What is objection handling?
An objection in sales is a concern from the buyer that prevents you from moving them further down the sales pipeline.
According to the RAIN Group, a sales objection implies that “a barrier exists between the current situation and what needs to be satisfied before buying from you.”
Objections indicate that the buyer isn’t entirely convinced of the value proposition of your solution, and that’s where objection handling can help.
Sales objection handling is a part of the sales process where the salesperson aims to resolve those barriers and move the deal forward. Here’s how New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink puts it:
“Objection handling is how a salesperson responds to a prospect who voices concerns during the sales process. It is a way of building trust by listening and asking the right questions so that the prospect forms a more favorable opinion of the product on their own.”
Why is objection handling important?
Even with airtight sales processes and pitches, there’s always a possibility of facing objections. However, objections are windows into our prospects’ world and can be overcome.
Moreover, objections aren’t bad. After analyzing 224k+ sales calls in 2020, Clari Copilot discovered that whenever a prospect raised an objection, the win rate went UP by almost 30 percent.
So, objections are opportunities to deepen your understanding of the prospect, gain their trust, and make your value proposition stand out. Therefore, sales teams should anticipate objections, identify them proactively and address them as early as possible in the buying process.
What are the most common sales objections?
The five most common sales objections are centered around:
- Interest: “I don’t need this solution” or “I’m happy with my current setup”
- Trust: “I have never heard of you”
- Budget: “It’s too expensive for us”
- Authority: “I need to check with my manager”
- Timing: “It isn’t important for us right now” or “I need to think about it”
How to overcome sales objections
HubSpot recommends the LAER approach from Carew International to tackle sales objections:
- Listen: Show the prospect that you’re listening to their concerns
- Acknowledge: Let the prospect know that you care about what they’re saying and empathize with their situation
- Explore: Take some time to understand the underlying reasons for the prospect’s objections
- Respond: Offer a recommendation that solves the concerns raised and helps you move the deal forward
Now, let’s see how to overcome the five most commonly raised objections in sales.
When faced with this objection, salespeople either “give up or try some pushy, aggressive way to get through, only to eventually find out it doesn’t work. Over time, this creates frustration, desperation and a cry for help to their manager,” according to sales strategist Ken Baldo.
Overcoming this objection requires you to understand why the prospect doesn’t want change, and ask open-ended questions to understand their needs further. Then, once you see a fit with your solution, use social proof — testimonials, case studies — to highlight your value proposition.
Building a relationship based on trust and mutual respect is the key to handling several objections. If your prospects don't trust you enough to share their trust issues, consider spending some time appraising their underlying issues and business priorities.
HubSpot also recommends emphasizing your organization’s authority and expertise in the industry.
According to Salesforce, when faced with budget-related objections, the “ knee-jerk reaction is to immediately offer a lower price.”
Instead, your objection handling process should focus on exploring ways to demonstrate your value to the prospect by picking specific problems that your solution can fix. Sticking to pricing-related negotiations will end up making the relationship transactional, whereas the goal is to keep the discussions centered around your value.
Another thing to note is that budget-related objections could be temporary. That’s why sales reps should get this piece of information. They should continue nurturing the prospect and do longer follow-ups if it's temporary.
When faced with the possibility of another decision-maker, sales reps should work on bringing all stakeholders on the same page and working with them proactively to get a resolution. This requires being well-versed in pitching the same product to different personas by appealing to their unique requirements.
For timing-related objections, it’s important to find out if the prospect has other underlying business problems or competing priorities. If that’s the case, try to get the prospect to outline these priorities. Otherwise, it’s mostly an attempt at brushing you off, and you should press them to know why they don’t wish to invest in your solution.
If you see an opportunity to show why the prospect shouldn’t wait any longer, you should use it to emphasize your value proposition. Otherwise, you should consider scheduling an appointment at a later date and do regular follow-ups to keep the prospect nurtured.
Objection handling best practices
The best way to handle objections is to prepare for them. Here are five objection handling best practices that can help:
Anticipate sales objections
As mentioned earlier, if the prospect isn’t fully convinced, they will raise objections. That’s why it’s crucial to anticipate the most common objections around pricing, need, urgency, interest, and timing.
Sales managers can develop objection handling techniques and templates for each concern and configure a real-time conversation intelligence tool to offer these as prompts during live customer calls.
Ask follow-up questions
When faced with objections, gathering more information before offering a recommendation is a good idea. In addition, you should ask open-ended follow-up questions to unearth any underlying concerns, trust issues, doubts, etc. and validate them before reiterating your value proposition.
Leverage social proof
Social proof, such as stories of other customers facing similar issues, can help tackle several objections related to trust, urgency, budget, and interest.
For instance, you can share case studies of similar companies cutting costs or increasing revenue, thereby getting a massive ROI using your solution.
You can also share stories of the prospect’s competition and show how they improved their results by incorporating a solution like yours.
Set a specific date and time to follow up
Whenever the prospects ask for more time to think or discuss with their superiors, you should offer them time and space to mull things over. However, it’s essential to set a specific date and time to follow up to avoid letting the deal slip away.
Anticipating objections and developing sales objection handling templates is helpful only if the reps can actively use them during calls.
A conversation intelligence tool can bring up these as cues during live customer conversations, so that your reps never miss an opportunity to take a deal forward. That’s where Clari Copilot can help.
Clari Copilot is a conversation intelligence tool that helps you set up:
- A central repository — call library — of all internal and external calls
- Live contextual cue cards for pivotal call moments
- Automatic call transcripts, summaries, and highlights
- Call scorecards to analyze rep performance
- Visualize all deals in the sales pipeline from a single location
Interested in learning more?