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Sujan Patel sales 0

12 Most Common Sales Objections (and How to Handle Them)

In an ideal world, your prospects are ready, willing, and able, thanks to your lead qualification process. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, so objections can and will come up. While you can’t avoid them, you can learn how to overcome them effectively, and how to turn a ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes’. Here’s how to do it.

How to Overcome an Objection

We’ll cover specific objections in a minute, but there’s a process for overcoming objections in general. Practice it so that, even if you’re caught off-guard, you’ll have a better chance at overcoming the objection – no matter what it is.

Generally speaking, there are four basic steps to the process:

  1. Listen
  2. Understand
  3. Respond
  4. Confirm

EX: “I’m afraid of spiders, and there’s one on your logo.”

  • Listen – Employ active listening practices.
  • Understand – “So you’re saying you have a spider phobia, and even pictures of spiders make you uncomfortable?”
  • Respond – “I totally understand. Phobias can have a really serious effect on everyday life. I think we could probably remove the logo from your instance of the tool. Would that help?”
  • Confirm – “Great, so if we go ahead with this, I’ll talk to the tech team to see about getting rid of that logo.”

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Overcoming Specific Objections

Now that you have a basic process down, here are 12 of the most common sales objections you’re likely to encounter, and how to handle them.

1. “Now’s Not a Good Time.”

Timing is a common problem, for several reasons. In fact, there are actually two objections hiding in here: 1) I personally don’t have time to handle this, and 2) This is really not a good time to buy.

Either way, you need to investigate further to know how to proceed.

How to Handle It

If the prospect thinks that now is not a good time to buy, consider these aspects before continuing:

  1. Make sure prospect is qualified (don’t waste your time)
  2. Don’t oversell because you’re feeling desperate

This article has some good responses to this objection. Try a few until you find a handful that best suits your style. The ultimate goal is to help the lead come to their own conclusion that now is, in fact, a good time to proceed.

If the prospect is too busy, see #5 below.

2. “It’s Too Expensive.”

An objection to price is not as straightforward as it sounds. Sure, there could truly be a lack of cash. But it could also be a brush-off, or the prospect might not think that your product is a good enough value to justify the cost.

How to Handle It

Again, you’ll need to work to uncover the real reasons behind the objection. Try pausing for several seconds after a prospect has objected to price, as they’ll often volunteer more information unprompted. Once they’ve finished talking, ask a few more questions to really zero in on their objection.

Try to find out what makes the prospect think your product or service is expensive (or too expensive in comparison to an alternative). You’ll often find their issue is more of a vague feeling than anything concrete. In this case, a few hard facts may help put their mind at ease.

If you feel that the prospect just needs a little reassurance, put the price in context (how much it costs in relation to ROI, how much it would cost not to act, etc). It’s less about proving the product is worth the price than it is about demonstrating its value. Once your product seems crucial, the price will matter less.

3. “I’m Already in Another Contract.”

Here’s an easy one for you. The contractual objection is a straightforward concern, with a relatively simple answer.

How to Handle It

You have a lot of room for flexibility here, but it depends on what your prospect is thinking. Genuinely interested prospects might be afraid of cash flow problems if they’re already in another contract, while others simply don’t like feeling trapped.

If a prospect has a genuine need for your product, a discount or creative payment schedule might overcome their objection. This will depend greatly on how happy they are with their current contract, so ask them straight out if they’re satisfied or want a change.

And if all else fails? Mark your calendar to follow up (assuming they’re a good prospect) a few weeks before their existing contract expires when they’re likely to be evaluating their renewal.

4. “Just Send Me the Info …”

Comments like “Just send me your information” or “Call me at X point in the future,” can be interpreted in two ways, depending on whether they’re said early or late in the call.

How to Handle It

If you hear this kind of dismissal early in the call, it’s probably a brush-off. Double-check your lead qualification workflow to see how an unsuitable candidate made it onto your list.

If it’s said later in the call, the problem may stem from the lead being too busy or not really understanding the benefits of your product. If you think the latter is true, take another look at your presentation. If your leads don’t understand what you’re selling, there’s a fatal flaw in your marketing.

5. “I Don’t Have Time to Talk to You Right Now.”

Even though this objection sounds like a brush-off, it’s probably true – no one has time for anything extra these days. If your target is simply too busy, there’s no guaranteed solution, but at least your options are pretty straightforward.

How to Handle It

First, try to discover if it’s really a lack of time, or if it’s something else. Using the general objection process above, the interaction might go like this:

“I’m sorry, I just don’t have time to talk to you today.”

  • Listen – Employ active listening.
  • Understand – “I completely understand. I’m swamped too, and this is a crazy time of year.”
  • Respond – “I really don’t want to waste your time. I can tell you about the product in three minutes flat. If you’re interested, I’ll send you more information, and if you’re not, we’ll leave it at that.”
  • Confirm – “Great, so no more than three minutes of your time. How does that sound?”
    • If your prospect says yes – “Terrific, can I go ahead now?”
    • If they say no – “I’m looking at my calendar – how about this afternoon at 3 o’clock?”

