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What are Sales Objections?
Sales objections are concerns, hesitations, or doubts a potential customer might have before purchasing a product or service. Salespeople handle them at every stage of the sales process as discussions with decision-makers reveal more information about the customer’s needs, wants, and preferences (and whether their product can meet them).
In other words, sales objections are the reasons a potential customer can’t or won’t buy your product. Common ones include:
- “I don’t have the budget.”
- “I’m happy with my current provider.”
- “I don’t think this product will solve my problem.”
- “I can’t make a decision right now.”
- “Switching to your solution takes too much time.”
- “I don’t trust your company.”
Objections aren’t personal attacks on your business or sales team, but rather an opportunity for the seller to address and overcome the barriers to a successful sale. It’s a chance to listen actively and understand the customer’s concerns, needs, and preferences better.
- Customer objections
- Buyer objections
- Deal breakers
Importance of Handling Sales Objections
It’s rare that a buyer will be 100% sure about a product or service before making a purchase. Most people have some level of hesitation, and it’s the role of the salesperson to address and alleviate those concerns. Handling objections effectively makes the difference between closing a deal and losing it.
Aside from a considerably higher conversion rate, handling objections well helps sales reps build trust and credibility with their customers. Actively listening and addressing their concerns shows you value their opinion and are committed to delivering a solution that meets their needs. Long term, this leads to customer loyalty, a lower churn rate, and (potential referrals).
Common Types of Sales Objections
As mentioned earlier, there are various types of sales objections. Some require more finesse and negotiation skills than others.
Broadly, there are five categories:
- Genuine objections
- Unsolvable objections
Beyond those general categories, here are the most common examples:
Budget is the most common sales objection. Part of the reason for this is it’s the easiest to claim (and the seller has no way to prove otherwise). So, whether a potential buyer actually has a budgetary constraint or not, they’ll probably use it.
You can expect budget-related objections when:
- Your product is significantly more expensive than its competition.
- The buyer has to purchase a large number of products (and thus, make a considerable investment).
- You’re selling to someone with no purchasing power in their company.
- You’re selling an enterprise product that requires significant IT infrastructure to implement and maintain.
- The buyer has limited resources, such as a small business owner.
- There’s a lot of red tape preventing the sale on the buyer’s side.
Since budget constraints can stem from dozens of different areas, sellers have to be proactive about addressing them. Sometimes, this means working with the buyer to make necessary cuts or adjustments. Other times, it means highlighting the value and ROI your solution provides.
No Need for Your Product
Not every potential buyer is convinced they need your product. They might say, “We’re happy with our current vendor,” or “Our team already has a solution that’s working just fine.”
If there’s genuinely no need (or perceived need) for your product, there’s not much you can do to convince the buyer otherwise. If they’re saying this to dismiss the conversation, though, you have an opportunity for further discussion.
Maybe they’re happy with their current provider, but there’s one area where they’re not fully satisfied. That’s your chance to uncover it and demonstrate your product’s ability to fill that gap.
Not a Priority
Even if your product solves a problem or need for the buyer, it might not be high on their list. Most buyers are somewhat unaware of their problem (or, at the very least, don’t know how to frame it in their heads). A lack of urgency is one of the most problematic objections because it stagnates deals even when there is a potential fit.
Like budget constraints and pricing objections, several factors can cause this objection. For instance, the buyer could be dealing with a more pressing issue and hasn’t had time to think about your product’s value yet. In that case, you have to remind them of the consequences of not addressing their problem now.
Or maybe they’re indecisive or unsure about committing to any new solutions at the moment. In that case, you have to get them excited about the possibilities your product offers and show how it can benefit them in the long run.
Lack of Trust
Sometimes, prospective buyers object because they don’t trust your company or product. They might say things like, “I’m not convinced this is the best solution for our company,” or “I’ve never heard of your brand before.”
There are multiple reasons a buyer would object on the basis of trust:
- They don’t understand how your product works
- They can’t see it fitting into their existing processes.
- They’ve had a poor experience with your company in the past (or heard about one).
- Your product has a bad reputation in the market.
- Your company was viewed negatively in the media.
- They’re used to working with established brands (and you’re a newcomer).
Sometimes, it’s the salesperson’s fault. They might have failed to establish rapport or demonstrate their expertise during the conversation. Other times, the buyer is simply skeptical or resistant to change.
In either case, you can overcome this objection by providing social proof (case studies, customer testimonials) and building a relationship with the buyer.
Lack of Authority
Unless you’re selling for a huge company like Salesforce or Oracle, there’s a good chance your product is completely unknown to the buyer. This lack of awareness can lead to skepticism and a general lack of trust in your company, product, or even yourself.
If this is the case, you’ll need to do more legwork to establish credibility with the buyer. That could mean providing social proof (like customer testimonials), offering a demo or free trial so they can see the value for themselves, or simply being transparent and accessible throughout the sales process.
Another obstacle that can arise when dealing with potential buyers is a lack of authority. This could be due to the buyer not having decision-making power within their company or needing approval from multiple stakeholders. In these cases, it’s important to identify the decision-makers and work to get them on board with your product.
How to Handle Objections in Sales
Sometimes, a sales objection is the result of external factors outside the buyer’s control. Others, it’s due to a lack of understanding or trust. Regardless, every objection presents an opportunity for the salesperson to demonstrate their value and help the buyer overcome their hesitation.
The process for handling sales objections is largely the same as the solution selling process in general. Sellers have to take a consultative approach to understand the root cause of the objection and work with the buyer to find a solution.
Listen to the Prospect’s Concerns
The first step in addressing sales objections is effectively listening to the prospect’s concerns. As a sales representative, it’s your responsibility to draw out these objections if they aren’t openly expressed. This may seem counterintuitive, but objections are an integral part of the sales process. They offer valuable insights into the buyer’s mindset and potential barriers to the sale.
Recognize the Objection’s Validity
Even if you think your buyer is just stalling or biased, denying or disagreeing with a sales objection creates tension and pushes the buyer away, which makes it even more difficult to close the deal. Instead of challenging them, thank your prospect, tell them you understand their perspective, and ask for more information to help clarify any misunderstandings. An objection is 100 times better than a flat-out “no,” so you should welcome them with warmth and curiosity.
Understand the Prospect’s Needs
A customer objection could stem from several different places:
- A legitimate concern
- Reluctance to go through with the sale for a reason they aren’t expressing
- Simply testing the waters to see if you’re willing to negotiate
No matter the reason, you’ll need to be able to identify it and address it head-on. That’s why it’s critical to understand your prospect’s needs before you can effectively address their objections.
Active listening is an essential skill in this respect (as is genuine curiosity). It’s more than just hearing the words the prospect says. You have to fully engage with the buyer and ask open-ended questions that give you more context about their situation.
Respond with Empathy
Utilize encouraging body language and verbal cues, such as nodding or saying ‘uh-huh,’ to indicate you understand what your prospect is trying to tell you. Repeat back what they’ve said to show understanding, and ask open-ended questions to dig deeper into their concerns. By creating a safe space for the prospect to express their doubts, you make it easier to address these objections and move the sales conversation forward.
Confirm You’ve Overcome the Objection
You’ll overcome objections as you move through the buying process with your prospect. At each stage of the sale, ask follow-up questions and confirm with the prospect that their concerns have been addressed. This will help you build trust and establish a positive rapport, which is crucial for closing the deal.
How to Respond to Specific Objections
Certain kinds of objections are more common for some businesses than others. A startup selling a brand-new, innovative product usually has to deal with a lack of credibility while a high-cost product brand might face more budget-related objections.
Here’s how to address different types of sales objections:
How to Overcome Lack of Budget or Price Objections
Overcoming budget and price objections is all about proving your product’s ROI. Usually, “budget” is just code for “I’m not convinced this product is worth my money yet.”
- “The product is too expensive compared to others in the market.”
- “We don’t have the budget allocated for this right now.”
- “We’re currently facing financial constraints and can’t make any new investments.”
- “I can’t justify the cost to the other stakeholders.”
- “We’re currently under contract with another provider, and it’s cheaper to stick with them.”
This might include:
- Demonstrating how your product fits into their existing budget, either by offering a more cost-effective solution or by showcasing the potential ROI that justifies the purchase.
- Offering flexible pricing options, like discounts for long-term contracts or customizable packages that fit within their budget constraints.
- Providing case studies and customer testimonials to showcase the tangible results your product has delivered for other companies.
- Showing how your product is a necessity, not just a luxury, for their business growth and success.
- Drilling down on the problem’s financial cost.
Early on in the qualification process, you should figure out what tangible metric or goal your prospect wants to improve or achieve. That way, you’re set up nicely to connect your product to a tangible solution.
How to Overcome Lack of Need or Product Fit Objections
Another common objection is when the prospect says they don’t need your product or it doesn’t fit their specific requirements.
- “We already have a similar product that fits our needs.”
- “I’m happy with our current provider, and there’s no reason to switch.”
- “Your product doesn’t have feature X, which we can’t live without.”
Sometimes, customers are entirely unaware of what their actual needs are. The art of sales is framing the problem in a way that makes your solution necessary.
You’ll want to follow these steps to handle needs-based objections:
- Attempt to uncover their specific goal and the total cost of not reaching it.
- Let them know you think you can help.
- Use tangible data and customer stories to illustrate how they’ll achieve that goal.
- Make sure the rest of your sales process is aligned with their pain point.
- If it’s a frequent objection, consider offering a freemium version of your product.
If they really can’t live without a feature your product can’t deliver, then the product won’t be a good fit. Still, you can verify this by asking whether it’s a deal-breaker.
