Article

How to overcome common sales objections for reps

Don’t let “no” get in the way of closing a deal. Learn how to handle common sales objections so you don’t lose a lead to something fixable.

By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer

Published August 22, 2017
Last updated March 8, 2022

Let’s start with every sales rep’s nightmare: After weeks (if not months) of guiding your prospect through the sales process, they decide they no longer want your product. Disaster, right? Luckily for you, this particular prospect’s objections probably aren’t unique. Sales objections are, unfortunately, part of the job for every sales rep, no matter how experienced. You’re never going to eliminate them entirely, but you can study up on how to expertly prepare for common objections and smoothly counter them to get back to the deal.

What is a sales objection?

A sales objection is a major concern raised by a prospect during any point in the sales process. Some objections are minor, but the most common ones can grind your pitch to a halt as you frantically work to calm your prospect's fears.

Depending on where you are in the sales funnel, you might not have a strong relationship with the prospect, and certain tactics may be less effective. That’s why a strong understanding of different sales techniques is key to knowing which angle to attack from.

So, what are the common hurdles on the path to closing sales? Let’s tackle a few of the biggest concerns buyers express on a daily basis.

Common sales objections and how to overcome them

The first thing to understand about overcoming objections in sales is that most of the time, your prospects’ concerns are extremely valid. Today’s market is saturated with options for every conceivable type of product or service. While those options provide buyers with more specific opportunities, they also create choice overload and lead to second-guessing.

When faced with such an overwhelming number of purchase possibilities, prospects will understandably have questions. Does this product cost less because it’s poorly made? Is this product worth the expensive price or is this a scam? Do I actually need this or is this company taking advantage of me?

All these questions are a symptom of too many choices in the market and the impossibility of researching every single one. Once you understand that, you’re ready to start tackling the top objections:

Lack of trust

sales objections

Along with perceived value, the risk factor is a powerful gatekeeper to any sale. This is especially important for your first-time buyers.

Seasoned sales reps will know that the best way to build trust is to address a prospect’s emotional or financial concerns head-on. Amateur sales reps may attempt to fly by the seat of their pants and “wing it”—but they don’t have the experience it takes to pull that off.

The best way to overcome lack of experience? Prepare. Preparation is the key to eliminating any sales objections that relate to trust.

Learn how to build trust the moment your client makes their first objection. As we’ll soon discuss with the price excuse, having prepared answers for your client’s concerns is crucial to closing the sale. Expand your sales dialogue to include honest answers for any question or concern your customer has.

Referred clients have a 16% higher lifetime value.

It’s not easy, but being proactive and honest will help you build trust and win exponentially more sales.

Another way to address lack of trust is with referrals. In general, referred clients have a 16 percent higher lifetime value.

Content marketing is also an excellent way to build trust. Create resources that help your clients solve day-to-day issues, and you’ll be the first one they come to for support when they have a bigger problem. Plus, they may realize that all that free advice and information you gave them in the past far outweigh the cost of your product today.

That leads to our next top sales objection: price.

Price

It’s inescapable: cost is the number one concern for hesitant buyers. And sure, it only makes sense that the client would turn down your offer if the funds are simply not available. But the truth is that price is just another excuse that masks a more specific, actionable request.

The first step in deciphering the price puzzle is to simply wait. When a client first comments on price (in person or over the phone), use the power of silence and wait a full three to five seconds before responding. Chances are they’ll offer up an explanation as to why the price is too high because they’re afraid of sounding cheap or dismissive.

Even if they don’t try to fill the silence, the next question out of your mouth should be the same: Can I ask why you think the price is too high? Once you have an answer, you can then determine which avenue to take.

If the holdup is around budget limitations, see if you can provide a payment plan that suits their needs.

If the main issue is cash flow, ask them if they really understand the value of what they are purchasing. At this juncture, they’ve already invested a valuable amount of time and thought into your product. They should be well aware of the problem that led them here in the first place. That problem kept them involved in the sales conversation up until this point, so what’s changed?

The best solution for any price concern is to increase the product’s perceived value. Challenge your client to explain what they think is missing. Does a competitor offer something similar? Let them know how your product is different. Does their problem have a sense of urgency? Remind them of the true cost they face by delaying the purchase.

