It’s no secret that dealing with customer objections and closing the sale are two of the most difficult aspects of a salesperson’s job. In fact, the ability to execute these functions effectively can make or break careers. And these challenges aren’t uncommon pain points for salespeople: according to research collected by HubSpot, more than 36% of those surveyed said closing the sale is the most difficult part of the sales process, while 40% cited prospecting.
The remedy lies in anticipating and tackling customer objections head-on so you’re prepared and confident. The more effort you put behind identifying and resolving these objections on your next sales call, the more likely it is that your confidence will grow as your sales close faster than ever before.
Let’s walk through some of the 10 most common sales objections — and what you can do to overcome them.
1. “It’s Too Expensive”
Price is at the top of just about every prospective client’s objection list, with almost six in every 10 buyers wanting to discuss it on the very first call. Of course, this can be a nightmare for a salesperson who just wants to guide the client through a product or service’s features and benefits. When a customer balks at the price, it can feel daunting to close the sale.
One way to handle the dreaded pricing objection is to give the customer some time to object. Let them voice their concerns (and truly listen to what they’re saying), and then ask any follow-up questions that help summarize their objection. Talk through it with them. Emphasize the product’s value, but avoid discussing price right away. Instead, ask them to consider what it will cost them if they do nothing, and help them consider the bigger picture of their business and bottom line.
2. “I Don’t Like Contracts”
Not everyone wants to be locked into a contract, even if it costs less than paying month-to-month. The prospect may cite lack of interest in a long-term commitment, or they may just be dragging their feet on next steps. Ask them exactly what they’re looking for in both contract terms and price in order to kick it up to your sales manager to explore possibilities.
For managers: Win over hesitant prospects by offering a month-to-month plan with no risk or long-term commitment, and to sweeten the deal, offer them a lower price if they lock in for a year or more. They may just want to test things out for a few months before signing on for the usual contract terms. The upside is that the no-contract terms generate more revenue and give your company an opportunity to ‘wow’ them with your product or service.
3. “I’m Already Under Contract with Someone Else”
Discovering that your prospect is already under contract with someone else can be a tricky course to navigate, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. After all, if you backed down every time your competition got to someone first, you wouldn’t have much of a client list. These prospects may just need a reason to pull the plug and take the financial penalty to break their contract and sign on with you. If possible, ask what their contract terms are and start sleuthing to get more information.
Ask questions about whether or not they’re satisfied with the competitor, and what they like and don’t like. This is your chance to jump in and empathize with their frustrations, and talk through how your product or service is different.
For managers: Once you or your team has the prospect’s curiosity piqued, authorize enough of a discount on the first month to cover the cost of terminating their current contract. It’s a win-win for everyone — except for your competitor.
4. “There’s No Time to Deal with This Right Now”
Procrastinating clients who simply won’t sign a contract are common in just about every industry. We already talked about how some prospects don’t want a long-term commitment or are under contract with someone else. But others are just too busy and simply don’t have the mental bandwidth to consider one more proposal. That’s why continuous follow-up is key in order to catch prospects at the right time. Sometimes success is just a matter of being there at the right moment.
For managers: It’s time to roll up your sleeves and go after their business. Instead of just asking when you can call these prospects during the next quarter, find out what they like and don’t like about your product. Then, prepare a small presentation and go over the details with them to clear up their concerns during your next meeting.
5. “I Need to Talk to My Team”
Customers who insist on talking to their team before buying from you are likely just procrastinating and want to hold off on making a decision. Or, they may not be the actual decision makers in the first place, and are the wrong people to talk to. This is the time to get a new strategy in play. For starters, find out what their team is looking for, and ask for a lunch meeting to explore things further.
For managers: Follow through on the efforts of your salesperson by finding out who the decision makers really are and asking for a meeting. Even if they decline your invitation to meet, you have their information in hand and a better idea of who to address directly during the next sales round so you can work through their objections and close the sale.
6. “We Want Different Features”
This is a common objection that shouldn’t be a roadblock for salespeople. Today’s customers are accustomed to tailor-made services. If they’re asking for different features, it may feel like they’re stalling, but in reality, it’s an opportunity to listen to what they really want. Simply asking “What kind of features are you looking for?” can help keep the conversation going. Then relay that information to your sales manager.
