You’re going to hear “no” a lot before you get a “yes.” Overcoming sales objections is a foundational skill sales representatives need to master to succeed.
But handling objections in sales isn’t only about persistence. It isn’t a numbers game of having to get 10 noes before you get a yes. Handling objections means understanding what your prospect is really saying, what their business problem is and then providing facts that prove why their objection is wrong.
Oh yeah, and you need to be charming about it, too.
Don’t worry. We’ve got the 12 best responses to every common sales objection down below.
Why Overcoming Sales Objections is Vital
According to HubSpot, the top 3 struggles that sales representatives report are:
Difficulty getting people to buy now
Difficulty connecting with prospects
All of those can be solved by learning proper sales objection handling techniques.
Yes, overcoming sales objections will close more deals. It will make you more money. It will make your company successful. But besides the material rewards, overcoming objections actually builds better relationships with your customers.
HubSpot also researched what buyers want in the sales process. Some 69% of buyers said they simply want their salesperson to listen to their needs. Other high-ranking desires include not being pushed into a decision (61%) and being provided a range of offerings that may not even be from that company (49%).
In short, customers want you to care — really care — about their goals and honor what is the best fit for their needs.
By overcoming sales objections from a place of genuine care, you build trust and become more of an advisor than a salesperson. Even if they don’t buy from you, they’ll remember your approach. In sales, your network is everything. If that person changes jobs where your products would be a good fit, who will they be more likely to call: Pushy Sales Rep A, or Trusted Adviser B? (That’s you.)
The Right Way to Overcome Sales Objections
As with most difficult conversations in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle it. No matter what the objection is, keep these tips in mind as you reply.
1. Stay Calm and Don’t Rush
As soon as you hear, “I’ll think about it,” or, “I’d love to, but my boss said no,” — don’t panic. Rushing to get an argument in will all but always result in saying the wrong thing to try and convince your prospect to reconsider.
Stay calm, listen to what their objection is, pause to think about it first and then respond.
2. Ask Questions
Don’t accept a sales objection at face value. There is always a deeper story. By asking questions, you uncover more data to help navigate future conversations. You can find out if the price is really the issue, or if they aren’t factoring in the long-term savings your solution will provide them.
A study by business analytics company Gong found that 54.3% of top-performing sales representatives asked questions right after receiving an objection, compared to 31% of average performers. Even if you don’t close the deal, getting more data about your prospects is always a good thing.
If you aren’t sure what to ask, start with, “Thank you for that feedback. Could you elaborate more on why you feel that way?” Or maybe, “Can you tell me more about that?”
3. Find the Real Objection
As a rule, if a prospect objects to price, it’s usually never about the actual price. It could be about current business needs, such as not having the cash flow to make a large purchase. In that case, maybe a payment plan would be suitable.
Or, the objection is used to cover up something completely different that the prospect doesn’t want to say. Maybe the prospect overestimated their decision-making level at the company. Now that upper management has said no, the prospect says it’s because it’s too expensive, when really they’re a little embarrassed.
The best way to find out the real objection hiding behind the fake ones is to ask even more questions, such as:
“I completely understand price is a factor here. Would a payment plan be more suitable for you?”
“If we were able to come up with a solution to solve [the objection given], would there be anything else holding you back from committing to this?”
4. Flip the Objection Into a Positive (Tactfully)
Tone and wording is very important when you’re handling sales objections. No one wants to be badgered into changing their mind. We all know that voice that screams, “Well, actually …” even if we don’t use those words.
A combative tone puts your prospect on the defensive before you can communicate anything.
Stay open-minded and genuine. You got to this point by becoming their trusted adviser, not a mile-a-minute auctioneer rattling off facts and numbers.
The goal when handling an objection isn’t to have the perfect piece of data ready to share to convince someone. The goal is to provide data that changes the way your prospect thinks without pushing them into it.
