Written by: Tariq Jarrar
About the author: Group Executive Director and Co-Founder of Devmark Group – Dubai. United Arab Emirates
Learning to overcome objections is a critical part of the sales process. You have to respond in a way that alleviates the prospective buyer’s concerns and allows the deal to move forward.
However, it is a winning strategy to prevent objection in the first place by giving the prospective buyer all the right reasons to buy before going for the close.
The following selling basics will help you prevent objections in the first place or reduce their impact on the selling process.
- Sell Benefits and Not Features.
Demonstrating your product benefits is more effective than selling features, but it is also critical to exhibit the right features.
Analyze your buyer personas to highlight the benefits that will appeal to their dominant buying motive. Ask your prospective buyer open-ended and layered questions and pay attention to the comments to unveil their dominant buying motive.
Sales Advice: Avoid feature dumping by highlighting only the features that the prospective buyer can relate to.
- Sell the Value and Not the Price.
Focus on explaining and expressing how the prospective buyer will benefit from your product or service.
What matters most for prospective buyers is not what they will pay for the product but what they will get for their money’s worth.
Demonstrate to the prospective buyer the multitude of benefits and translate them into features. Explain to them all the things that make it well worth what they are paying for.
Show sympathy for your prospective buyer’s budget concerns but assure them that they are getting a great deal.
Sales Advice: If you focus on the value, the price becomes less and less critical. If you do not focus on value, then the cost becomes in focus.
- Appeal to Their Emotion.
Paint an emotional picture of your prospective buyer using your product.
To influence your prospective buyer feeling about your product, provide an experience that triggers the aspired emotion. The best way for a prospective buyer to experience your product is by sharing an expressive customer story.
Rules of Persuasion
Objection handling is when a prospective buyer presents a concern or a condition about the product you are selling. Then you respond in a way that alleviates those concerns and allows the deal to move to the next step in the sales process.
Some sales professionals argue with their prospective buyers about the significance of their concern and try to downplay the objection, but this is the wrong way to handle objections. Prospective buyers end up defending their position, and sales professionals lose the rapport they have built up with the prospective buyer.
Sales Advice: Before you handle the objection, you must determine if it is a genuine sales objection or a Shrug-Off.
Shrug-Offs are excuses for backing off from the deal without telling the sales professional the real reason.
Why Is Objection Handling Necessary?
Once you have established that the stated concern is an authentic objection, you must alleviate that concern. Nothing is more dangerous to closing a deal than letting an objection go unaddressed until the final stages.
Welcome objections rather than avoid them because they are an indication that the prospective buyer is serious. You can proactively identify them at the early stages of the sales process by asking open, and close-ended questions such as:
- “Do you have any concerns around the following?”
- “Are there any obstacles that would stop you from buying?”
- “You seem a little worried about x. What are your thoughts?”
Overcoming Objections in Sales
Use the LAER model to overcome objections in sales: Listen, Acknowledge, Explore, and Respond. Avoid reacting impulsively to prospective buyer’s objections.
- Listen to them.
- Acknowledge their concern.
- Explore by asking qualifying questions.
- Respond thoughtfully.
Give your prospective buyer a chance to express their concern or condition, then repeat a summary back to them. Uncover the underlying reasons for the objection by using a three-layered questioning technique.
Ensure that you distinguish between the prospective buyer objecting to a feature or condition about your product or merely making a statement. In summary, is the objection a deal-breaker?
Common Types of Sales Objections
While there are, of course, an endless number of objections a prospective buyer may use, the most common objections fall into three major categories:
- Monetary objections
- Lack of authority
- Time-related objections
Monetary Objections Examples:
- “Your prices are too high.”
- “We are already looking at another cheaper property from.”
The objection: “Your price is too high.”
The Situation: after many follow-ups, the prospective buyer informs you that she does not want to proceed because your product is expensive.
The Analysis: In most cases, when such objection arises, it could be due to the following reasons:
- The prospective buyer is misinformed about the current market prices.
- The prospective buyer is comparing your product to a product that has less value proposition.
- The prospective buyer is bluffing to get a discount or a change in the payment terms.
- There is a hidden objection other than the price.
At this stage, it is essential to ask open-ended and discovery questions to determine which of the above is the reason behind the objection. This is an opportunity to go back to your product value proposition and highlight why your product is priced this way.
If they mention a competitor’s lower prices, justify your pricing by explaining your product’s unique selling points that your competition does not offer.
Sales Advice: Never be defensive, always appreciate and respect the prospective buyer’s feedback and never trash the competition.
The objection: “We are already looking at a cheaper product.”
The Situation: The prospective buyers could genuinely be in discussion with other providers and at an advanced stage of the buying journey.
The Analysis: If the prospective buyer is already in the market for a product, then he/she might be considering other options. This is an opportunity to go back to your product value proposition and highlight why your product is priced this way.
Sales Advice: It is tempting to overcome this objection by devaluing the prospective buyer’s current choice. In these instances, you risk implying that you know better than your prospective buyer.
Lack of Authority Examples:
- “I need to check with my partner.”
- “I am not sure my partner would be interested.”
The objection: “I need to check with my partner.”
The Situation: The prospective buyer has viewed your product and, after many follow-ups, has informed you that he needs to check with his wife, who is back home.
The Analysis: Understand that this statement may not be an objection but a real condition that might prevent the sale. There are times when your prospective buyer may not have the authority to decide without their significant other involved.
You need to Identify if the “I need to talk to my partner” is Shrug-Off or a genuine requirement to establish how to deal with it.
Get their partners involved by scheduling an appointment to come back and meet them together.
Sales Advice: One of the most common closing mistakes is closing before everyone is at the table. Make sure that all the decision-makers are engaged. You establish that at the qualifying stage by applying the BANT methodology.
