Sales objections are a part of any sales job, and can be a tricky obstacle to overcome, but with the right strategies and techniques, they don’t have to be. In fact, learning how to handle and overcome sales objections effectively is an essential part of any successful sales training program.
Here, we’ll discuss six practical steps toward turning around those objections, to help your sales team be better equipped to handle any conversation and close more deals.
The 3 most common sales objections
Because objections are a normal part of the sales process, understanding the different types of objections can help you prepare for them and effectively respond to them.
Price objections occur when a customer has an issue with the cost of a product or service. To combat such an objection, focus on the value you’re offering and explain how the price is reflective of that value.
Feature objections happen when customers feel as though a product or service does not have all the features they need or want, and can be addressed by emphasizing the value of your offering, as well as exploring alternatives toward solutions.
Trust objections arise when customers are unsure if they can rely on you or your product. If you focus on building trust and highlighting the expertise you have in the industry, you can effectively change the tone of the conversation by offering to provide references and testimonials that demonstrate how other customers have had successful outcomes using your products or services.
While these three examples are the most common objections, the reality is that any sales representative may run into any sort of objection imaginable. What is more important, then, is to develop a process for addressing each argument—whatever it might be.
Fortunately, that process already exists, and in six steps, you can apply it to any objection that a customer throws your way.
1. Establish Rapport
Early in the sales process, establishing rapport with a customer is key. It allows you to build trust and helps make the customer feel more comfortable with you, and your product or service. After all, when customers feel like they’re on the same page as their salesperson, they’re more likely to buy.
So how do you establish rapport quickly? Here are some techniques to help you get started:
• Mirror body language.
If a customer is leaning in, lean in too. If they’re smiling, smile back. Mirroring helps create an atmosphere of comfort and familiarity.
Listen to what the customer has to say and make sure to ask follow-up questions. Showing genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings will help you build rapport more quickly.
• Ask personal questions.
Ask them about their interests and hobbies, or about their family or life outside of work. People like talking about themselves and showing them that you’re interested will help establish trust between you.
• Show empathy.
Showing empathy can go a long way in building rapport. Showing that you understand what they’re going through will make them feel heard and appreciated.
2. Repeat back what you’ve heard
One of the most effective ways to demonstrate to customers that you are listening and understanding their concerns is to repeat back what they have just said, giving them the assurance that their opinion is being heard and considered.
For example, if a customer says, “I’m not sure this product fits my needs,” you can repeat back what they said by saying something like, “So you’re concerned that this product might not be suitable for your needs?” This type of statement allows the customer to know that you understand their objection and shows them that their opinion is valued.
Repeating back what was said also allows the customer to see that the salesperson is taking the time to understand their situation and listen. It also creates an opportunity for customers to add additional information or clarify any points that may have been misunderstood. When used correctly, repeating back what has been said will help build trust and rapport between the customer and the salesperson, allowing the salesperson to more effectively address the customer’s objections.
3. Probe with follow-up questions
Asking thoughtful follow-up questions is essential to understanding the customer’s true objections and determining how to move forward in the sales process. When a customer raises an objection, it’s important to probe further with follow-up questions to get a better understanding of their motivations, priorities, and interests.
These kinds of questions can help you uncover the customer’s real concerns and help you develop a solution that will address their needs. For example, if a customer says they don’t have the budget for your product, try asking “What kind of budget do you have in mind?” or “What other alternatives are you considering?” These questions can help you discover what their budget constraints are, as well as what other options they’re looking at.
You’ll also want to use open-ended questions—those that require more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer—to generate information that helps you understand the customer’s situation and emotions better.
Examples of open-ended questions could include:
– How can I help you?
– What is it that makes you feel that way?
– Can you tell me more about your needs?
– What would make you feel comfortable with the product/service?
– What has been your experience in the past when dealing with this issue?
These types of questions can give you the insight needed to fully assess the sales objection and address it accordingly. By taking the time to listen to the customer and ask questions, you demonstrate your respect for their opinions and show them that you genuinely care about their needs.
4. Assess the objection
After you’ve had a chance to clarify the reason for the objection and understand it through additional questions, it’s important to assess the objection and determine if it is valid or not. If the objection is valid, it’s important to address it in a respectful and professional manner. You may need to adjust your offer or provide additional information or explanations to help them move forward.
However, if the objection isn’t valid (like they’ve heard your company is about to change their service offerings, when it’s not), it’s important to explain why it isn’t true in a non-confrontational way. You may also need to provide additional information or explanations to help them move forward. It’s important to remain patient and respectful even if the customer is adamant about their position.
5. Respond to the objection positively
As a general rule, you’ll want to make sure you always keep perspective on the objection—it’s not necessarily a reflection of you or even of the company, it just may not be a fit. With this in mind, keep your reactions and interactions positive—don’t ignore or steamroll the true objection.
6. Thank them for their time
No matter the outcome, it’s important to always thank your customer for their time. A simple, sincere “thank you” shows your customer that you value their opinion and that you are grateful for the opportunity to present your product or service to them. You never know when the timing was off or if a new scenario will make them reconsider, so it is always best to leave a good impression so that your customer remembers you and may reach out in the future. Let your customer know that you appreciate them taking the time to hear what you have to say and that you are available should they have any further questions or need assistance.
While this process may help you (or your team) develop a process for pushing back against the “no”, nothing can replace practice and feedback that a sales team member receives along the way.