If the answer is still no, you’re going to have to probe deeper to find out what’s going on. If you’re still struggling to find a way around the objection, consider that the target might indeed have a need, but the urgency of meeting that need isn’t great or has waned since they first entered your funnel. If that’s the case, you’ll need to reevaluate that person’s journey to this point, as you may have missed something that’s now making them view the problem as less important.

6. “I Need to Run This Past My Boss.”

Whether or not you’ll encounter this objection tends to depend on company size. In larger companies, people will tell you “I need to run it past my boss” or “I need to discuss it with colleagues.” In smaller companies, you can add “I need to run it by my partner” to the list.

How to Handle It

Again, this one is fairly straightforward. If a prospect really isn’t authorized to make the decision, ask to speak to the person who is and start again. If they are, but will still have to “sell” your product internally, you can actually help them prepare for likely objections with answers and solutions to smooth the process.

7. “Product X is Cheaper.”

Every so often, a target will attempt to shut you down by referring to your competitors. This is a blessing in disguise, because a true comparison with a competitor gives you the chance to spot overlooked opportunities and spark new ideas. There’s also a good chance the target already knows what they need (since they’ve been talking to/researching the competition), which saves you time too.

How to Handle It

Ask questions to explore their relationship with the competitor or the offer they’ve been made. They might not be persuaded to switch to your product or service, but look at it as a learning experience – and if they mention problems that your product can solve, you might make the sale regardless.

8. “You Don’t Offer Feature X.”

These days, people are used to – and expect – personalization from all products. Sometimes that’s possible, and sometimes it isn’t. If it’s not, you can still go a long way toward making the prospect feel like your product or service is personalized by giving them extra time in your interactions and actively listening.

How to Handle It

Sure, customize where possible, to the extent you’re able to. But also realize that if your prospect needs something you can’t provide, they might not be a good fit after all.

9. “I Need to Get a Few More Quotes.”

The shopping around objection is frustrating, but very common. Remember that it can hide multiple objections – it may either be a gentle brush-off, or the truth may be that the target is actually shopping around.

How to Handle It

This type of objection seems to be best overcome using a solid script to work around the situation. If someone really believes that they need other quotes (a common approach to buying), it’s unlikely you’ll be able to deter them.

As always, if you’re using sales scripts and other resources to help you handle certain problems, practice enough that you can be flexible and natural when dealing with prospects.

10. “You Have a Bad Review.”

Dealing with negative word of mouth or bad reviews is a great opportunity for growth. You can’t make bad publicity disappear, but you can learn from it and improve in the future.

How to Handle It

Surprisingly, this is a fairly easy fix, as long as you’re proactive. Don’t try to avoid the issue – directly address the problem or concern as quickly as possible. If it’s an issue that someone in-house is already working on fixing, offer to put the prospect in touch with them to allay their fears and answer any questions.

Likewise, if you can offer some kind of reassurance and explanation, do so. Once you’ve explained the issue and what the company is doing to fix or avoid these problems in the future, follow up with a perk or value-add to take the sting out of the experience.

11. “Where the Hell Did You Get My Name?!”

Most salespeople will face an aggressive prospect at some point or another. Some people are just unpleasant, and there’s not much you can do about it. But remember – unhappy customers tell more people about their experience than happy ones do, so resist the temptation to sink to their level.

How to Handle It

Kill with calmness and kindness. Some complaints, like “Where did you get my number?” can be answered directly. Other situations may result from personality clashes. If this is the case, can you hand off the prospect to a colleague or use a psychology-based technique?

Finally, realize that some people just cannot be won over. Stay calm and collected and try to diffuse the tension, but never let yourself get drawn into the melee.

12. No One’s Home

This isn’t technically an objection, but it can have the same effect on your prospecting efforts: What happens when you can’t get your prospect to respond to you?

How to Handle It

The key here is balance and knowing when to call it quits. First, use the right channel – there’s no point in calling if your prospect is an email-only type. Second, be persistent. People are busy and salespeople are usually not a priority. That said, know when it’s time to call it quits – preferably before you become an annoyance.

Putting It All Together

So there you have it – 12 possible objections and the opportunities to turn them around. What’s more, if you perfect and practice the general objection technique, you’ll have a virtual skeleton key that’ll help you overcome any objection that might pop up in the future.

The most important thing to realize here is that objections are a natural part of the sales process, not a reflection on your skills as a salesperson. In fact, an objection is the training ground on which you perfect your technique. If you never encounter any, you won’t ever really have the chance to become a great salesperson.

If you want to fine-tune your objection-overcoming capability even further, here’s how to take it to the next level:

  1. Perfect your sales process from start to finish. Objections don’t arise in a vacuum, and if other parts of the sales conversation are broken, the whole process will break down (objection or not).
  2. Practice makes perfect. Practice on the job, in your personal life, and in front of the mirror. Your sales numbers will thank you.
  3. Self-awareness is key. Anyone can learn sales and objection scripts, but to employ them with finesse, you’ll need empathy and understanding. Don’t patronize your leads, and don’t recite responses like a robot.
  4. Know when to call it quits. Sure, the data tells us that we need to contact a lead multiple times to have a chance at getting through, but there’s always a point at which more follow-up is unwise. This isn’t always obvious, so pay attention to the signals your prospect is (or isn’t) sending.

What common sales objections would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below: