Inbound Marketing + Sales Blog

September 13, 2019

Objection Handling: Uncover Underlying Problems and Close the Sale

4 min read

Written by: Heather Chevalley  |  Share:

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Objection handling is what differentiates the top sales reps from the worst sales reps. 

When a prospect brings up objections during the sales process, it’s an indication that you haven’t clearly explained your value proposition. Objections are a sign that prospects are uncertain about their final decision.

However, you can’t just take an objection at face value because objections are typically masking underlying doubts. Therefore, in order to resolve the objection, you have to dig deeper and address the root cause.

Get to the “Why”

When you receive an objection, you need to ask two or three follow-up questions to identify the area of mistrust. When doing this, pose the objection back to them.

For example, if someone has an objection to the term-length, ask what’s stopping them from committing to a term with you. 

There’s a reason they’re voicing that objection that they’re not telling you. It’s not just the length of the term — maybe they’ve had a bad experience with a company like yours in the past or maybe they’re not fully bought in on your solution. 

That underlying problem they’re not telling you is what needs to be resolved in order to move forward. If you only address the surface-level objection, you won’t get the sale.

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How to Handle Objections

Don’t answer, ask

When you get an objection, don’t feel like you need to answer a question. In fact, only answering their questions will be detrimental to the success of the sale. You need to retain control of the conversation.

Asking questions to unearth the root cause of the objection will provide you with actionable insight for future conversations and prevent the prospect from taking the lead in your sale. 

Use your resources

Being familiar with your company’s customers and offerings will enable you to address objections in a meaningful way. In fact, your knowledge of your company, clients and track record is a tool bag you can dig into every time an objection is raised.

Once you get to the underlying problem, you can share examples of how your company has solved that problem for other companies and supply the prospect with case studies or references to reinforce the point you’re making. 

Don’t be afraid

People are afraid of objections, but you shouldn’t be. They’re an opportunity to continue to show and provide value. When you address the root cause of an objection, you’re proving that your company can provide a real solution to the prospect’s challenge.

6 Common Objections and How to Address Them

If you keep receiving the same objections, you need to look at your sales process to identify what skills you need to improve on to keep that objection from continuously coming up. 

Here are six common objections that you could arise during your sales conversations:

Price

If you sufficiently sold the value of your solution in the sales process, there shouldn’t be any objections over price. Concerns over pricing typically stem from the prospect not understanding how much your solution will help them.

If the pricing concern stems from budgetary restrictions, that indicates a flaw in your discovery process. Missing the mark on affordability at the end indicates you didn’t ask enough questions about their budget up-front.

Prospects might not want to share the specifics of their budget, but you need to push enough to understand whether or not they can afford what your selling. For example, you could say “this is the average cost of an engagement with our company. Is that in line with your budget?” Then you can tailor the proposal you present to them based on how tight their budget is. 

Terms

Objections to terms typically stem from mistrust. There are always companies that have been burned by a vendor that does something similar to you. Your company is usually not the first solution they’ve tried, and if they’re trying you it’s probably because they didn’t have a good experience with someone else.

You can combat mistrust with case studies and testimonials from previous clients you’ve worked with along with reviews.

Status quo 

When you’re selling change, prospects might get cold feet and want to stick to the status quo. Underlying motivators could include: fear of the effort making a change requires, belief that too much time has already been invested in current practices or lack of understanding about the potential benefit a change could bring. 

When prospects get hesitant about changing things up, lean into the fact that they’ve been speaking to you. If what they’re currently doing was working, they wouldn’t be looking for alternatives. Instead of letting them focus on the potential downsides of changing, ask them what’s the cost of not changing.

Authority 

If you’ve reached the point in the sales process where you’re presenting potential solutions, and the prospect objects that they don’t have the authority to make a decision, you’ve moved too far with the wrong person. Unless they will be involved in the final decision, you shouldn’t move past the discovery call with a prospect.  If the prospect you’re talking to during the discovery call won’t be the only person you need buy-in from for the sale to go through, you need to identify who those other parties are. 

If there are multiple decision-makers involved, you want to be talking to all of them. Otherwise, you’re relying on your prospect to re-sell your value prop to the other decision-makers involved, and they’ll never do as good of a job as you would. 

Brush off

It’s inevitable that sometimes a prospect will stop responding to you. When you’re working with companies that are growing rapidly, things will change from day to day. People will change jobs.

However, when you do get brushed off, you should do a post-mortem to determine whether there were things you should have done differently. Were you talking to the right person? Were there signs you should have picked up on during the discovery call? Did you convey the value of your offering?

Competitors

Don’t speak badly of your competitors. Instead you should compliment them while emphasizing what makes you different. When you insult another company, it only makes you look mean-spirited. 

If a prospect is trying to pit you against a competitor, take the high road. Point out the areas you excel at and your past successes, and if a competitor's recommendations for a prospect contradict what you believe to be best practices, frame your solutions as grounded in your experience or industry expertise.

The Takeaway

Objections are a good self-reflection tool, and they can always be handled by asking the right questions. 

The root cause of an objection is generally simple, but human nature is to deflect away from the true pain point. Instead of revealing the underlying motivator, people will make an excuse as a way to retain control of the conversation.

When you leave objections unchecked, you’re allowing your prospect to control the sale. When you let the prospect control the sales process, you generally won’t win the sale.

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Topics: Inbound Sales

About The Author

Heather manages new revenue and partnerships at New Breed. With over 12 years of B2B sales experience and more than 8 years working with B2B SaaS companies, she is an expert communicator and excels at managing enterprise-level relationships.

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