“I’m a big fan of what I’ve seen so far, but I’m honestly not convinced your solution is the best out there. I’m not sure that I’m ready to buy. It’s just so expensive.”
Sales teams encounter objections in many forms. They might be requests for more clarity surrounding a particular product feature, resistance to change, a negotiating tactic to drive down price or a hidden agenda. Whichever variant your team is dealing with, odds are they’re anxiety-inducing. After all, objections typically surface toward the end of the sales process, and sales reps usually view them as unforeseeable obstacles and potential deal-breakers. As sales leaders, it’s our job to help salespeople understand that objections are ultimately positive and, for the most part, predictable.
Objections indicate an engaged potential buyer and an opportunity to further understand the context of the deal from the prospect’s perspective. Effectively removing objections moves a well-executed sales cycle closer to its natural conclusion: the close. Helping sales reps develop the necessary skills to confidently anticipate, understand and eliminate objections is key to closing business, particularly at a time when price sensitivity is rising and risk aversion is more prevalent than ever.
So, how can you better equip your sales team to successfully navigate potential roadblocks? Here are the answers to the three most common questions salespeople have about overcoming objections.
1. How Do I Develop Better Closing Skills?
This question is a common refrain and an opportunity to reorient your sales reps’ thinking. Closing isn’t a specialized skill set but the logical conclusion of a well-executed sales process. And while reps may not always be able to work on their closing skills, they can create urgency.
Often, it’s the dialogue, understanding and engagement that happens early in the sales process that enables reps to uncover and connect with urgent issues. Train your team to stay customer-focused here. It’s all about the prospect and his or her critical business concerns. People make decisions based on their motivations, so when sales reps connecting your solution to their buyer’s motivation, they create a dimension of critical urgency. More than anything, it’s the problems worth solving that are the most pressing, which is why sales leaders must work with their teams on developing the business acumen to identify these business issues in the first place.
2. What’s the Ideal Formula for Countering Objections?
Sales reps often try to puzzle out the perfect combination of words that will dispel any objection with ease. However, it’s not so much about the words as it is about the process that salespeople use to understand objections and move past them.
First, salespeople should strive to clarify the objection and understand the intent behind it. Coach your team on the importance of identifying the “why” of the question as much as the “what.” Effective questioning will enable sales reps to uncover the prospect’s real reason for raising the objection, helping them diagnose the root cause and return to the point in the buyer’s journey where something went out of alignment.
From there, sales reps should put all the objections on the table. Questions like, “If we move past these pricing questions and come to an agreement that this investment is worth it, is there anything else that would prevent you from going forward?” help see if the objection is a true question or a negotiating technique and then address it accordingly.
The final piece of the puzzle is for sales reps to anticipate objections and create a plan in the same way they might prepare to present product features. The overwhelming majority of objections fit into one of these buckets:
- Business issues
- Differentiated solution
- Power to purchase
- Plan for implementation
3. How Do I Switch the Conversation From Price to Value?
Again, it’s a matter of clarification. When an objection based on price comes up, many reps automatically assume the cost is too high — but it may not be what they think. Objections to price can arise from a fear that the price is too low and that the project could suffer as a result. It’s also common for the prospect to be wary of being nickel-and-dimed later on.
Overall, it’s not really about changing the conversation but about stressing how vital it is to have the value conversation before the price conversation comes up. If your reps hear an objection on pricing and they’ve never conveyed the value of your product or solution, they’re at an incredible disadvantage. Having thoughtful discovery conversations early is crucial to developing the solid footing that salespeople need when the inevitable negotiations begin.
Train your salespeople to facilitate conversations that uncover a prospect’s business problems and create the context for them to then to differentiate your product or solution — demonstrating how it will provide incremental value in the short and long term. Remember, it’s the credibility established early in the sales process that will carry reps toward the close.
Risk aversion is understandably high in the current business environment, which is why sales leaders must help their reps position themselves as qualified business partners prepared to solve buyers’ most demanding concerns. When salespeople can fully understand a prospect’s perspective and motivations, they’ll be able to confidently meet objections and properly diagnose and dispel them — propelling the sale to close.