Picture this: You’ve spent weeks perfecting your sales pitch. You’ve done your research, you know your product inside out, and you’re confident that you can win over any prospect that comes your way. But as soon as you start your pitch, the prospect hits you with an objection. “We don’t have the budget for this,” they say, or “We’re not sure if this is the right fit for us.” Suddenly, all of your confidence disappears, and you’re left scrambling to salvage the sale.
Sound familiar? Objections are a part of every salesperson’s life, and they can be a major roadblock to closing deals. But here’s the thing: objections don’t have to be a sales killer. In fact, they can be an opportunity to learn more about your prospect’s needs, address their concerns, and ultimately, close the deal.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to handle objections like a pro. We’ll cover the BANT and LAER frameworks, plus some effective strategies for overcoming common sales objections.
Whether you’re a seasoned sales pro or new to the game, this blog will give you the tools you need to tackle typical sales objections head-on and close more deals. So let’s get started!
Understanding Sales Objections in Calls
Simply put, “sales objections” are the reasons why a prospect may be hesitant to move forward with a purchase or may outright reject a sales pitch.
They can be anything from concerns about the product or service being offered, to questions about pricing, to doubts about the credibility of the salesperson.
Regardless of the nature of the sales objection, it’s your job to address it and provide the prospect with the information and reassurance they need to make their purchase.
The BANT Criteria: A Tool for Identifying Sales Objections
The BANT framework was originally developed by IBM and is still widely used today as a way to qualify leads and gather information about prospects before a sales call.
- Budget refers to the prospect’s ability to pay for a product or service. You need to have a clear understanding of your prospect’s budget so you can present solutions that are within their financial means. In fact, according to a study by Gong.io, top-performing sales reps spend more time discussing pricing and budget than their average-performing counterparts.
- Authority refers to the prospect’s ability to make purchasing decisions. You need to know who the decision-makers are within their organization and make sure you’re addressing their needs and concerns.
- Need refers to the prospect’s actual need for your product or service. You need to understand the prospect’s pain points and demonstrate how your product can address those issues.
- Timing refers to the prospect’s timeline for making a purchase. You need to understand the prospect’s buying cycle and work with them to ensure that your product or service is being considered at the right time.
The Importance of Handling a Sales Objection
Learning to handle objections effectively can pay off in big ways for both the sales reps and the prospects.
When objections are handled proactively and professionally, it shows the prospect that the salesperson is listening to their concerns and is genuinely interested in finding solutions that meet their needs. This builds trust, and can ultimately lead to a stronger customer relationship.
For the prospect, successful objection handling means that they get the information and reassurance they need to make an informed purchasing decision. When objections are left unaddressed, people experience uncertainty, which can lead to a lost sale.
Closing More Deals
Sales objections signal that a prospect is interested but may need more information or reassurance before making a purchase.
- By taking the time to understand their concerns and provide thoughtful responses, you can build trust and alleviate any doubts or hesitations the prospect may have.
- By addressing objections head-on, salespeople can increase the likelihood of prospects moving forward in the buying process and ultimately lead to a higher closing rate.
- By providing clear and concise responses to sales objections, the conversation moves forward and the prospect stays engaged. This can ultimately lead to a higher closing rate and a more successful sales outcome.
Building Stronger Customer Relationships
Building a strong relationship with the customer is key to overcoming objections and closing deals.
- By taking the time to empathize with your clients’ concerns and demonstrating a genuine interest in helping them find solutions, you can establish trust and build long-lasting relationships.
- By demonstrating a willingness to listen and address objections, salespeople can create a sense of partnership with their clients, which can help to build trust and foster loyalty over time.
- By providing thoughtful responses to sales objections and offering creative solutions to unique challenges, you can establish yourself as an expert in the field.
Improving Sales Efficiency
When sales professionals overcome sales objections the right way they can also streamline the sales process overall, making it more efficient.
- By anticipating and addressing objections early on in the sales cycle, sales reps can reduce the amount of time spent on low-potential leads and focus on high-value prospects.