You’ll see examples of this below, but the main strategy is to turn a negative into a positive:
Is the price too high, or is the cost of not saying yes much greater in lost productivity?
Is now not the right time, or is it the best time because it’s a slow period so your staff will be able to dedicate time to switching software platforms?
Successfully Overcoming Common Sales Objections: 5 Key Examples
1. “I love it, but it’s too expensive.”
The old price conundrum. They’d say yes if you’d discount it a little, right? Nope. It’s almost never about price, it’s about perceived value. Instead of discounting, which suggests you don’t have confidence in your product either or were trying to ”rip them off,” hold firm.
Say, “I’m so glad to hear you love our ecommerce shipping tool and see how it could benefit you. I definitely understand staying within a budget as well. However, I’d love to share a few studies we’ve done that show a 50% production speed increase within 6 months. That could more than make up for this budget shortfall we’ve discussed! How does that sound?”
This is such a common sales objective that there are many other ways to handle this. They could say you’re the most expensive out of your competitors. Instead of an instant reply of, “That’s because we’re the best,” opt to bring the conversation back to value.
“True, but does Competitor A, B and C offer the data security compliance you require as a federal financial institution?”
Whatever the feature you use, make sure it’s one you know your competitors don’t offer.
2. “If it were up to me, we’d proceed, but my manager says no.”
Big uh-oh. If you aren’t speaking directly with the decision makers, you need to be. Don’t alienate your prospect or make them feel unimportant, but push to speak to the one actually calling the shots.
Offer to set up a joint meeting with all of you present to discuss the sale.
3. “I’m too busy to deal with this at the moment.”
Hate to break it to ya, buddy, but not dealing with your business problems won’t make them go away. OK, maybe don’t say exactly that, but you need to point out the facts: They have a problem that won’t go away on its own and your product is the solution.
You can offer to make the process as easy for them as possible. Perhaps by handling some of the details yourself or supporting them along the way. But ultimately, they need to understand investing in this solution will have a positive return on investment (ROI) in the future and is worth their time now.
4. “I need [X] feature you don’t offer.”
This is a battle you probably aren’t going to win. But instead of thanking them for their time and hanging up, consider building your network. Thank them for their feedback, ask about why they need that feature (maybe they really don’t?) and tell them you’ll bring it up to your development team.
Ask if you can have permission to reach back out when or if your company adds that feature. Build an email list or keep a record somewhere of these “future follow-ups.” You never know where they may lead in a year or two.
5. “I like it, but my [neighbor/friend/cousin/dog groomer] said they had a bad experience with your company.”
This one will come down to the trust you’ve built during the process already. They wouldn’t have talked to you at all if they were 100% against your company, right?
This is a great opportunity to build rapport. Ask what the bad experience was, apologize that it happened and offer something reassuring that it won’t happen to your prospect too.
You could try: “Thank you for sharing that with me. We definitely don’t want customers to feel like just a number to us. Actually, every day we have an all-hands meeting where we discuss our priorities for the day and if any customers need extra attention or help. I’m sorry we missed your friend that time. But if you decide to move forward, I want you to know you can always reach out to me directly with questions or concerns, OK?”
Stop Taking No for an Answer
Objections are a normal part of the sales process. Addressing them moves you toward closing the deal.
However, you need to do so without being pushy. Always listen to your customer. Listen more than you speak and think about what they’re really saying. As you’re hearing an objection, think about questions you could ask to dig deeper into why this is a roadblock and how you can get around it.
Listen. Ask questions. Reframe the objection as a positive, or offer an alternative solution, such as a payment plan.
But the No. 1 rule? The one thing you should always, 100%-of-the-time do to overcome sales objections?
Don’t take no for an answer. At least the first time you hear it.
Contributing Writer, Fast Capital 360
Michelle Martin is a freelance copywriter for business-to-business, software-as-a-service companies looking to stand out and scale up. She is an ex-agency producer and marketing strategist known for quickly understanding and distilling complicated technical topics into conversational copy that gets results.