Picture this: a chef receives complaints about how his food is under-seasoned and is baffled by the criticism as he knows that he has never made such a mistake before. He decides to face the music and goes out of the kitchen to listen to the customer himself and meet their requirements. He listens as they list out their issues with the food- it’s too bland, the added cream makes it heavy, and so on. He makes a note of it, promises to replace their order, and goes back to the kitchen. He adds spices, removes dairy products, and sticks to the requests the customer has made. He brings back the same dish, now made to the customer’s specific requirements. The customer is pleased, and touched by the chef’s effort, is now a regular at the same restaurant. What you’ve just read is the art of overcoming sales objections.
Sales objections are inevitable when engaging with clients from any sphere of life. While handling these objections can be challenging, the key to success is to practice empathy, not just with the customer but also with yourself. These are subjective complaints you receive from your customers, and there is no recipe outlining ingredients that can match everyone’s taste. These objections may be about features of the product, concerns about implementation or purchase, queries about product functionality, and so on. So the next time you receive any objections to the product you sell, put yourself in their shoes.
Why do you need to handle sales objections?
21 Most common sales objections and strategies to handle them
>>Financial constraints objections
>>Objections related to a lack of understanding or information
>>Competitor-related sales objections
>>Source or company-related objections
>>Implementation and need-based objections
Guidelines to handle sales objections effectively
Objections are opportunities to build relationships
Why do you need to handle sales objections?
You may be wondering – why handle sales objections when you can deal with a responsive, interested buyer instead? When handling sales objections, we need to realize that objections do not signify a dismissal. An objection indicates your customer’s interest in the product. A dismissal is the opposite of that. When your customer expresses an objection, they mean to say,
“I want to buy the product, but I’m not entirely sold on its use to me.”
In comparison, a dismissal is a lot clearer and is along the lines of:
“No, I’m not interested in buying this product.”
When dealing with sales objections, keep your eye on the prize: overcoming the objection and moving closer to winning the buyer’s commitment.
The next section of this article describes common sales objections and techniques to effectively overcome them.
21 Most common sales objections and strategies to handle them
Financial constraints objections
1. “I can’t afford it.”
Now, this one is a pretty straightforward objection. You can’t sell to someone who truly cannot afford it. Here’s where asking for further reasons as to why they can’t afford it, figuring out whether they can afford it but would prefer to be sure of their investment gives a window of opportunity that didn’t exist before.
Find out if they’re currently using a similar product. Are they losing money that they could gain with your product? Question why they can’t afford it gently, as they may seriously not be able to do so. If they are using a competitor’s product or a substitute for your product, highlight the benefits your product could provide in its place.
Oh, you don’t have a lead management system in place, which is why you’re struggling to gain a solid customer base. Well, that’s exactly what my product solves, as it’s a CRM that helps you to manage your leads efficiently. Your ROI will be higher than your current sales forecast when you implement a CRM to manage your leads.
Try to find out the root cause of their objection. Think about whether your product can solve those problems or bring in new benefits and only then sell. There’s no gain on either side if your customer can’t profit from your product, as that means you’ll lose them eventually anyway.
2. “It’s too expensive.”
A sales objection involving the price being too high almost always indicates the chance of persuading your customer that it’s worth the price. For example, if you live in Bangalore or have been for a short vacation, you may have had the chance to visit the iconic ice cream shop, Corner House. Their ice cream prices may seem high compared to what you get at a supermarket, but what you don’t know is their brand’s philosophy. Corner House’s CEO came up with the term “scoop value,” where each scoop is standardized to match its price. Most people who’ve had the opportunity to try their ice creams almost always agree, the price is right when the flavour feels worth it.
Similarly, “it’s too expensive” objection can be solved through an easy reply.
Instead of purchasing our product all at once, why don’t you experience it for ____ days as a free trial. Once you do, you’ll know for yourself if it’s worth the price.
A trial gives your customer the time to assess the product’s usefulness while also displaying a sense of confidence and trust. Now they’ve used it and still haven’t experienced as many benefits as expected, explain the importance of time. If your product brings in slow but steady results, you can convey the same to your customer.
3. “Your product is more expensive than the product I’m currently using.”
Any sales objection involving your competitor’s product gives you a good chance of making the shift to your product. The easiest way to do so is to know what the other product lacks and bring out the differences between both products. You don’t need to be straightforward with your product’s superiority. Instead, demonstrate what your product does when compared to your competitor. This is where some amount of competitor research would help in being prepared to face such sales objections. Use the following script as a response to this objection.