- By addressing objections proactively, salespeople can eliminate roadblocks that might prevent a prospect from moving forward in the buying process.
- By prioritizing your efforts and focusing on the most promising leads, you can determine whether a prospect is a good fit for their product or service, weed out low-potential leads, and focus your efforts on high-value prospects that are more likely to convert.
Enhancing Personal and Team Development
This may not be an obvious perk, but handling sales objections can also contribute to personal and team development.
- By refining their objection-handling skills, salespeople can enhance their communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.
- By learning to anticipate objections and address them proactively, salespeople can improve their communication skills and become better listeners.
- By thinking creatively and offering unique solutions to complex challenges, salespeople can develop better problem-solving skills.
- By sharing their experiences and collaborating on strategies for addressing objections, sales teams can improve their collective objection-handling skills and support each other in the sales process.
The LAER Method for Objection Handling
You can overcome sales objections by following the LAER framework. Developed by the Technology & Services Industry Association, the LAER framework helps sales professionals effectively address and anticipate sales objections and move prospects through the buying process.
This step involves actively listening to the prospect’s concern and asking clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns. For example, you might say, “I hear that you’re concerned about the cost. Can you tell me more about what specific concerns you have about the pricing?”
Once the prospect has shared their concerns, it’s important to acknowledge them and empathize with their situation. This step involves demonstrating that you understand their objections and that you are committed to finding a solution that meets their needs. For example, you might say, “I understand that cost is a concern for you. We have several pricing options available, and I’m confident that we can find a solution that fits your budget.”
After acknowledging the prospect’s concerns, it’s important to explore the objection in greater detail. This step involves asking questions to gain a deeper understanding of the prospect’s needs. For example, you might say, “Can you tell me more about your current process and how our solution can help improve it? What features are most important to you?”
This step involves presenting the prospect with a solution that addresses their concerns and meets their needs. For example, you might say, “Based on our conversation, I think our solution can help address your concerns about cost while also providing the features you’re looking for. Let me show you how it works and answer any additional questions you may have.”
Common Sales Objections and How to Overcome Them
Addressing price concerns is one of the most common sales objections that you’ll face, and it’s important to have specific techniques for handling it.
- Demonstrate Value: This can be done by highlighting the unique features and benefits that the prospect will receive by investing in the product or service. For example, you might say, “While our product may be more expensive than [some of our competitors], it has several unique features that provide greater value and efficiency in the long run.”
- Offer Payment Plans: This approach can make the investment seem more affordable to the prospect. For example, you might say, “We offer several payment plans that can fit your budget and help you get the solution you need.”
- Show the ROI: Quantify the benefits the prospect will receive in return for their investment. For example, you might say, “Our product has been shown to increase productivity by 30%, which at [other client you can showcase as a success story] led to [$$$] in cost savings and increased revenue.”
- Highlight Long-Term Benefits: This can include benefits such as increased efficiency, improved quality, or reduced maintenance costs. For example, you might say, “While the initial cost may be higher, our product is designed to last longer and require less maintenance, which can lead to significant cost savings over time.”
Helping prospects see the long-term value and ROI of your product or service is an important part of objection handling.
- Provide Data: Use data to support your claims about the value and ROI of your product or service. Include case studies, testimonials, or industry research as needed. For example, if you are selling a software solution, you might provide data on how it has improved productivity and efficiency for other companies.
- Focus on Business Impact: Help prospects understand how your offering can positively impact their business in both the short and long term. For example, if you are selling a marketing automation platform, you might focus on how it can help generate more leads and improve customer engagement.
- Address Budget Constraints: Acknowledge the prospect’s budget constraints, but emphasize how your offering can provide long-term value and ROI. For example, if you are selling a cybersecurity solution, you might emphasize how it can help the prospect avoid costly data breaches and associated legal fees.
- Offer Customized Solutions: Work with the prospect to develop a customized solution that fits their budget, offer different pricing options, bundle services together, or provide a phased implementation plan. For example, if you are selling a project management tool, you might offer a scaled-down version of the software that fits the prospect’s budget while still providing essential features.