What is BANT?
Created and pioneered by IBM in the 1950s, BANT is a sales qualification methodology that enables sales professionals to qualify leads based on the following criterion: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing.
Budget: Does the prospective buyer have an allocated budget? It’s essential to determine whether your prospective buyer has a budget that fits your product’s prices.
Authority: Is the prospective buyer the sole decision-maker, or are other people involved in making the decision? If there are others involved, you need to include all stakeholders at an early stage of the sales process. Otherwise, you would have to repeat your sales pitch or process all over again.
Need: Does the prospective buyer have pain points that your product can address? Ask your prospective buyer to tell you about their pain points. If you don’t think your product will solve their issues, then it’s not advisable to any further.
Timeline: Timeline: When will the prospective buyer make a purchase decision. You need to assess their time frame and ask how quickly they want to address their pain point. Suppose their timeline is a year or more. It is advisable to follow up with them later by aligning your follow-up cadence to their buying journey.
Sales Advice: You can also create a sense of urgency by offering them a limited-time discount on your product.
Time-Related Objections Examples:
- “We are too busy right now.”
- “I have too much going on.”
- “Call me back in a couple of months.”
The objection: “We are too busy right now.”
The Situation: The prospective buyer is not agreeing to an appointment or making a decision.
The Analysis: similar to money-related objections, time-related sales objections revolve around a lack of resources – whether actual or perceived.
Your first step is to inquire about what might hold them back and indeed understand what has changed in their priorities.
Your prospective buyer might mistakenly be overestimating the time needed or the formalities to conclude the deal.
Sales Advice: If your prospective buyer requests you to reconnect with them at a later stage in the future, confirm a date and time using the Alternative Close Technique. The goal is to keep your prospective buyer engaged.
Rejections & Shrug-Off Examples:
- “I am not interested.” or “I am in the middle of something; call me back.”
- “Sure, send me some info, and I will get back to you.”
The objection: “I am not interested.” or “I am in the middle of something call me back.”
The Situation: The prospective buyer is dismissive and does not listen to what is being said.
The Analysis: In most cases, this is a defense mechanism against sales professionals trying to sell them something they do not want or can’t afford.
Ask questions to understand why the prospective buyer is objecting while maintaining your composure. Asking questions gets the prospective buyer to think about your product and its value proposition in the context of their life aspiration, their wants, and needs.
It also helps you move beyond the initial resistance and usually into another objection—an objection that is generally more rational and an indication that there is still an opportunity.
Sales Advice: Speak slowly and clearly. Sometimes the prospective buyer is not interested because he has no idea what you just said since mentally, he has blocked the conversation.
The objection: “Sure, send me some info, and I’ll get back to you.”
The Analysis: This is a Shrug-Off statement; however, you can use it to your advantage by probing a bit deeper, asking the prospective buyer what, specifically, they’d like to learn more.
Not only does this turn a Shrug-Off conversation into an actual discussion, but it also provides you with further information to use in your follow-up cadence.
Rules of Persuasion
Handling Prospecting Objections in 2021 Using Three Steps Foothold Turnaround Framework
Having a structure to deal with Rejections and Shrug-Offs, during prospecting is crucial, especially when prospective buyers are less welcoming in the current climate of uncertainty.
The Three Steps Foothold framework is a simple but yet effective way in dealing with Rejections and Shrug-Offs.
Three Steps Foothold
1ST MOVE: Gain a foothold; a foothold is your comeback to the prospect’s rejection or shrug-off.
Using a foothold gives you precious seconds to recover from the rejection or shrug-off and gain control.
2nd MOVE: Acknowledge the rejection or shrug-off; Use a statement or a question that acknowledges and disrupts the prospective buyers’ rejection or shrug-off response.
3rd MOVE: Ask for what you want; When you have gained a foothold and have responded to the rejection or Shrug-Off response, you then quickly ask for what you want, without pause.
Sales Advice: Use an Alternate of Choice question to get a date or time commitment from the prospect.
Here are the most common prospecting objections you are likely to get in today’s market.
- “I am working from home.”
- “Our budget is unclear right now with all the distribution of cash flow.”
- “I need to wait and see how the current situation will progress.”
- “We’re all working from home.”
The objection: “I am working from home.”
1ST MOVE: “Most of the customers that I reached out to are still working from home,
we have also been working from home for weeks, and I feel more productive.”
2nd MOVE: “I know that working from home can be challenging, so how are you managing your time?”
3rd MOVE: “How about reconnecting with you through Zoom on Thursday at 3 or 4 pm? Would that work for you?”
The objection: “Our budget is unclear right now with all the distribution of cash flow.”
1st MOVE: “Thank you for sharing your budget concerns with me.”
2nd MOVE: “I’m calling for that very reason. Many of my prospective clients are using this uncertain time right now to prepare for when things improve.”
3rd MOVE: “I understand that there are no opportunities right now; I’d still love to meet with you to learn more about your plans and see if it makes sense to collaborate on a way forward. Does Wednesday at 10 am work for a virtual meeting?”
The objection: “We need to wait until there is more clarity about the future.”
1st MOVE: “That is something I completely understand, and I’m looking forward to some clarity myself.”
2nd MOVE: “Most of my prospective clients are planning to get ahead of that with some strategic planning.”
3rd MOVE: “I do appreciate that this is not the time to make any decision, but it’s always good to have a plan?”
Top-performing sales professionals have mastered the art of Persuasion. They know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, honing their persuasion skills to sell more and sell faster.
“Real Persuasion comes from putting more of you into everything you say. Words have an effect. Words loaded with emotion have a powerful effect.” – Jim Rohn