Price is crucial, but it’s also necessary to consider the value for money. You stated that real-time inventory data was a critical strategic concern for your company. Our product provides the same free of any integration costs, and one of our customers has hugely benefitted from its use for the majority of their data-related processes. *Quote related customer success story*.
4. “I don’t want to or can’t afford getting stuck in a contract.”
Any sales objection involving contracts as a reason can easily be circumvented by customizing the contract to meet your customer’s needs. If they don’t want or can’t afford a year-long contract, settle for quarterly or monthly (if it can be considered). Once they experience the benefits of your product, they will be more compelled to invest in it for extended periods. If you truly cannot change the contract terms, you’ll need to convince them of the value that they will get from this investment.
I see your point. Let’s chat about the various contract terms and payment plans I have available. Perhaps these are a better match.
5. “We don’t have the budget for this.”
Now, this sales objection depends wholly on timing. Your customer may not have the budget for this right now. Find out whether they can’t afford it right now or if they can’t afford it at all. There’s no way of predicting the future, so instead, go with the following script.
Oh alright, whenever you get the funds to implement our product, do let me know! Or we can discuss how you can achieve greater sales using our product, as it essentially pays for itself.
Depending on your customer’s response to the above script, you can go ahead with their requests.
Note to remember: With any price-related objection, it’s crucial to find out if the person you’re discussing with is a decision-maker. If the employee you’re negotiating with isn’t a decision-maker, they may not know or be aware of what the company can and cannot afford. Another point to keep in mind is that finance-related objections are almost always solved when your customer experiences value or the benefits your product brings to their processes. So don’t fret if you’re frequently met with this objection. It’s a common one that you can handle with ease, as long as you ensure that they can afford it.
Objections related to a lack of understanding or information
6. “I’m not sure if this is the right product for my organization.”
You may see this as an objection, but in reality, it means that your customer doesn’t have enough information about the product.
If they state that they feel unsure about the benefits they can experience with your product even after you’ve outlined them, turn the question around. Ask them what challenges they’re facing, and if you can prove that your product can help overcome those challenges, you can now win them over.
In any call, it’s helpful to understand what issues the customer may be facing and to highlight the solutions your product provides. Doing this makes it a much stronger sale as they know your product is the right fit for their organization.
Why do you feel that way? What challenges are you currently facing? Once you let me in on what will be right for your organization, we can figure out if my product does match your expectations.
7. “We don’t have any experience using this product.”
Your customer could have little to no experience using your product or similar products in the market – making it a lot harder for them to understand the benefits. In such scenarios, they aren’t just questioning your product’s value but also whether your company will be helpful during implementation. So when you’re answering, don’t just outline how this product can benefit them or how experience isn’t necessary. Conversely, steer them in the direction of a sale by saying the following-
I understand your concern. It makes sense to be apprehensive about something you’ve never personally experienced. But I’d like to point out some of our existing customers who were in the same boat, and they can vouch for our company’s customer service. We are always available to assist you during and after implementation if necessary.
8. “I don’t understand how your product functions.”
If you get this objection after spending a long time explaining your product, it may just mean your product is more complex than your customer’s needs. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up entirely. You can take a different route altogether. Provide your customer with content you have on hand that breaks down your product in simple terms. Be it an eBook, article, brochure, or video, give them more easily understandable content. 70% of people would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post than from a traditional advertisement. So when you receive this objection, move your customer to your marketing team’s creations.
I understand. Would you prefer to get to know our product better through other means? We recently created an eBook that outlined our product’s features, functions, and advantages. Once you read through it, I’m sure you’ll have a deeper understanding of our product.
9. “We’ve tried similar products with very little success.”
A sales objection along these lines is relatively easy to handle. The customer is genuinely trying to get at the fact that they’ve never benefitted from other similar products in the market. It means that there’s a high chance those products never matched their expectations. This doesn’t mean your product won’t; they may have had unsuccessful experiences due to various reasons. So, instead of selling your product, enquire as to why the previous products failed. If your product doesn’t fall under the same features or functions, you can let them know the same. Once you have an idea of their needs, you can also be sure whether this sale is profitable for both parties.
What products have you used previously? Our product has unique use cases and offers multiple customizations to meet customer-specific needs. Have you experienced using the X feature and its benefits previously?
