Does it say something about me that I can’t hear the word “Objection” without Phoenix Wright springing to the forefront of my brain?
For the uninitiated, Phoenix Wright is a series of visual-novel style games where you play a lawyer. And as a lawyer, you get to yell “Objection” a LOT.
Look, all I’m saying is that if you’re into sales, the games will trigger your PTSD.
Because sometimes, it seems like half your day goes by just marveling at the various objections prospects can come up with(The other half goes into updating the CRM, but we can fix that).
Sometimes, it may seem like it would be better if they just slammed the door on your face. That this roundabout method of refusal just wastes everyone’s time.
Because that’s what a sales objection is, right? A reason why they don’t want to, or can’t do business with you?
Except sometimes, an objection is not a refusal to do business at all. Sometimes it’s an invitation to prove your mettle.
Sure, sales objections come in many forms, but they can usually be slotted into a few broad categories.
Usually expressed in some variation of “We don’t have the budget for that right now”, these can also mean an invitation to negotiate the price. However, just because the prospect has raised it doesn’t mean you immediately start calculating discounts. Sometimes, if you can point out, with hard numbers, how much value your solution will bring to the prospect, you might see that the budget has magically manifested itself.
Status quo objections
“But we already have what we need” is usually how this one goes. This is a tough one, because you are going up against competition that already has an advantage.
There are two ways to handle this - either show the prospect that your solution can also do what the competition and then some, which would provide additional value, or make them aware of a problem they might not be aware of. A revenue leak they may not have considered, that your solution can plug.
Yes, it means understanding the prospects’ business better than they understand it themselves. We never said it was easy.
“I’m not the right person for this” is an objection that should be simple to handle, right? Just talk to the right person instead? But that’s not always easy (see our entry on gatekeepers for more).
These are sometimes cases where the prospect is delaying the decision, so the best way to handle this is to ask to speak to the decision-maker, but if that’s not possible, to back off and check in at intervals.
Tougher, however, is when your point of contact is expressly the one who has to sell the solution to the decision maker, but is unable to do it. In such cases, you can create custom collateral, including perhaps a short video snippet, to make that process easier.
“Who are you? I’ve never heard of you!” is a common one that startups and small businesses have to hear. In such cases, instead of brushing away the concern, it is best to agree with them that yes, it can be difficult to work with a relative unknown, buuuttt…and then hit them with the one two punch of case studies / testimonials and a detailed, well thought out elevator pitch of how you can help them.
And that’s it for our primer on sales objections. As always, there is much more to sales objections than the surface scratching done here. For a more in depth look at not just sales objections but various facets of sales calls, check out our Sales Secrets Uncovered series on LinkedIn. We crunched the numbers on 3.8 million sales calls to bring you these data-driven insights, so we hope you sign up!
TL;DR - Sure, sometimes sales objections are deal killers, but more often, they are opportunities dressed up as hindrances. Manage them right, and your prospect becomes a loyal customer.