What is Objection Handling?
When it comes to overcoming objections, “no” means “yes!”
When you hear an objection from a buyer, it can only mean one thing; they are interested in learning more; otherwise, they’d walk away, hang up or ignore you completely.
What is a sales objection?
An objection arises when your buyer is unclear on how your solution, product, or service can help them. Therefore, when presented with an objection, you need to revisit their objectives and make stronger connections with what you can offer.
Handling objections in sales requires you to be clear on the type of objection presented, as overcoming each type can differ slightly.
Additionally, watch for objections shared in disguise.
Below are the four most common sales objections. I’ve provided the objection definition/meaning, some examples of how they might present themselves and what you need to do to overcome them.
Think of this as your list of sales rebuttals when an objection is presented.
If you intend on being successful in sales, then read on to learn how to handle objections in sales.
4 Types of Common Sales Objections
Most common sales objections and responses fall into one of four categories.
How you respond to and overcome each objection can vary slightly, so objection relevance is important.
The key is to be clear on the objection, listen carefully to the language the buyer uses, and ask clarifying questions where it makes sense to do so.
It’s also essential to observe the buyer’s behavior. For example, an objection presented firmly versus a question can suggest the extent to which your buyer embedded their objection.
For each objection, be sure to repeat to the buyer what you understand their objection is to ensure you respond accordingly.
Once you’re clear on the objection, identify which type of objection it is, which will ensure you give the appropriate response.
This is the basic formula for how to overcome objections in sales.
To begin, I’ve identified examples of objections, when they might arise, and what you should do to overcome it in the objection list below.
1. Price Objections
Everyone wants a bargain.
That’s why price objections are the most common objection. They are the easiest to present (“your price is too high“) and can stop a deal dead in its tracks.
Think of a price objection as an easy way for your buyer to get out of further discussions.
The key to overcoming a price objection is to remain confident in your price and not jump to discounting. When you jump to a discount, you suggest there is “room to negotiate.”
You fall directly into the trap your buyer has set.
Meaning of Price Objections
Price objections are a signal that your buyer doesn’t yet see a return on their investment that justifies the price you’re asking.
Today’s buyers seek value when making an investment decision, so price objections can also mean that the value of the investment isn’t yet clear.
Examples of Price-Based Objections:
Some examples of price-based objections include the following:
- Can you offer a discount?
- Your competitor sells this for a lower price.
- Why is the price so high?
- What do I get in return for this investment?
- If you were me, would you make this investment? If so, why?
- How would I calculate the rate of return on this investment?
- How soon can I expect to recoup my money?
Overcoming Price-Based Objections
Overcoming a price-based objection requires that you revisit the value your product or service offers. Spend time recapping what the buyer will get for their investment and tie each value point with a need they described earlier.
To be proactive and minimize price objections, ask your buyer early in the process regarding their budget for the investment. Armed with this information, you’ll know if they can afford what you are selling and how much time you’ll need to spend on discussing value.
Additionally, always clarify throughout your buyer discussions what they find of value. Doing so allows you to determine what their return on investment will be.
2. Need Objections
No one needs what you have to sell. There are other options, such as sticking with what they have currently or going to a competitor.
Need objections arise when you rush to make a sale without confirming whether your buyer has a need.
Need objections can also be a pricing objection in disguise. Fortunately, you can create a need if a buyer sees a significant return on their investment. For example, no one thought they needed an Apple Watch until they realized the benefits of having one.
Meaning of Need Objections
A need objection suggests your buyer is not convinced that they need your product or service.
There are three possible reasons for a need objection. First, the buyer might prefer to stick with their current situation, pursue a different solution (i.e., your competitor), or wait until a future point upon which they believe the need will be more critical.
Examples of Need-Based Objections:
Some examples of need-based objections include the following:
- We don’t need this right now.
- I don’t think this is a good fit for us right now.
- We’re too busy to consider this right now.
- We’ll get back to you in the future when we have a need.
- How is this any better than what we have right now?
- I think we’ll hold off on this decision right now.
- Call me in three months, and let’s revisit.