10. “I’ve found out that your product is (untrue statement) from a trusted source.”
A sales objection that goes into the unchartered territory of false information is easily solvable. If your customer has come across some unverified details on your product, you can dispel these fears by showing examples of how it isn’t true. Rather than persuading or convincing them with your words, demonstrate the feature or function they have a misunderstanding about. If the misconception is something more profound or related to customer service, ask them about the specific statement they have come across. Gently enquire with the following script.
“Where did you come across this information? It isn’t very true, and I can show you how…”
Continue by demonstrating what your product does, which clarifies to your customer that they have received some amount of false information.
11. “You don’t provide X feature.”
If this sales objection comes from a place of absolute necessity and your product does not provide the specific feature, it would be best to move on from this prospect. On the other hand, if the feature they need has to perform a particular function that a similar feature can provide, you can sell. Probe a little further and ask them what they plan on achieving with the specific feature. In this manner, you can figure out if any other existing feature your product provides can help them reach the same goals.
I would like to know why you want that specific feature. What do you aim to achieve with it? We may have other features that can carry out the same function in a different process.
Competitor-related sales objections
12. “We are happy with our current vendor.”
Any sales objection along these lines will provide an uphill battle of sorts for any salesperson. It can be challenging if you don’t have information about their vendor’s product. Always ensure that you’re aware of your competitor’s products and pricing.
In this circumstance, the best plan of action is to engage your customer in a series of questions about what they like that their vendor offers. First, find out the specific benefits they derive from the product. You can show how your product performs at a better price or with more varied features using the same benefits. Maybe your product offers an evolved version of a feature they have benefitted from. Find out in detail what they like and present your point. Follow this script in this case.
Oh, what have you achieved with _____ product? I see. Did you know we offer the same features with an added benefit of _____ and _____?
13. “I’m already bound to a contract with competitor X.”
This sales objection sounds more like a need for change. In the above objection, the customer stated that they were happy with their vendor; here, they express it in a less favorable light. Unless you have read too deeply into their tone and are sure that the prospect is satisfied with their current vendor, you have ample opportunities to sell.
You can inquire whether they are happy with their vendor, what features they predominantly use, and so on. If you can come up with discounts, features they don’t have, or benefits that can help their business more than their previous vendor does, you’ve made your sale. You can even circle back when the contract is over.
How do you like (competitor’s) product and service? I can offer____ discounts on a product with similar features.
14. “Your competitor offers cheaper rates.”
Figure out what you’re up against in this situation. Is this cheaper rate something that covers all the same features your product does? Is this your customer trying to cut a better deal for themselves, or are these rates accurate? Is your client under the notion that a similar, less expensive product will suffice? If it’s one of the first two scenarios, stress the attributes that highlight your product’s superiority, and give best possible discounts with limited functionalities. On the other hand, the third question gives you more leeway as you can explain why your product is worth the price. Follow this example script in these situations.
What are key differences between our product and your alternative? What gives you the most satisfaction and benefits?
Source or company-related objections
15. “I have heard (false information) about your organization.”
This objection is very similar to the 10th point in this list. The difference, though, lies in your customer’s misunderstanding about your company. Fake news can significantly alter the financial market as a whole if this story gains enough traction. This has been evident back in 2013 when the official Associated Press Twitter account tweeted about two explosions injuring President Barack Obama. In minutes over $130 billion in stock value was lost, yet soon after, they found that the account was hacked (Cheo 2018).
These misunderstandings are far more sensitive and need to be handled as carefully as possible. Whatever information they have received or heard can be damaging to your company’s reputation. So in this scenario, whether you make the sale or not, make sure you don’t let the misconceptions persist. Use the following script in these situations, for example, if you receive an objection about your false unsustainable practices.
I would like to know where you found such information regarding our organization. We do our best to promote sustainable practices as our ____ product is made sustainably and ethically. You can contact our employees if you would like further information and proof regarding this matter.
When your customer is fully aware of the information, they are much more likely to buy your products. Any objection a customer raises against the company’s brand or image must be handled appropriately. 79% of consumers change their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, or environmental impact. Furthermore, COVID-19 has raised customer knowledge and commitment to sustainable purchasing: Because of the COVID-19 situation, 67 percent of consumers indicated they would be more careful about natural resource scarcity, and 65 percent said they would be more conscious of the consequences.