Every business has competitors, and prospects might hesitate to buy your product if they think there’s a better, cheaper, or simpler alternative.
- Understand Your Unique Value Proposition: Set your product or service apart from the competition by focusing on the benefits that you offer that others do not, and make sure you can clearly communicate these benefits to prospects.
- Highlight Your USPs: Unique Selling Propositions are the specific features or benefits that make your offering stand out. Emphasize these points in your marketing materials, sales presentations, and conversations with prospects.
- Provide Case Studies and Testimonials: Case studies and testimonials are powerful tools for demonstrating how your offering has helped other companies achieve their goals.
- Position Your Offering as the Best Choice: Emphasize the unique benefits you offer, and how they are more valuable than those of your competitors. Make sure you are focusing on the needs of the prospect, and how your offering can help them achieve their goals.
- Leverage Social Proof: Social proof is a powerful way to demonstrate the value of your offering. Use customer reviews to prove the unique benefits of your offering and show prospects that others have found it valuable.
When it comes to a prospective buyer making a purchasing decision, timing is everything. So when prospects tell you it’s just not the right time for them to invest in what you’re selling, try these techniques:
- Urgency: Maybe there’s a new market trend or a critical event happening soon that makes it vital for the prospect to act quickly. Highlighting the urgency of the situation will give prospects a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and encourage them to make a decision.
- Flexible Solutions: Try to offer creative solutions that cater to their needs such as a phased implementation approach that allows them to start small and grow their usage over time.
- Discuss the Risks of Delaying: Highlighting the opportunity cost of inaction or the potential for competitors to gain an advantage can help prospects understand the importance of making a decision now. By providing clear examples and explanations, you can help prospects understand that time is of the essence.
Anticipating and Preparing for Sales Objections
One of the keys to overcoming sales objections successfully is anticipating them, which can be easily done by identifying the most common sales objections from within your industry. As a bonus, when you’re well-prepared, you’ll feel more confident during calls.
- Stay Up-to-Date: With market trends, competitor offerings, and client feedback. Ask your existing customers what objections they had when they were first considering your product or service, and use that information to develop tailored responses. Look for patterns in the objections you receive and focus on addressing the most common ones.
- Separate Good & Bad Prospects: Not every lead is a good fit for your product or service, and it’s crucial to focus on high-potential prospects who are most likely to convert into customers. When you identify that a prospect is not a good fit, part ways gracefully and focus your energy on higher-potential leads.
- Develop Tailored Responses: Do your homework and you’ll be better equipped to handle objections, build trust with prospects, and close more deals.
Building Trust with Prospects
Building trust is essential in overcoming sales objections and closing deals. Prospects are more likely to buy from salespeople they trust, and building trust takes time and effort.
- Be transparent and authentic in all communications. This includes being honest about the limitations of your product or service.
- Demonstrate a deep understanding of your prospect’s needs and goals & show them you are invested in their success.
- Be a reliable source of information and support.
- Never make promises that you can’t keep.
- Always follow through on your commitments.
Companies can also cultivate trust by establishing a strong brand identity and reputation. In fact, establishing a positive brand image online is just as crucial as delivering high-quality products because the first thing prospects will do is search you on Google and social media.
Setting a Follow-up Plan
When objections cannot be resolved during the initial sales call, it’s important to schedule a follow-up conversation to continue the conversation and work toward a resolution.
- Demonstrate a commitment to resolving the prospect’s concerns.
- Set clear expectations for the follow-up conversation.
- Be proactive in scheduling the meeting, but be flexible and accommodating, offering to reschedule the meeting if necessary.
- During the follow-up conversation, listen actively to the prospect’s concerns and demonstrate a willingness to work with them to find a solution.
By maintaining open lines of communication and showing a commitment to resolving their concerns, you can build trust and demonstrate your value as a partner. Ultimately, this can help you close more deals and build stronger relationships with your prospects.
Continuously Improving Objection Handling Skills
Successfully resolving sales objections is a continuous learning process. Even the most experienced sales reps can benefit from ongoing skill development and learning from past experiences.
