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How To Handle Sales Objections In 4 Steps

Have you ever had a potential customer say, "It's too expensive," or "I don't want to get stuck in a contract," or even "It's just not important right now?" Every prospect you speak to has objections or reasons they are hesitant to buy your product or service. Whether they think your product is too expensive, or if your company is too small, you'll face any variety of objections. These four steps will help you resolve those objections.

Most Common Objections 

Different salespeople face completely different objections, right? Wrong. Sure, what and how you're selling will affect the minor details of the objections. But the truth is, most salespeople face the same objections from their prospects. They are:

  • Price is too much
  • Your company is too small, and you won't have the time to dedicate to me
  • Your company is too big, and we won't be a priority
  • The product doesn't have this specific feature
  • The lead time is too long

Step 1: Beat them to the Punch 

Most companies have 4-5 objections they hear all the time. Understanding the most common objections relating to your company or its products allows you to address them before your prospect has a chance to question or object.

According to Hubspot, "58% of prospects want to know pricing on the first call." For example, if you know your product is the most expensive one on the block, then you might lead with "if you are looking for a cheap solution, there are many out there that are cheaper than mine. But, let me ask you a few questions to see if our solution may be a better fit." Then dig into all kinds of questions that set up your solution's strengths.

By bringing up the fact that your product is more expensive early in the process, it is not a surprise when they finally hear the final price, and it disarms their objection. Occasionally I will get feedback on this such as "what if they rule you out then because you are more expensive?" My answer – good! If I could not justify my price early in the process, I certainly don't want to spend days or weeks continuing to chase it. This same "beat them to the punch" approach can work with any common objection that comes up.

Step 2: Spot Objections that Show Up as Questions

Often objections won't be said outright; instead, they'll be conveyed as a question such as "How many people do you have dedicated to a client?" Or "How many accounts does each person have?" Through these questions, you can determine the potential client may be worried about the size of your company and what sort of priority they would be if they signed up with you.

Once you're aware of this, you'll notice it more and more. You'll also be able to anticipate and articulate what other prospects might be wondering about your products and services.

Step 3: Empathy, Ask, Respond [EAR]

EAR is a way to analyze what your prospect is saying and determine how to react to their objection; it starts with:

Empathy – empathize with the customer's concerns

Whether it comes at you as a direct objection or an objection disguised as a question, it is best to start by acknowledging it before doing anything. Let them know you heard them. This demonstrates that you empathize with the prospect, you are interested in their concern and care about what they have to say. For example, if they ask whether your product has a certain feature that you don't have, start by responding, "I hear that question from time to time from potential customers." That's it. I heard you, and your question is valid.  

If you want to know more about selling with empathy, check out our blog on, "Selling With Empathy Is Essential."

Ask – ask questions to understand what the prospect is getting at

Try to understand what is behind their question or concern by asking questions like, "How would we fit into your budget," or "Is that particular feature important to you? Why?" or "Would this work instead of this?" Try to understand what they are most concerned about before battling the objection.

Think about it how you would respond if the customer asked about a feature you didn't have? Would you ask if it was necessary and why? What if they responded that it wasn't really that big of a deal? Now contrast that with the scenario where the prospect says it is a deal killer. How would you respond? This is important to understand before responding. You gain that insight by digging deeper and asking questions.  

Respond – respond with the suggested solutions

The final step is to respond. Only after you have a complete understanding of your customer's objection can you offer your response. You respond with a recommendation, an alternative, a solution, or a next step designed to address the customer's concerns. 

Using the previous example, if the customer thought the feature was essential, you might respond with additional questions to understand why it is important. What do they want to achieve by having that feature? Then you might recommend another way they can accomplish the same thing with your product/solution.

Step 4: Confirm 

Now that you have answered the question and addressed their concern to the best of your knowledge, you should confirm with your prospect that you have resolved their concern. You can simply ask, "Does that make sense? Anything that is still confusing?" Or, in some cases, your prospect will say things such as, "That sounds good," or "That makes sense." They are confirming that they understood.

When a prospect says "no" or objects, you must be prepared to listen, empathize, ask questions to see where the objection really lies, and demonstrate that you truly understand their concerns.

To handle sales objections, you must be prepared for what is coming at you, listen attentively to your prospect, confirm that you truly understand their interests, and address their concerns appropriately.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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