Some people say that actual selling only takes place after that initial sales objection – when you hear your first “no” from a prospect. These people might be somewhat sadomasochistic, but they make a good point. If everyone said yes, then sales would be the easiest job in the world and we’d all be driving Porsches and McLarens.
But how do you tell when no really means no in sales?
Some salespeople give up when they hear any kind of objection, while others keep pushing past rejection, despite indicators that it’s never going to be a deal. There are, however, some ways you can test an objection to determine whether or not it’s an objection that can be overcome, or a dead deal walking. Here are some tips:
1. The “I’m just gathering information” objection
When you encounter this objection, it’s important to take a step back and think about where in the sales process you are. If you haven’t qualified the prospect yet, or made your pitch, then there’s still a chance to overcome this objection. In many cases, this isn’t even really an objection but an automatic response that many people have to a salesperson.
The best way to overcome this objection is by asking the prospect questions and then intently listen to your customer‘s answers. If a prospect says that they’re just looking, ask them what they’re looking for. If they tell you that they’re gathering information, follow up with, “what kind of information can I help you find?”
2. The “price” objection
This is one of the most common objections that you’ll encounter from a prospect, and it’s also one that’s very often a deal-breaker. But it’s also important to remember that people react reflexively to pricing, and in many cases will just say that a price is too high without even considering the context. The best way to determine whether or not a pricing objection can be overcome is through research, and open communication. Some sales leaders advocate having a pricing discussion early on to weed out any prospects that are completely out of your price range, while others say that focusing on building value before bringing up price is essential.
To overcome the price objection, you must slow the sales process down and take the focus off the price. Ask questions such as, “Besides the price, is there anything else you have concerns about?” This will allow the prospect to open up and potentially identify any other concerns they may have. Also, put the prospect’s concerns about price in context. The price is high compared to what? What quality and value are the sacrificing if they go with a cheaper option? Address those points and you might close the deal.
3. The “timing” objection
The timing objection is when the prospect tells you that they “are interested, but not at this time,” or to get in contact with them further down the line. This is another objection where you’ll have to push a bit to find out whether or not this is a true objection or the prospect is simply trying to be rid of you. The best way to find out if the prospect actually wants to do business is whether they are willing to provide a timeline and a reason for not moving forward. A vague timing objection is usually a bad sign.
The way to overcome this objection is to build a sense of urgency for the prospect. You can do this by explaining that the current offer won’t be available in the future, or by highlighting the immediate benefits that the prospect will miss out on by not moving forward immediately. At a minimum, you should get a commitment from the prospect for a concrete follow-up appointment. If you can’t get that, then you won’t get the deal.
4. The “competitor” objection
When a prospect says that they’re happy with their existing service or product, or says that they’re getting a better deal somewhere else, this is the competitor objection. While this is one of the trickier objections to overcome, it’s also a great way for you to differentiate yourself from your competition. The great thing about this objection is that if you’re hearing it, then you’re almost definitely in contention for the prospect’s business, because they are almost certainly a buyer and not just wasting time.
The two ways to overcome this objection are by differentiating yourself from the competition, and showing that you provide more value. You do this by explaining what benefits you’re offering that your competitor is not, and how your product is unique. If price is the only thing that matters to the prospect, and you can’t match it, then you’re done. Also try to use this opportunity to introduce examples of other customers who have switched from the competitor’s products to yours, and why they’re happy about it.
5. The “think about it” objection
This objection is when the prospect tells you that they want to “think about it.” To determine whether or not this is an objection or just the prospect trying to get rid of you, you’ll need to probe a bit deeper. Ask what particular aspects of your presentation they need to think about, and ask if there are any other concerns that they have. This will keep the conversation going and might uncover some other issues that the prospect is considering that you can address.
Like the timing objection, to overcome the this objection you’ll want to build a sense of urgency. And, like the timing objection, try to get a next steps commitment from the prospect. This will let you know whether “think about it” was just code word for “leave me alone,” or whether you still have a shot at closing the deal.