Every sales representative stares down a long pathway of “no” (ah, if only customers started with “yes”!). Using a variety of common responses, prospects guard their money from the onslaught of vendors. As a result, our sales strategy needs to include smart ways to overcome sales objections. Rather than playing defense, we recommend focusing on offense. That is, instead of giving up (or even worse, sounding defensive), turn each objection on its ear with a planned response. In the end, overcoming sales objections is an essential and valuable skill, one that will undoubtedly improve your results. To help you get started, we outline six standard objections and show how you can strategically reply.
Sales Objection #1: Apathy – “We’re not interested.”
To start, demonstrate empathy. “It’s no surprise that you’re not interested in us yet; you haven’t heard about all we can do…”
Follow up with a story about another prospect who said the same thing but once they purchased your product, their story changed dramatically. “ABC Company told us that too. Do you want to reduce your overhead? Are you interested in getting more work in less time? Are you happy with your sales, or would you like to improve on closing deals? (What benefits can you deliver?) If you can afford 10 minutes, I’ll show you how we can help you like we did ABC.”
Sales Objection #2: Don’t Need – “We’re fine with our current setup.”
Ah, the status quo. Isn’t it great? Well, no… Everyone is looking for an edge, so you must emphasize your value proposition. Create some urgency to make a change (fear of missing out…). Like overcoming apathy, share a success story (or perhaps a failure for a prospect that didn’t take action).
“I can understand why you’d be cautious and stick to what you already have. We simply wanted to introduce you to our product and share examples where we’ve had success in your industry. (Then quickly hit an example in your showcase).”
It’s also worthwhile exploring problems they are having, even with their existing solution. Plant seeds of doubt; show them a greener pasture; ask questions that point out problem areas. They may start re-thinking the status quo.
Sales Objection #3: Value – “I need to think about it” or “I need more info.”
Beware: stall tactic! Yes, it’s OK to follow through with your brochure or case study, but don’t let the prospect off the hook. Immediately ask follow-up questions to open a dialog to help you qualify and engage.
“I’m attaching our one sheet to an email right now, but I’d like to ask you a couple of questions so I can send you information that will be more in line with your individual needs.”
Sales Objection #4: Budget – “We can’t afford it now.”
First, the good news: considering price means you’re at the table. It’s transactional.
Next, although hitting the 10% discount trigger might seem prudent, it’s not. Focus on value and use the same approach as you would for “I need more info”.
“Our system helps you target more of the right customers for your business. If you have more topline revenue, your investment in our system will pay for itself within a month or two.”
Sales Objection #5: Authority – “I need to talk to my team.”
Beware: another stall tactic. The prospect may be trying to let you down easily or get rid of you (since most agents give up if they don’t close right away). Highlight your value proposition, ask qualifying questions and maintain engagement.
“We’ve been discussing our product for a while — do you think we may work together? I don’t want to waste your time if you feel think it’s unlikely.”
Sales Objection #6: Timeliness – “We’re too busy right now.”
In a way, this could be viewed as a stall tactic, but the reality is it’s more likely a value perception. If your product can save time, make more money, lower overhead of improve productivity, you need to convey that value (quickly!). Explain how a modest time & capital investment will enable more resources so they’re not so busy (use their excuse against them!).
“We completely understand that you’re busy. And that’s just why we need to work together. If you’re struggling to keep up with all your projects at ABC, we can improve your productivity by 25% within the first month. Then you’ll have more time to work on the most important issues of your business.”
Smart Ways to Overcome Sales Objections
Selling will probably never be too easy. With so many marketing messages delivered to us every day, we build walls that only let the right messages through. And that’s precisely why having a playbook for objections is smart. You can start with a simple plan and add new ways to overcome sales objections as different screens are put in front of you. Read the signs to see what the prospect is really saying. That said, don’t be annoying either. You can wear out your welcome if you push the playbook too hard – simply offer your secondary message to gauge the reaction. If you feel strong pushback, allow some room. If you feel engagement, push a litle harder. Using this approach, you’ll have a chance to make your life a bit easier and close more deals along the way.