundance of information, you can then determine common sales objections and how to respond. Try your best to adopt the customer’s perspective on every angle of the meeting and its consequences. Only then will you be able to provide valuable answers and solutions to questions that may arise. Building a comprehensive, bird's eye view of your counterpart's business relates to the 'entrepreneurial' and 'holistic' characteristics of a modern seller from Amy Franko's perspective. Find out more details from our discussion with Franko about the skillset needed for the modern seller's approach to their job, with particular reference to account planning.

If you have trouble finding information or publications about a prospective client, use other approaches to research. One option would be to see how other people and companies interact with your client on various online platforms. Another alternative: dive into the challenges of their overall industry. Industry-specific problems will act as a common ground to refer to when analyzing whether your perceptions of the client are right or wrong. Moreover, you can conduct internal research amongst your colleagues. It is very seldom to enter a meeting with a client that is unfamiliar to your company, with concern to the type of company or industry. Ask others about their thoughts and experiences to further aid your research. Do everything you can to prepare, because the worst thing you can do is to walk into a meeting feeling uneasy and relying on luck.

2. Walk into the meeting with an 'objection blocking' perspective

Jacek proposes ‘objection blocking’ as a valuable objection handling technique in sales meetings. Be the first to communicate objections in customer conversations. Don’t wait until your client communicates their issues, as this puts you on the defense. Instead, trigger the conversation by communicating common concerns (previously forecasted in your research and preparation) that might be in the minds of your customer. Make your client feel as though you are reading their mind, that you truly understand their business challenges and circumstances. This effect will work well in your favor for building a strong rapport.  Once again, there is a major emphasis on the quality and time dedicated to the preparation prior to a meeting, to ensure that you vocalize probable objections in particular areas of your products or solutions. Following on from Jacek's suggestion, you should use the following procedure when blocking common objections:

  • Introduce appropriate solutions for specific objections
  • Demo the solution (if possible)
  • Tie-down the objection (most important step) – After explaining and justifying the appropriateness of your solution, you need confirmation from your client that they understand how their criticism or issue is addressed. This is the act of ‘tying down’ an objection, to ensure that it doesn’t resurface later.

objection handling

3. What salespeople SHOULDN'T do if objections still arise

Since objection blocking only covers common problems that clients may have, salespeople still need to hone their objection handling techniques for issues that may appear later in the conversation. A strong suggestion from Jacek is to build a scheme of actions when faced with an objection. They are easy to follow in your head and can put you back on track if you feel stunned or nervous.

So here is what NOT to do:

Do your best not to disagree the first moment a customer has a question or concern. Avoid saying: “yes, I understand this but…”. The word ‘but’ cuts off everything that was previously said. This is a quick way to lose the customer’s or buyer’s interest in your reasonings. Preferably, attempt to approach your client’s concerns with an open mind and try to sympathize with their perspective. In this way, you can start to build trust with your client before you start to suggest the ways your product or service can resolve their issues. Relate their thoughts to similar concerns from other clients, forming your customers to feel understood in an open and honest environment.

Assume that the first objections that arise are 'real' objections. All too often, salespeople make the mistake of swiftly believing that the initial objections in a discussion are the root cause for their customer's organizational challenges. As an alternative, listen out for what prospects may be saying between the lines, listen for their genuine hurdles from doing business with you.

These objections and disagreements occur during professional sales meetings, so don't take them personally! Both you and your customer have a responsibility to your respective companies, so when perspectives don't align, remind yourself that it isn't your fault. There are other people and other accounts out there that are more suited to your type of service or offering. It is okay if this deal isn't successful, there are other, more befitting opportunities waiting.

Ask why the customer or buyer has objections. When you start asking ‘why’, this directs his/her mindset towards their negative associations of your solution. Alternatively, use follow-up questions to collect information on what is behind the customer’s troubles. There is always a justification for their actions, and it is the responsibility of the sales force to locate it without specifically asking ‘why’. One of the most crucial objection handling skills is finding the fear hindering your counterpart from choosing your service. The 2 most common fears in B2B sales are either making the right decision for the company or making the right decision for themselves. We need to ask additional, more inquisitive questions to isolate our customer’s objections and obstacles. Leverage this knowledge for adapting your solutions to address their obstacles head-on.

Objection blocking

Sales enablement supports in the cultivation and practice of objection handling skills

Sales enablement empowers the whole customer-facing team to enhance their productivity, efficiency, and cross-functional collaboration. Everything is driven with a ‘customer first’ mindset, and all activities go towards presenting value to the customer. Therefore, it is a key component for preparing best practices and schemes around objection handling.

The first step into this area is through workshops that focus on customer problems. Identify the customer problems encountered within your sales team. Afterward, discuss to understand the scope of what your company and portfolio can solve. Once you have aggregated a selection of problems, categorize them into business and technical problems. And finally, try to understand the implications if a customer decides to treat a specified problem or not. By following these steps, you will have created a repository of objections and solutions to discuss in your next sales meeting. Utilize this asset to enter client conversations with the ability to handle their specific objections by communicating your prepared solutions.

Roleplay and case scenarios are another enablement method to develop objection handling skills. Knowing and doing are 2 different worlds. Many experienced salespeople fall into the trap of underestimating the complexity of objection handling. In every given scenario, you need to ask the right questions to determine what the problem is. Plus, sellers and buyers hold different assumptions of each other, with the latter being imperative to identify. Practice role-playing once you have identified the real problem. Additionally, swapping roles is one of the most powerful ways to learn how a customer or buyer may feel and to raise awareness of your own mindset in sales conversations. These are easy and cost-effective ways of learning before entering the field.

With this approach, you’ll be recognized as part of the solution! Find out more about our selected programs and training courses at our webshop.

 

We can help you take your B2B sales to the next level. Get in touch!

Britta Lorenz

Britta Lorenz

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