Bad timing

sales objections

You’ve likely heard the old adage “timing is everything.” That certainly applies to sales. As with anything, bad timing can halt a sale in its tracks—even if everything else is lining up.

50% of generated leads are qualified but not ready to buy right now.

Bad timing can mean the buyer is seriously considering your solution—but only for a future problem. According to Gleanster Research, 50 percent of generated leads are qualified but not ready to buy right now. Consider playing the long game. There’s no reason why a dismissal today can’t lead to an approval tomorrow.

As with cost objections, you need to hear out your prospect’s concerns about buying the product right here, right now. Since you’re prepared to address any scenario, respond to their reasoning with both logic and an emotional appeal.

If they are still dead set on delaying the sale even after your brilliant solutions have been presented, let it go. For now. Use a great CRM to keep track of their answers and what made them interested in your company in the first place, then ensure you have a solid follow-up strategy in place and make a note to reach out to them at a later date.

Another great tip is to work with your marketing team to build an automated nurture stream that can be used to “warm them up,” and ask them to opt in to this campaign. This steady stream of information about your market and offering should help familiarize prospects with your company over time so that, when they are ready to make a purchase, your solution will be top of mind.

Lack of need

Lack of need is possibly the easiest of the core four sales objections to handle. It means the prospect is fully capable of buying, they just don’t know if they want to. In this case, rather than battling financial logistics or deep mistrust, you’re simply trying to persuade the prospect that the product is worth buying no matter what their needs are. It’s a good, old-fashioned sale.

There are a few ways to approach the “I don’t see how this can help me” objection—depending on where it’s coming from.

Some prospects might not need your product because they’re already using a similar product from a different provider. This is especially common in SaaS sales. If this is the case, you might not be able to win them over now, but you can keep the conversation going and re-engage when their contract is up. If your product is, in fact, a better one or more suited to their needs than the competitor’s, then it may be worth it to push back.

The other key reason a prospect might not “need” your product is because they don’t fully understand its benefits, and you don’t fully understand their pain points. This is actually a fantastic sales opportunity because you get to talk more about the details of the product and ask questions to get to the root of what your prospect needs. For instance, if you’re trying to sell an insurance plan to a company and they claim it’s not a top priority, that’s your opening to ask what the top priority is.

If that top priority is recruitment (because they’re behind in manufacturing), pivot your sale. Not only is your insurance plan beneficial to the company and the safety of its workers, but you can work with them to create a bundle that also offers health insurance to all employees. Affordable benefits might draw in more workers and ease the top priority while also solving the company’s need for insurance.

How to rebuttal in sales

Now that we know the problems, let’s look at some specific rebuttals. The key to a solid sales objection rebuttal is to not argue with the customer but to offer them another option or perspective. Here are a few examples:

Objection: “We don’t have the money for that.”

Rebuttal: “I completely understand. Based on your company’s resources and need for [type of product], I can take you through some of our similar products that may be a less expensive fit for now.”

Objection: “We’re already in a contract with [insert vendor].”

Rebuttal: “Oh excellent, you’re already familiar with this [type of product]. Are you liking [insert competitor]? Is there anything you’re lacking in their product? We’ve added new features to [our product] like [list features] that we’ve heard are a major upgrade from a lot of similar companies.”

Objection: “I’m not authorized to approve this purchase.”

Rebuttal: “I completely understand. Who is the person I should be speaking with, and can you redirect me to them?”

Objection: “I’ve never heard of your company.”

Rebuttal: “I’m glad to introduce you to us now! We specialize in [insert specialization], especially for companies that do [what prospect’s company does]. I’d love to chat with you about your current solution and see what we can do to help.”

Objection: “We don’t have the time to train our people on your product.”

Rebuttal: “That’s more than understandable. I’d be happy to walk you through our training and implementation plan. We also have one of the highest customer service ratings in our industry, and we’d be happy to help you along the way.”

The common thread through these rebuttals is that you’re never telling the prospect they’re wrong. They’re not wrong—they just don’t have all the information yet. Good thing you’re there to give it to them.