Overcoming Need-Based Objections
To overcome a need objection, revisit the reason for your meeting in the first place. For example, what brought you and the buyer together? Why did they agree to meet with you?
A more proactive approach to minimizing or avoiding a need objection is to ask when you first meet your buyer why they agreed to meet.
Doing so confirms their willingness to meet and clarifies what their needs might be.
3. Authority Objections
Authority objections are among the most common mistakes that even seasoned sales professionals encounter.
An authority objection is often the result of attempting to sell to someone who can’t buy. These are the people who lack the authority to say “yes” and need to gain someone else’s approval.
Being clear on who your ideal buyers are, their department, and title, coupled with asking about authority in early discussions, can minimize the chances of running up against an authority objection.
Meaning of Authority Objections
When someone poses an authority objection, they may have no budget or suggest they need to get approval from their boss.
Those who don’t have the authority still want to look good in the eyes of their boss. For this reason, they often won’t reveal that they can’t approve a purchase until once you’ve provided a quote or proposal.
Examples of Authority-Based Objections:
Some examples of authority-based objections you may hear include the following:
- Let me run this by my boss.
- I’m going to have to discuss this with my boss first.
- Please send me a proposal, then I’ll discuss it with my boss.
- I can’t introduce you to my boss until you provide me with a quote.
- Once I’ve discussed your proposal with a few people here, I’ll get back to you.
- Once my boss gets back to me, I’ll let you know the next steps.
Overcoming Authority-Based Objections
To overcome authority-based objections, suggest that your proposal would be best presented to their boss together, as there are several likely questions the other person would be unable to answer.
To uncover if your contact has the authority to buy, ask, “whose budget will cover this investment?” The earlier you ask this question, the sooner you can confirm you are speaking with someone with authority to buy from you.
4. Timing Objections
Unless your buyer is desperate for what you have to sell, timing objections can present themselves.
A timing objection arises when a buyer suggests that now isn’t the right time for them to make a buy.
They may want to delay until the next quarter or wait until what they have falls apart.
Unlike a price objection, these objections are typically given early in the conversation (to avoid speaking with you) or once they’ve heard your pitch.
Meaning of Timing Objections
Although a timing objection typically means that a buyer isn’t ready to buy, it can also be a pricing objection in disguise.
For this reason, when you experience a timing objection, always follow up with the buyer to confirm why now isn’t a good time and when the right time would be.
If the buyer doesn’t share any specific reasons, take the opportunity to secure your next meeting.
Examples of Timing-Based Objections:
Some examples of time-based objection are:
- Now isn’t the best time for us.
- I’m interested, just not right now.
- It’s a busy time, so call back in a few months.
- If you had called me six months ago, I would have been interested.
- Your timing couldn’t be worse.
- Call me at the end of our budget season.
Overcoming Timing-Based Objections
To overcome a timing-based objection, make sure to revisit your buyer’s needs. It’s the priority of these needs that will allow you the chance to overcome the objection and move forward with a sale.
If you sense the timing objection is a pricing objection in disguise, remind your buyer of the return on investment they’ll be achieving when they buy your product or service.
If all else fails, ask your buyer when the right time to reconnect would be, then agree to a date and time to meet. Then, continue sharing value and staying in touch with your buyer until the date of the agreed-upon meeting.
In some instances, a buyer suggesting a better time to meet is genuine, so take the opportunity to dismiss the objection if you haven’t been able to.
Become a Master at Overcoming Objections
Let’s be honest. If you sell, you’ll face objections.
The real question then isn’t whether you’ll face objections. You need to anticipate objections, then prepare yourself to overcome them when you do.
Do yourself a favor, become a master at overcoming objections by using the examples above.
Think of this as your objection cheat sheet.
When you do, you’ll avoid freezing up or stumbling over your words. Instead, your response will seem natural and fluent. But, most importantly, the conversation (and sale) will continue to move forward.
Be prepared, stay in the moment, and don’t give up.
Remember, objections signify that your buyer is interested in what you have to say; otherwise, they would have walked away.
© Shawn Casemore 2022. All Rights Reserved.