Being able to properly handle objections can make or break a sale. Depending on where in the sales cycle the objection is brought up will determine the method of handling. Typically objections are presented during the initial prospecting and discovery phase, during discovery, or during the negotiation and closing.
Objection handling during prospecting and discovery.
When initially reaching out to a prospect they will inherently throw up one of three different objections to deflect the prospector. In some cases these are genuine objections, however more often than not, these are simply objections to shut the prospector down. The three most common objections during prospecting are;
Send me some information,
I’m all set, or
This won’t work for me.
On the surface all three seem genuine and respectful, as the prospect did receive a cold outreach. The sales reps job is to dig deeper and uncover the meaning of each of these objections.
Send me some information
This is the most common objection. A sales rep has reached out their prospect, wetted their appetite for some information and the prospect answers in kind. While seeming genuine on the surface, this objection is the most sinister. A sales rep with happy ears will think this is objection is on the level and send some information, then fail to engage with the prospect ever again.
There are two keys that need to be used to unlock this objection.
The first is to ask what kind of information they are looking for. Are they looking for company information? Case studies? Technical information? There is a ton of information a sales rep can provide a prospect. Without proper guidance a sales rep will likely miss the mark with the information sent and fail at engaging the prospect.
The second key is asking if the prospect has the intention of actually reviewing the material. This is a critical step, as time is the one commodity nobody is making more of, a sales rep needs to make sure that if and when they put time to review, compile, and send that the prospect does indeed have the intention of reviewing that material. An interesting ploy here is that if the prospect does agree that they will review the material, a great sales will drive to close a discovery call.
I’m all set
This is a blocking objection provided by close minded prospects. The most common reasons why this objection comes are that a prospect is busy and is too respectful to hang up, they’ve recently implemented a similar solution, or they don’t understand the solution you are providing.
The key to unlocking an objection in this category is by challenging them. Typically your solution solves one problem particularly well, so challenge them on it by presenting it as, “great, you are all set, can you tell me how you do XXX” were XXX is the one thing you do particularly well and not competitor can challenge you.
It won’t work for me
This is another blocking objection presented by a close minded prospect. These prospects live in a vacuum and believe that whatever they do and require needs to be bespoke or custom built. Both of those cases mean a high cost of implementation, that most companies are not ready to pay.
The key to unlocking this objection is by showing them you’ve done your research, worked with companies that wrestle with similar issues, and you know you to solve it. The fastest way to engage the prospect in a conversation is to tell them straight up, “this is why I’ve called you” and launch in to your very targeted pitch for them, related to an specific need you’ve identified for them.
Objection handling during discovery
The discovery phases of the sales process is the most critical one. A sales rep that can conduct a great discovery is a sales rep that understands the underlying factors that drive the prospect to a solution.
The interesting thing about objections presented during discovery is by and large they can all be answered in the same manner. Whenever a prospect asks does your solution do this or that, the simplest and most effective way of handling that objection to ask in return something along the lines of, “why is that important to you?” or “is that something that is important for you?”.
The responses from these objections will inform the sales rep on what is important to the prospect so they can focus their solution and demo on what actually matters, not feature dumping and hoping they stumble upon something the prospect really needs.
Objection handling during negotiation and closing
While objections typically brought up in the negotiation and close phase of the sales process can be brought up at any point in the sales process, such as questions about pricing and delivery, the general rule of thumb is that objections brought up on the final phase are typically ones that surround the prospects inability to see the value of the solution or set out to stall the process.
Objections around price need to be countered with providing value. As price is only one reason people buy or don’t buy, the other two being having enough time to assess a solution or not being able to collate the right information to make a decision (more information here - I have an article somewhere), providing value ensures that price should not matter. That being said, there are prospects that are price sensitive, so appropriate discovery up front should determine a prospect’s ability to afford your solution. One tactic typically applied by sales reps is to provide a sufficiently high price on their solution up front and gauge a prospect’s ability. The last thing a sale rep wants to do is spend hours on a prospects that will never have sufficient amount of funds to purchase their product.
Stalling objections need to be clearly understood. Are they direct stalling objections where the prospect doesn’t want to make a decision due to internal factors that the rep is not aware of. Perhaps the stalling objections are due to the fact that the prospect doesn’t trust the sales rep, the product, or the company’s ability to deliver on the sales rep’s promises. Regardless, a sales rep need to directly challenge the prospect as to why they are stalling and see what the work arounds are. Does the sales rep need to escalate this above their prospects role? Does the sales rep need to involve their executive team? Or does the sales rep need to provide credible references for the prospect to help them trust that the solution will do what it is supposed to do and the company can deliver on the sales reps promise.