How to overcome objections in cold calling

Objections during an advanced sales conversation with your prospect are one thing, but cold call objections are their own beast. Phone sale objections are inherently harder than any other type of objection because the prospect can always hang up. Even when they don’t hang up, it can be hard to keep prospects on the line once they realize it’s a sales call.

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals.

The secret to cold calling is that you’re rarely going to make a sale during the initial conversation, so don’t try. Instead, encourage the prospect to set up a meeting. When you take money out of the equation, people are much more willing to listen. If you can get contact information from a prospect on a cold call, you’ve already knocked it out of the park.

Fundamentally, the best way to overcome sales objections in cold calling is to simply avoid them.

5 objection handling tips

We’ve looked at specific objections, but what about best practices for objections in general? Here are five tips to keep in mind no matter what objection comes your way.

  1. Know when a “no” is real

    Not every sale is meant to be, and there are times when no amount of SPIN selling or consultative selling can save it. That’s okay. Knowing when to walk away and let a sale go is an essential part of being a successful sales rep. Choosing the appropriate moment to disengage will maintain your sales ethics, help maintain your sanity, and ensure you’re not wasting your time.

    It’s always more important to walk away from an impossible sale and stay sane for the next prospect than it is to keep at a sale that clearly isn’t going anywhere. As time goes on, you’ll get a sense of which objections are worth fighting and which are best to just leave alone.

    Additionally, don’t let the tire kickers get in your way. If a prospect is giving you objections left and right but still engaging with your funnel, they might be taking you for a ride. Let them down gently, and if you think there’s still a possibility, reach out again in a few months to see where things stand.

  2. Don’t take rejection personally

    The average sales success rate, regardless of industry, is 3 percent. (Yes, you read that correctly.) That means 97 percent of your prospects are going to end up saying no. If you take that personally, you won’t make it in the sales industry.

    Instead, take the focus off of the sale and put it on solving people’s problems. When you can remove the sales goal, you can start looking at your prospects as people, not numbers. People have real problems that need real solutions. If you can be the one to guide them to that solution, you’ve had a great day on the job.

    Remember, if a prospect doesn’t buy, they’re not rejecting you. They’re rejecting the product. And products are never going to be made for everyone.

  3. Always start with listening

    Even if you have your rebuttals ready to go and you’ve prepared your pitch for weeks, always start with listening. The worst mistake you can make when talking to a prospect is not really hearing what they’re saying, especially when it comes to an objection.

    If you hear an objection, stop pitching. Listen to and address the concern before you go back to the product. If someone says the price is too high and you ignore them and keep talking about the product's benefits, they aren’t going to feel respected or heard. In that case, you’ve likely lost them—no matter what you say next.

  4. Practice your responses

    The first time you use a rebuttal should never be with a prospect. You should be practicing your rebuttals and responses with the other members of your sales team. Sales managers should run exercises with newcomers and host quarterly exercises for updated techniques.

    If you aren’t working with a sales team, take advantage of online templates and walkthroughs. You want to be ready for all types of objection styles and emotions. “It’s too expensive” sounds very different coming from a disappointed, passive prospect than it does from an infuriated one. You need to be prepared for both.

  5. Be patient

    Even if an objection seems ridiculous to you, it’s not ridiculous to your prospect. Take the time to let them express their concern before you try to address an objection. If they want to postpone and take time to think, let them have that time. You can still be proactive and schedule a future meeting rather than simply letting them go, but forcing someone to make a decision rarely ends well for salespeople.

How a CRM helps you manage your prospects and sales objections

When you’re facing a 97-percent rejection rate, you need to be talking to hundreds—if not thousands—of prospects to find success. Not only that, you must be able to keep track of each prospect’s pain points, objections, and progress through the sales funnel. That’s too much for any one person to handle, which is why you need the help of a strong, organized CRM.

Zendesk Sell is a fast, efficient, simple CRM designed with the busy salesperson in mind. With clear formatting and easy cross-departmental communication, you can manage your prospects without losing any along the way. Combine Zendesk Sell with Zendesk for service so you can also create a user-friendly interface for your customers that helps them navigate objections on any future purchases.

Request a demo today and stop letting objections keep you from achieving your sales goals.

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals.

Improve your sales process

A good sales process is the foundation of any successful sales organization. Learn how to improve your sales process and close more deals.

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