For managers: Get inspired and see if your company can offer similar services to your competitors that prospects are looking for. You may be able to upsell them on those new features, or lock them into a contract by negotiating on the features they want. When you listen to what a customer wants — and give it to them — you’re leaving a memorable impression that your company knows how to deliver.
7. “I Had a Bad Experience with a Similar Product”
Customers have long memories and aren’t likely to let go of their grudges anytime soon. Prospects who got burned on a bad product or service from a competitor won’t be too eager to sign up again. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of the conversation. Let prospects know that you understand where they’re coming from, and take the opportunity to listen and identify where your product or service can surpass their expectations. One way to handle the “bad experience” objection is to say something like, “I’m very sorry to hear that. Can you tell me a little bit about what went wrong so I can take this to my sales manager and rectify it?”
This is also the time to show your prospects that what you’re offering is different and enhances their bottom line. At the end of the day, your customers need to know that they’re in good hands and won’t encounter the same problems as they did previously.
For managers: If you discover that the problem a prospect had before was with your own company, take advantage of the opportunity to turn things around and salvage your damaged reputation. Talk with the prospect, find out what went wrong, and what you can do to resolve the problem. Make up for the past error if possible, and address how you’ll keep it from happening again, and you may be able to win them back.
8. “We Only Work with People We Know”
Personal politics often get in the way of closing a sales deal. It’s not uncommon for customers to want to work with a vendor they’ve worked with for years, even if that vendor isn’t offering the best services or prices. In other cases, they feel obligated to work with a friend of a friend or their boss’s cousin’s stepmother — no matter how ridiculous it sounds.
Mr. Inside Sales recommends responding along these lines: “Because things have changed a lot since you’ve been working with (him/her), I’d suggest you at least be prudent and learn about what the current market has to offer you. Who knows? You may find that there’s an even easier/less expensive option available to you and you can let them know about it!” From there, you can set an appointment to chat.
You can also get a little more information about their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the person they’re working with to get a clearer picture of what’s going on. Aside from just adding them to your follow-up list, look for holes in their current service. This may be an opportunity to pitch them a variation of what you had in mind that can complement the services they’re already receiving.
9. “Just Leave Me Some Information”
When customers shrug off your request to connect and ask you to leave some information instead, they’re giving you the brush off. It’s the classic “Don’t call me, I’ll call you” scenario that can stop salespeople in their tracks.
But there is a way around it. You can say something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t expect you to be interested yet until I tell you how it can [impact your bottom line/increase your quotas/save you thousands/land you more clients]. If I can have 60 seconds to explain a few high points, that may address some initial thoughts so you can decide if you’re interested in hearing more.”
For managers: Agree to their request for information only, but not before you dive deeper and learn what kind of benefits and features they want the most. Then you can fine-tune the proposal you leave them with so it feels completely customized to their needs. They’ll walk away seeing you as someone who totally gets their business, and will be more likely to choose your company come decision time.
10. “I’m Just Not Ready to Decide”
You could nail your proposal and hear your prospect sing the praises of your product’s benefits all day long without gaining any ground. Why? The fact is, sometimes customers just need a compelling reason to close the deal or they’ll sit on it forever while they think it over.
If they’re not ready to decide, they may need a bigger incentive that’s impossible to say ‘no’ to. According to the Harvard Business Review, hard sells such as “This is the last time we’ll be able to extend this offer and we need an answer now” were rated as the least effective.
However, soft sells with a sense of urgency can work well, like offering a one-time discount on their entire order if they spend a specific amount. You can also include extra features that are usually reserved for higher-priced premium contracts to create a bigger incentive to get the deal closed. The stronger the reason you give them to sign, the more likely they are to jump on it.
Sales objections are just that — objections. They’re not the end of the story, and they actually present a unique opportunity. The more you identify and resolve these objections, the more likely you are to build trust and a reputation for understanding your prospects’ needs. And at the end of the day, a reputation built on trust and respect is a winning sales tool for life.
What common sales objections have you experienced, and how did you overcome them? Let us know by leaving a comment below: