Handling objections in sales: Definition and how to overcome

By Nguyen Oanh
Published: 24/09/2021
how-to backgroundHandling objections in sales: Definition and how to overcome

Handling objections in sales is something that frightens many salespeople. “Your product is too expensive!”, “I don't really need your services!” or “I heard bad news about your company”… There is indeed something to be unsettled about.

We don’t live in an ideal world, so the objection is an integral part of the sales process. If you don't perceive it negatively, why not welcome it in a positive way? Or even make it an asset to show that you know how to listen to your prospects, an essential quality for any good salesperson?

But to be successful, you have to use the right method. Good news, we detail in this article, 5 steps to handle the common objections and some examples. In front of objections, it isn’t the time to be afraid, it’s time to deal with it and promote your product!

What is handling objections in sales?

Dealing with objections is a natural step in selling. It consists in considering and then removing the obstacles that the prospect puts forward in a way that changes their mind or alleviates their concerns.

The common mistake that lots of salespeople make is that they try to pressure the customer to back down and force them to accept the wrong. Unfortunately, this could have a reverse effect. No one likes to be unreasonable and the customer ends up being angry and losing trust in your company.

In this case, instead of convincing your customer that they’re wrong, it’s better to find another way to change their concerns into positivity and reassure them by giving them the right arguments. Like Brian Tracy said: “Treat objections as requests for further information”.

Why is handling objections in sales so important for your business?

Handling objections in sales is not totally bad. It shows that customers have some concerns that need to be addressed and explained. They won’t do that if they aren’t interested in your product or service. Otherwise, it’s a chance for your team to turn the “No” into a sales opportunity.

Handling objections is also a professional skill that every salesperson needs to master. The reasons why handling objections in sales is so important:

  • You can learn more about customer behavior, their needs, problems, and purchase motivation.
  • It’s a chance to reassure long-term customer relationships: If you succeed in dealing with sales objections, you can increase customer trust and make them believe in your service.
  • Opportunity to boost sales: Objections mean that customers aren’t ready to buy your product. So dealing with objections is an important step if you want to make sales.

What are the types of common sales objections?

Here are some common objections that you probably face in the selling process. Once you know what types of objections, you can first imagine how to reply to them.

Price

“Your product is too expensive” or “I found another product that is cheaper than yours”

This is the most common objection. It could be a lack of money or the customers might think that your product is not good enough to justify the price.

The key to deal with this objection is to convince the customer what they can receive with the cost. Make sure that you focus on demonstrating the value. It could be the after-sales service or the product assurance for example.

Fear of change

“We already use this product” or “I’m happy with my current purchase”

This objection could be difficult for many salespersons. It is related to the contentedness objection. The customers seem to be happy with their product and don’t want to take a risk. In this case, it is better to demonstrate how the industry has changed and the innovation could have a positive effect.

Lack of trust

“How do I know that your product is good?” or “I don’t believe about the quality”

Customers don’t truly believe in you, your product, or your company. This is not totally bad because in this case, customers may have a need and want to buy the product. The problem is that they are not sure if you can reassure them and hold the promise.

So how to handle this situation? You can provide them with demonstrations, other clients’ feedback, or references that will erase all the doubts and make the client trust in your product.

Time-related

“I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy now. Call me back”

This is also one of the most common objections that you could face in the selling process. Of course, everyone is busy these days. Try to find out what makes the buyers busy and the real objection behind it. Explain that you’re not looking for a long conversation, just a quick discussion about how this experience will be worth it and how your service can make their life easier.

Competitor comparison

“I’m happy with another company” or “Your competitor is better than you”

What makes your prospect happy? Which competitor’s service makes your customer content? You can apply the same strategy but also find out why they believe their relationship with your competitor is beneficial, and identify at which point your product could do better.

Basically, we can categorize this common type of objection into 4 types:

  • Real and founded objections: Your offer is indeed not suited to the profile and needs of your prospect. It will then be difficult to convince him.
  • Real and unfounded objections: Your interviewer turns out to be the right target, but they still raise objections. This can be due to many factors: misunderstanding your offer, bad past experiences with your company, or similar companies, etc.
  • Unfounded objections and pretexts: In this case, the prospect immediately shows his indifference... whatever your proposal. This is usually a defense mechanism, a consequence of over-commercialization.
  • Tactical objection: This type of objection is mostly encountered in BtoB, with prospects who often enter the commercial negotiation phase. Their objective? Obtain advantages for example.

Sales teams are therefore faced with many scenarios! Fortunately, there is a concrete method for dealing with ALL types of objections. Let's see this in more detail.

☝️ Attention: This method also applies to handling objections over the telephone.

How to handle objections in sales: The 5-step method that you need to know

STEP 1: Choose the right method

On the internet, you can discover many structuring methods for dealing with objections. Here are two examples:

LAARC method:

This is one of the most popular handling objections in sales methods. LAARC stands for:

  • Listen: It’s important to show the buyers that you are listening to them and are taking their objections into account. This technique is called “active listening” where you pay attention not only to the words that the buyers are saying but, more importantly, to the complete message being communicated.
  • Acknowledge the Objection: You have to show buyers that you listened and understood their objections clearly. You also want to assure them that their objection is taken into account.
  • Ask a Question: Ask more questions to find out what the real objection is. It’s usually open-ended questions.
  • Respond to the Objection: When you already identify the objections, think about what you can reply to them.
  • Confirm the Objection was Handled: Before moving to the next step of the selling process, please confirm that the objection is truly handled.