How to Overcome Lack of Urgency or Timing Objections
When there isn’t enough urgency on the customer’s side, it’s the seller’s job to create it. Unlike other types of sales objections, a lack of urgency is quite abstract. They won’t flat-out say they aren’t prioritizing your product. You’ll feel it in their tone and actions.
There could be several reasons for a lack of urgency:
- Red tape and corporate bureaucracy make it difficult to make purchasing decisions.
- They’re busy, and the product isn’t a current priority.
- There’s no immediate consequence for not buying your product.
- They don’t see how it would significantly impact their business goals.
To overcome these objections, you need to stress the potential costs and consequences of inaction, such as missed opportunities or falling behind competitors. Show how your product fits into their current priorities and can help them achieve their goals faster.
You can also create a sense of urgency by offering limited-time deals or bonuses for acting quickly. But, make sure to honor the time limit on these — you’ll diminish your product’s value if you extend it every time.
How to Overcome Lack of Trust Objections
Lack of credibility and trust is a common objection when dealing with new prospects or selling a relatively unknown product. It’s normal for customers to be wary about investing in something they’re unfamiliar with, and building trust takes time.
Here are some ways you can overcome lack of trust objections:
- Use customer testimonials and case studies to showcase other companies’ success with your product.
- Offer a free trial or demo to let them experience the value of your product firsthand.
- Provide references from satisfied customers who can vouch for your product’s effectiveness.
- Be transparent and honest about any shortcomings or limitations of your product. This will show that you are not trying to hide anything and only want the best for your customers.
- Establish yourself as an expert by sharing valuable insights and content about your product and your prospect’s niche.
- Smile, make eye contact, and speak with conviction.
Also, don’t sound ‘sleazy’ — buyers can smell commission breath from a mile away. The more you use consultative selling and seem genuinely interested in helping them find the right product, the more trust you’ll gain. Friendliness and sociability go a long way here, as well.
How to Overcome Lack of Authority Objections
Think of your company’s lack of authority as a ‘lack of awareness.’ In other words, they don’t know who you are or what your company does. This is a common objection startups and smaller companies get.
There are a few ways to overcome these. One of the best is to use a sales enablement tool to implement a Voice Of The Customer program. These programs help you gather deep insights about your customers, which can then be used to improve the sales process and build trust with potential buyers.
You can also offer free trials or demos to showcase the value of your product firsthand. That way, your buyers can experience your product’s benefits firsthand without any risk, increasing their willingness to listen to your sales pitch.
Best Practices for Training the Sales Team in Handling Objections
Use a customer-centric qualification framework.
MEDDIC and SPICED are two of the best sales qualification frameworks because they force sellers to get all the information from a buyer as early as possible. They also encourage sellers to develop relationships with each individual decision-maker based on credibility (as opposed to making a sales pitch right away).
Ask open-ended questions to uncover the problem’s root cause.
For example, you might respond to “I won’t be able to get approval for this” by asking, “When you tell me, ‘I won’t be able to get approval for this,’ what do you mean?”.
Make sure your prospect won’t hit you with another objection right after.
You don’t want to go back and forth with them. Preventing this situation can be as simple as saying, “Aside from X, is there any other reason you wouldn’t move forward with our product?”
Be thorough and targeted in your sales demo.
That way, you’ll lessen your chances of getting objections or misunderstandings later on. If a prospect points out something during the sales demo they don’t like, take time to address it and ask if there’s anything else.
Use battle cards to prepare your sales team for common objections.
Battle cards — one-page documents that include common objections and effective responses — are like cheat sheets for sales calls. They provide the sales team with quick, easy-to-digest information so they can respond confidently and effectively to objections. You can also use these to train new sales reps or remind experienced ones of the best ways to handle objections.
Encourage your team to get comfortable with the product.
The more they understand and believe in the product they’re selling, the easier it will be for them to overcome objections confidently. Knowing how it works will also prepare them to respond to customer inquiries and concerns on the spot, rather than needing to get back to their prospect after asking someone else.
Know when to stop.
Some objections can be handled, while others are deal-breakers. Your sales team needs to know when it’s time to move on from a prospect, even if it means losing the sale. This will save time and resources in the long run.
People Also Ask
What is the most common objection in sales?
In sales, pricing objections are the most common. Examples of these objections include “Your product is too expensive,” or “I don’t have this in my budget.” These aren’t necessarily a reflection of the product’s actual value, but more so a result of poor communication or a lack of understanding of the product’s benefits in relation to their pain points.
What are the 4 P’s of objection handling?
Personalization, perceived value, performance value, and proof are the 4 P’s of objection handling. Personalization means tailoring your response to each individual prospect and their specific needs. Perceived value refers to how much your product is worth in the eyes of the buyer. Performance value highlights the benefits and results your product can provide. Proof involves using testimonials, case studies, or other evidence to back up your claims about your product.