To do this you need to first track your performance in addressing sales objections, so you can identify areas for improvement.
- Review past sales conversations and identify common objections that arise.
- Take note of which objections you successfully handled and which ones proved more challenging.
- Reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and look for patterns or trends in your approach.
- Learn from your peers.
- Share best practices within your sales team.
- Seek feedback from colleagues who have successfully navigated objections in the past.
- Be open to new techniques and approaches.
- Attend training sessions, read industry publications, and seek out mentorship opportunities to continue learning.
- By continually refining your skills and staying up to date on the latest trends and best practices, you can become an even more effective sales rep.
How to Apply These Methods in Your Next Sales Call (Examples)
Before the Sales Call
Preparing for a sales call is critical to success. Use the BANT criteria to research the company and the prospect in advance, and prepare tailored responses to common objections you are anticipating.
- Identify the decision-makers and stakeholders involved in the buying process.
- Research the company’s history, industry, and competitors.
- Review the prospect’s online presence and any social media activity.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask during the call that will help you understand the prospect’s needs and concerns.
During the Sales Call
Use the LAER framework:
- Listen: Pay attention to the prospect’s concerns and ask clarifying questions.
- Acknowledge: Empathize with the prospect’s concerns and acknowledge their perspective. Use phrases like “I understand why you feel that way” or “That’s a valid point.”
- Explore: Ask open-ended questions to explore the root cause of the prospect’s objections. For example, “Can you tell me more about why that is a concern for you?”
- Respond: Provide a tailored response that addresses the prospect’s concerns and showcases the unique value proposition of your product or service. Use language that focuses on the benefits the prospect will receive, such as “Our product can save you time and increase your efficiency.”
Overcoming Common Objections
Responding to sales objections effectively requires a tailored response that addresses the prospect’s concerns.
- Price: Emphasize the value of the product or service and demonstrate how it can positively impact the prospect’s business. Provide payment plan options to make it more affordable.
- Budget: Help the prospect see the long-term ROI of the product or service and how it can positively impact their business. Offer flexible solutions that fit within their budget.
- Competitors: Showcase your USPs and provide case studies or testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Timing: Emphasize the urgency of the prospect’s need and the potential risks of delaying their decision. Provide a clear timeline for implementation.
Closing the Deal
After successfully handling objections, it’s time to close the deal. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Confirm the prospect’s decision and ensure they feel confident in their choice.
- Schedule a follow-up conversation to address any remaining concerns or questions.
- Set expectations for next steps and provide a clear timeline for implementation.
After the Sales Call
Reflecting on the sales call can help identify areas for improvement and refine your skills for responding to sales objections in the future.
- Track your performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Seek feedback from colleagues or managers to gain different perspectives.
- Continuously learn and improve your skills through ongoing training and practice.
Additional Resources and Tools for Objection Handling
Online Platforms & Classes
- HubSpot CRM – a customer relationship management tool that includes a built-in sales pipeline and objection-tracking features.
- Gong – a conversation analytics platform that provides insights into sales objections performance and helps sales teams improve their skills.
- Salesforce – a popular CRM tool that includes objection tracking and management features.
- Chorus.ai – a conversation intelligence platform that records and transcribes sales calls, providing insights into objection handling and sales performance.
- Pipedrive – a CRM tool that offers sales objection tracking and management features, as well as customizable sales pipelines and reporting.
- Objection.co – an objection handling software that provides customized responses and insights into objection handling performance.
By mastering the art of resolving sales objections, you can streamline your sales process, shorten sales cycles, and focus more time on high-value prospects.
Throughout this article, we’ve explored a variety of effective techniques and strategies for handling objections, including the BANT and LAER frameworks, demonstrating value, building trust, and setting follow-up dates.
We’ve also discussed the importance of ongoing skill development and learning from past experiences to continuously refine your objection-handling abilities.
Remember, preparation and research before a sales call is crucial, as is the ability to actively listen, acknowledge, explore, and respond to objections during the call.
Remember to maintain a growth mindset and always strive for continuous improvement! If you invest time and effort in finessing your skills, no sales objection will stand a chance.