16. “I’ve not heard of your company before this, I don’t think you’ve been around for a long time, so I’m not sure of how trustworthy you are.”
Source objections to the firm may come through comments concerning the company’s consistency or financial health and how the organization conducts business. However, this is an opportunity for you to highlight your organization’s capabilities to your prospect. Use the following example when this situation arises.
I understand why you might be concerned but let me get you through some facts about the company that I believe will calm your fears. Our company receives funds from some of the industry’s most powerful investors. They invested in the company because they believe in providing greater solutions to businesses like yours. (Statistics about your company’s growth, different metrics can all be used in these situations. Quoting success stories of businesses similar to theirs would also help).
Implementation and need-based objections
17. “Your product takes too much time to implement and is complex.”
Any objection about implementation time should focus on how much time they can provide to implement your product. It isn’t a dismissal, and it offers two positives. The first being the fact that they like your product, making the sale far more straightforward. Second, time rarely matters unless they’re launching something or need you to implement it within a specific time frame. Your next step should be to ask them how much time they can spare for implementation. If it is doable, then the sale is a success. If not, follow this script.
Our product’s implementation time depends on your needs rather than our product itself. But we can plan the sprint as per your business priorities. This way, you will also start noticing a difference in ROI within the first few months of the implementation plan.
18. “Your product doesn’t solve the challenges my organization faces.”
Now, this objection is a real red flag because it means you haven’t gained an understanding of what the customer wants. In this situation, retrace your steps, and ask them what challenges they do face. Once you figure that out, you can evaluate whether your product can meet their expectations. If it does, go ahead with your reasons for how it can help them. If not, let it go, this sale was never yours to make, and that’s okay.
This objection comes in different forms of “Your product isn’t the right fit for my organization.” Or “Your product’s features are unnecessary to our growth.” All of which are valid reasons not to buy. Question why they have these opinions, but if you’re provided with a reasonable answer, move on to the next prospect.
19. “You don’t understand my business/needs well enough.”
You can overcome industry-specific objections once you conduct some research into how they function. If you sell to a particular industry, you’re probably familiar with that specific sector. Let them know that you’ve worked with similar firms before and that you’ve handled difficulties identical to theirs. If you assumed the wrong thing about your prospect’s firm or sector, don’t be afraid of admitting it. Your customers will appreciate your honesty. If the second objection arises, this is the script to follow.
I’m so sorry if I’ve misunderstood what your sector calls for, do let me know what you specifically require. I’ll try my best to assess how we can match your expectations.
Note: avoid using words like “pitch” while speaking to prospects. For example, saying: “I’ll share the updated pitch deck as per your problem statement” is a bad idea. People don’t like being pitched. They want you to solve their problem. So, instead, you can say, “I’ll share the updated solutions deck as per your problem statement.”
20. “Your product only covers some of our needs; we need something more comprehensive.”
Customers always prefer a product where they can gain multiple uses and benefits. If your product only offers specific features, but your customer expects more, take the specialization angle. If your product integrates with other software features that the customer needs, do let them know. So don’t lose heart; present some metrics and benefits that customers of a similar background have felt with your product. If they still want a one-stop solution for their needs, move right on; sometimes, the best can’t do it all.
I understand your needs require more comprehensive solutions. But our product specializes in a feature that greatly increases ROI. You can invest in other products for features you may need after achieving such results with us.
Those were some examples of objections that may come your way. But you may face drastically different objections, and you might find yourself unaware of how to respond. In these situations, use the following guidelines to assess the objection and overcome it.
Bandwidth related objections
21. “We don’t have the bandwidth to make this work for us.”
Such objection arises when the prospect has liked your product/solution and wants to buy but is genuinely concerned about the lack of bandwidth.
In this situation, help them understand the simplicity of your product and that it doesn’t need the time and resources that they presumed. Tell them how you’ve solved the same hesitation for one of your clients and how happy they are with the results. If your prospect lacks resources, but you can help them with the installation, tell them. Of course, there’ll be charges associated, but don’t let the deal go cold because of this reason. If they still need some more time to think through, give them time and space to discuss internally. Here’s a script you can follow.
Oh, it’s not as resource intensive as you might think. Here’s an example from our customer who spent just “X days” setting it up. And if you can’t spare the time at all, we also have plans where we set it all up for you.
