You're a good salesperson and you naturally spend a lot of time thinking about why prospects would decide to buy your product as opposed to your competitor's. What you really need to do is put yourself in your buyer's shoes and run through all the reasons why they might say "no" to buying your product and what you should reply. If you are an "old hand" in sales then you will have fended off many of these objections in your time. If you're new to sales, these should help with the learning curve.
Where to start?
Specific objections will vary from industry to industry. However, there are many common objections whatever it is you’re selling. We give here the most common - and some solutions to those objections.
THE EASY TO HANDLE...
1) “It’s too expensive.”
Price is the most common type of objection. Try not to focus entirely on price as a selling point - emphasise your product's value.
2) “We’re working with someone else.”
So, they’ve already recognised a need and identified a solution - you just have to convince them they would be better off with your product or service. Talk about your product - just because a prospect is working with a competitor doesn’t mean they’re happy with them. Probe into the relationship: why did they choose that service? What’s working well? What’s not? Pay special attention to any dissatisfaction that could be solved with your product.
3) “I’m locked into a contract.”
Is your prospect feeling trapped? Can you come up with a creative discount that will offset the cost of breaking a contract early? Be upfront with them - ask how the relationship is going to determine whether they’re actually happy or might be looking to switch.
4) "Just go away!".
It might be ruder than that!! If your prospect hangs up on you, don’t panic - try reaching out to a different person in the company using a different approach.
Or, you could go on the offensive. Wait a few seconds, then call back and say, “Sorry, looks like we got disconnected! Do you have a few minutes?” This is purely dependent of course on how your conversation with your prospect went before the hang up!
5) “I’ve never heard of your company.”
Treat this objection as a request for information. Provide a very quick summary of what you offer - and how you can help.
6) “How did you get my details?”
Don’t get defensive - simply remind the prospect that they filled out a form on your site, or signed up for more information at a trade show (they've obviously forgotten) or that you simply came across their website and wanted to make contact to see if you could help.
7) “I don't have the authority.”
Ask your prospect for the name of the right person to speak to, and then redirect your call to them.
8) “I can't talk now.”
Everyone's busy these days. Simply explain that you’re not looking to have a long conversation, just a quick chat about whether or not your product would be a good fit for their organization.
9) “I’m not interested.”
Well, how do they know if they don't have any facts? Offer to send over some literature and schedule a follow-up call if you can.
10) “Just send me some information.”
Say, “I’d be happy to send you some literature, but I want to make sure that it's relevant to you. What are you most interested in hearing about?”
11) “Call me back later in the year.”
Prospects will often say this to dissuade you from pursuing a conversation. Don’t let them off that easily - it’s a vague brush-off uttered in the hope you'll go away. Ask, “What’s going to change next quarter?” to question their motivation for brushing you off.
12) “I don’t want to get tied into a contract.”
A prospect with a genuine need and interest who hesitates at contract terms usually has an issue with cash flow. Investigate if you can offer a different payment schedule.
It might also be worth checking out earlier articles that cover 16 ways to handle pricing objections, and The Secret to More Profitable Negotiations for a more in depth look at some of the "easy to handle" and "slightly difficult" objections.
SLIGHTLY MORE DIFFICULT...
13) “There’s no money.”
That's frank! It could just be that your prospect’s business simply isn’t big enough or currently generating enough cash. Dig a little deeper and see if there's any way of getting to a place where what you are offering would fit into their business – and help them generate more income.
14) “We don’t have any budget left this year.”
A 'cash flow' issue, one variation on the “no money” objection. Arrange a follow-up call for when they expect funding to return.
15) “It's cheaper elsewhere.”
Is this a fact or is your prospect looking for you to offer a discount? If it's the former, emphasise the points of differentiation, play up the value of your product, its worth, not cost. If the latter, offer a discount but emphasise the features that make your product superior. Say goodbye if they ask you to go lower.
16) “I’m happy with another.”
Find out why they believe their relationship with your competitor is beneficial, and identify weak spots where your product would do better.
17) "I'm worried about changing – too much can go wrong."
The potential client is stuck in a rut! One way to overcome this objection is to demonstrate past examples of change and how it was positive. For example, show them a list of different ways the industry has changed over the past 10 to 15 years, and how the prospect has adapted to those changes for the better. This can help him or her be less fearful and more confident about change.
18) “I don't like you.”
Well, it's unlikely they'll come right out and say this. It’s obviously not necessary to become best buddies with someone to sell to them but if you and your prospect really don’t get along, consider handing them over to a colleague. Remember, this has nothing to do with your product or its value.
19) "We don't have a need right now".”
In your conversation, listen closely for the real reasons the need has low priority. Your prospect may appreciate they have a problem and is trying to rationalize their inaction. Capitalize on this and instill some sense of urgency.
20) “I don't see what your product can do for me?.”
This could be a request for more information but raised as an objection. Reconfirm the goals or challenges you’ve discussed and explain how your product can help.
21) “I don’t understand your product.”
It may be that your product is particularly complicated or specialized but don’t give up immediately. Ask your prospect what aspects of your product they’re unclear about, then try explaining it in a different way. One alternative is to bring in a specialist to answer very technical questions.
22) “I can’t sell this internally.”
Ask your prospect what objections they anticipate, and help them prepare the business case for adopting your product. See if there’s anything additional you can offer.
23) “You don’t understand what I'm up against. I need help with Y, not X.”
Hear what they're saying then restate your interpretation of their situation; align it with your prospect’s take and move forward. A lot of misunderstandings can be resolved simply by rephrasing your prospect’s words.
24) “You don’t understand this business.”
If you are selling in a specific industry, this statement is simply not true. Let them know that you have successfully worked with similar companies in the same field. If however you made an incorrect assumption about your prospect’s company or industry, don’t be afraid to own up to it. Hopefully your candour will be appreciated. Apologise and ask for some more information about their particular business.
25) “There’s too much going on right now.”
This is likely to be a brush-off. If they can't adequately clarify their competing priorities try pressing them on precisely why they don't want to engage with you. If they can provide some concrete evidence, don’t worry. Set a time for a follow up and send over helpful resources in the meantime.
26) “We’re happy the way things are.”
This may be true! However, everyone faces challenges so do some more delving to seek out what problems they may have now or in the future - and that you will be able to solve.
27) “I don’t see the potential for ROI.”
This is a sign that you’ll have to prepare a formal pitch. It will be necessary to build a business case for this one and to arrange a future meeting with your prospect and their managers. The evidence of hard numbers will sell. Pull out testimonials/case studies to prove the ROI of your product.
THE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE OBJECTIONS...
28) “We don’t have the capacity.”
Could be a deal-breaker. It’s possible your prospect will have to recruit staff or divert resources in order to take advantage of your services. If they truly don't have the resources, even if you have thoroughly explained how their life will be made easier with your product, you might have to walk away.
29) “Your product is too complicated.”
If the confusion involves specific features remind them that you have a customer service team/experts on hand to answer any queries. If the whole thing is really beyond them, it will be nigh on impossible to do business.
30) “Your product doesn’t have a particular feature that we need.”
You could suggest a supplementary product that can be used in conjunction with yours. If their specific need is critical and your product can't solve it, perhaps it's time to move along to a better prospect.
Objections are an inevitable part of sales. Of course, some objections are legitimate reasons to step away, while others are simply an attempt to brush you off. You should be familiar with all the common objections and equipped to answer them; that way you can distinguish between potentially serious customers and those that are not worth pursuing.