LAIR method:

  • Listen: First, listen to their concerns and objections and how important solving the problems is to them.
  • Acknowledge: Summary and confirm what you heard to show that you understand and to encourage the prospect to give you the full details of their objection.
  • Identify the objection: Verify that this is their only reason for not buying and think about what you can respond to them.
  • Reverse the objection: Turn the “No” into the sales opportunity. Turn around the rebuttal. Show how the truth is the reverse of what was being rejected.

In reality, these methods are not that different from each other. They use the same techniques like active listening, rephrasing, etc. Do not respond to objections too brutally, which risks turning out to be totally counterproductive. On the contrary, you must welcome them with kindness and understand them with sincerity.

STEP 2: Accept objections with kindness

First, start by listening carefully and actively to the objections of the customer. Let him speak freely and don't cut him off. In fact, do not enter into "confrontation" with him by trying to justify yourself straight away.

Thanks to this positive and open attitude, you can:

  • build trust and defuse tensions;
  • start to better understand the origin of the problem, which is very useful for building a relevant sales pitch.

Adopting the right attitude is essential throughout the process of handling objections. So be empathetic, and let your prospect know that you understand their issues. To do this, use formulas like:

  • I understand how you feel.
  • You are correct on this point.

It's up to you to know how to prove that your offer is nevertheless perfectly suited.

STEP 3: Learn more about the prospect's remarks

Did you let your potential client speak? Now it's your turn to reply.

Start speaking in order to dig deep. In this way, you make sure to identify with precision the nature of the objections of your customer, as well as his motivations. This step is essential since it allows you to bounce back with a tailor-made argument and to avoid misinterpretations.

At this point, it’s better to:

  • Use open-ended questions. They encourage the prospect to speak freely:
  • Why is this aspect of our solution blocking for you?
  • Are there other things that are holding you back?
  • Could you tell me more about this?
  • Rephrase your words, in order to avoid any misunderstanding and to demonstrate once again that you know how to listen:
  • If I understood correctly…
  • In summary, you say that...

How to build an unstoppable argument?

Sandler Selling System:

This sales method focuses on asking the right questions during the qualifying process instead of pushing someone to purchase a product that he doesn’t need.

The Sandler System has a seven steps process:

  • Bonding and building rapport
  • Establishing relationships and setting expectations
  • Discovering the buyer’s needs and pain points
  • Asking if the prospect has the budget to afford your product during the qualification phase
  • Understand the buyer’s decision-making process (what, where, when, how they want the buying process to run)
  • Propose your product as the solution: It’s time to make a decision! Convince them that your product is a good fit for them.
  • Post-sell and seal the deal

With Sandler Selling System, you have the key to convincing your future customers smoothly!

STEP 4: Provide an appropriate response to objections

Once the objections have been clearly identified, a relevant response should be provided. Summary all the remarks of your customer, and use them to reply in a factual way, erase his doubts and prove to him that the value of your offer will satisfy him.

Some tips :

  • Base your argument on examples and concrete evidence (figures, customer feedback, etc.);
  • Whenever possible, be flexible in changing your offer and adapt to the prospect's needs.

STEP 5: Make sure objections are raised

At the end of the conversation, always check that your prospect's objections are resolved and no doubts remain.

💡 To do this, simply ask the question:

  • Have we been able to remove your doubts about our solution?
  • Would you be ready to close the sales now?

To be less taken by surprise face to face, we advise you to prepare an argument beforehand to anticipate the objections that you are commonly confronted with. The more prepared you are for any eventuality… the better your chances of success!

Handling objections in sales: Examples

Here is some example of responses that you can refer:

1. “Call me back next quarter."

"Sure. If this is really not the right time, I will be happy to call you back. However, I would like us to arrange a brief 5-minute phone meeting where I can explain what we do and how we could be of use to you. So if our solutions aren't right for you, I have no interest in bothering you again next quarter. If not, we can talk about it in more detail next time. When are you available to discuss it?"

2. "We are already working with X."

“We are not asking you to make a drastic change at this time. A good number of our customers have used or still use product X. We just want to explain to you how we are different and how we have provided additional value to our customers. We can, if you wish, present you some cases of companies like yours which work with us and with X. When would you be available for a meeting?"

3. “Send me your information."

There are several possible answers to this objection depending on when it was made.

  • Before your value proposition: "Can you give me 30 seconds to explain what we're doing? You can then decide whether or not you want to continue the conversation."
  • Before qualification: "May I ask you a few questions to better understand how we could be of use to you?"
  • After qualification: “In general, it is easier to see the exact value of our product during a demonstration."

4. "It's too expensive."

"I understand. However, we would just like to explain what we have to offer and see if we can be of assistance to you. Our product is made with quality material so you can use it for a long time. It’s a good investment rather than buying at a low-cost price and you have to rebuy it every time. The cost includes a good after-sales service to reassure that you have the best experience possible."

5. "Does your product allow you to do X, Y and Z?"

“I'm glad you asked me that question. I think it would be interesting if we schedule an appointment where we can answer all your questions with a specialist. When are you available to discuss it?"

In conclusion, always remember that your goal is to convince the prospect to buy your product or service in a clever way and not to push them. The art of sales is to know how to adapt the arguments that suit the best to the conversation. Follow this method and don’t let objections stop you from sealing that deal!

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