Guidelines to handle sales objections effectively
Sales objections rarely express outright disinterest in purchasing products; instead, they signify a lack of trust or understanding from the customer’s side. You can effectively handle the objections from prospective buyers when you:
- Listen to them
- Understand their reasons for risk
- Prepare to handle objections
Learn to listen
Most salespeople misunderstand that the more they try to convince a prospect to buy, the more chances they have of making a sale. However, 95% of buyers state that the typical salesperson talks too much, and 74% of buyers said they were much more likely to buy if that salesperson would listen to them.
The pre-pandemic era gave us opportunities to zero in on body language and other non-verbal cues. But now, almost all interactions take place with a screen separating both parties, making it all the more important to hone your listening skills.
For instance, we asked salespeople from different industry verticals about the challenges they face these days while selling. 34.48% of respondents said communication challenges, and 34.48% said the inability to understand customer’s sentiments (during one-on-one interactions).
The truth is, most people prefer thinking that they chose to buy or not buy; they don’t want to be convinced into anything. The easier way of handling this is to instead listen to their objections.
Understand their reason for risk
Instead of refuting with your reasons for why they should buy, understand their reasons for objections first. For example, let’s look at a situation where listening and understanding would lead to a sale.
What won’t work effectively is –
- Customer A: “I don’t think the product is worth its price tag.”
- Agent B: “These are the reasons for why it is.”
In this situation, you’ve given them reasons without asking them why they think your product/service isn’t worth the price. While you may persuade some with generic reasons, others may not be as quick to do so. Follow this script instead-
- Customer Y: “I don’t think the product is worth my money.”
- Agent X: “Oh, well, can you explain to me why you feel that way.”
- Customer Y: “It doesn’t have ABC features I’m looking for, and that’s why I wanted to purchase the product in the first place.”
- Agent X: “Ah, I see, but did you know this product does offer two out of three of those features? Additionally, the feature we don’t offer, which you’re looking for, actually causes more harm than good. Here’s why….”
This way, you’re offering reasons specific to your customer’s needs. You now know their needs better than you previously did, and your customer appreciates your ability to listen. If the product they’re looking at doesn’t offer any of those features. But a similar product you’re selling does divert their attention to that product. This way, you ensure that the customer is satisfied with your ability to understand their needs and you’ve made a sale.
Preparing- saving for a rainy day
Finally, preparing for a sales objection involves anticipating these objections and having valid reasons to quell these concerns. Think of it this way, on a summer day; nobody leaves their home expecting it to rain. So they leave their umbrella behind, not realizing that this is also when cyclones typically hit their neighboring state. Now they’re caught in heavy rain, umbrella-less and drenched.
Preparing for such situations ensures fewer chances of having your sale go down the drain. One way to prepare yourself to handle these objections is by segmenting your customers. When you create a customer profile, try to include important details like location, age, gender, etc. Segmenting your customers makes it far easier to understand their needs.
When you distribute them to agents, you can make sure they reach out to customers who speak their language and reside in the same state or city. People have a much greater chance of listening to someone who speaks their language. Salespeople can be more comfortable and confident while making a sale. Customers can make more queries and objections when communicating without feeling hesitant to present their point.
Now let’s move on to why sales objections are important and how you can benefit from handling them successfully.
Objections are opportunities to build relationships
- Strengthening relationships: Handling objections gives you the chance to improve your relationship with the prospect. It increases your understanding of your customer’s needs. By allowing the relationship to grow slowly and organically, you demonstrate your patience, sensitivity, and sincerity. Meeting these expectations further cements solid foundations for your future dealings with the customer.
- Increasing transparency: By handling objections, you put your customer at ease with your company. They have more reason to trust and depend on your assistance when you help them overcome such roadblocks. 67% of participants in an Edelman Global trust report agree on: “a good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I trust the company creating the product, I will soon stop buying it.”
- Objections are opportunities: almost every sales objection you come across is an opportunity to sell. The key takeaway from this article is to realize the value of persistence in sales. Did you know that around 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting? 44% of sales reps reportedly give up after a single follow-up. Whatever objections your prospect hands out to you, please don’t give up unless they specifically ask you to do so.
If you’re looking for one such tool that supports your sales agents in their follow-ups, choose LeadSquared’s CRM. Notify salespeople when a lead performs a meaningful action or progresses through the sales funnel. This ensures that your team gets to the prospects on time and never misses a sale.