Overcoming Sales Objections

business people saying no

Nobody likes acknowledging it. Everybody deals with it. Yes, you guessed it—we’re talking about sales objections. Those annoying, niggling little questions that come up as an inevitable part of every single sales process, no matter how enthusiastic the prospect or initially promising the negotiation. 

Put simply, sales objections are barriers that stand in the way between a sales rep and a closed, signed-on-the-dotted-line deal. They can take a number of different forms, from concrete concerns related to price or product fit to more abstract issues related to concepts like timing. Often, it’s the customer’s way of expressing uncertainty or seeking more information, and can sometimes even be a way to test the salesperson, especially if they’re already considering offers from competitors. 

But despite how unpleasant they are to come face-to-face with, sales objections actually present a fantastic opportunity for a well-equipped salesperson to demonstrate their knowledge of their product and their understanding of their customer’s needs. If you can learn to handle them gracefully, effectively, and without getting upset, you’ll be setting yourself up for next-level sales success throughout the course of your career. 

That’s why today’s article focuses on how to overcome objections in sales, whether that’s in person or over a call, and how to turn potential barriers into opportunities for deeper engagement and, ideally, a successful sale.

Types of Sales Objections

There are as many different kinds of sales objections as there are types of customers, but broadly speaking, it’s possible to break the sea of potential problem areas into four main categories: price, need, trust, and urgency.

Each type of objection comes with its own set of challenges, and so a nuanced approach to each one is required in order to address them effectively.

Price Objections

By far the most common sales objection. Concerns over price are concrete issues for which there’s often no easy solution. After all, a product costs what it costs, and while there’s often some wriggle room as far as offering a discount goes, there’s a limit to how much the price is actually going to change.

Presented like that, it can seem like there’s nothing to be done about most price complaints. But the trick to overcoming this particular sales objection is understanding that it’s often a proxy for other underlying concerns. The most common of these is perceived value. People have no problem paying for a product they consider fair value, but if they think they’re overpaying, they’ll be less likely to convert. 

If a customer thinks a product is priced too highly, chances are you haven’t managed to sell them on its value, so the solution lies in being able to increase the perceived value of the product and, in doing so, reduce the distance between the perceived value and the actual price itself.

Budgetary concerns are another common form price objections take. There’s less room to manoeuvre when this is the case—they either have the room in their budget or they don’t, and there’s not a whole lot you can do to fix it. Still, by increasing the perceived value of the product, you might just be able to get them to find some space in the budget. It’s always worth a try.

Need Objections

It’s incredibly common for prospects to claim they don’t actually need your product or service. If you’re already on a call with them, chances are this isn’t the whole truth, or they wouldn’t have wasted their time and energy. So what’s really going on?

It’s vital to dig deeper when you’re trying to overcome this sales objection, aiming to understand their current pain points in more detail and why the solutions they currently have aren’t doing the trick. 

Sometimes, they might’ve forgotten just how big a deal the pain point actually is, or how inadequate the current solution has proven to be, and all it takes is a reminder. 

Trust Objections

Broadly speaking, trust objections are related to a lack of confidence in your product, your company, or even in you as a salesperson. There’s no need to take it personally. It’s just a part of life in the fast-moving sales world, after all. But it’s going to be impossible to overcome this sales objection without fixing the problem, since nobody wants to buy something from somebody they don’t trust.

The best way to create trust if it seems shaky is by building credibility. The good news is there are a few different ways to go about doing this. Testimonials and case studies can provide strong social proof that you and your company know what you’re talking about and have been able to deliver positive outcomes to other customers in the past. The more data you can include, the better. Nothing says ‘trustworthy’ quite like a barrage of cold, hard metrics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt your product or service works.

Another good way to build credibility is by demonstrating a deep knowledge of your customer’s industry, current situation, and the pain points they’re dealing with. This can even work to solve a lack of trust in you as an individual, by reframing you as an expert in case they were doubting your experience and reaffirming that you’re the right person for the deal.

Urgency Objections

Urgency objections are the bane of every sales representative’s professional existence. We’ve all been there. Everything’s going great, the product fits, the prospect seems enthusiastic on the call—but they just see no immediate reason to act. ‘Let me get back to you next week,’ is a line you’ve probably heard more times than you care to think about. More often than not, allowing space only serves to harm a deal in progress by giving the prospect more time to doubt the value of the deal.

There’s only one way to overcome an urgency sales objection, and that is, unsurprisingly, to create a sense of urgency. It’s important to be careful about how you go about this, however. Resorting to obvious pressure tactics isn’t going to make the prospect convert on the spot, and is in fact much more likely to make them feel uncomfortable and like they don’t quite trust the professional relationship you’ve been cultivating this far. 

Instead, focus on highlighting the costs of inaction and the benefits of what you’re providing, drilling down into their pain points and subtly reinforcing that the more time they spend without your solution, the trickier their situation is going to become.

Sales negotiation

Wider Strategies for Overcoming Sales Objections

Now that you’ve got a rough overview of the most common kinds of sales concerns prospects raise, and a brief explanation of how to overcome these sales objections, let’s go through some of the real-world elements of how to put it all into practice. 

At its core, the practical aspect of overcoming sales objections comes down to a few key concepts: active listening, clarifying questions, and addressing and reframing concerns.

Active Listening and Empathy

Active listening shouldn’t be confused with interrupting. Rather, listen calmly to everything the prospect has to say until you feel they’ve said their piece, taking notes if you can of specific points to bring up in your response and prodding gently here and there where it feels appropriate. Once you get the sense that they’ve voiced their concerns the way they want to, it’s time to address those issues. And when you’re handling the objections, it’s always a good idea to proceed from a place of empathy.

Acknowledge their issues, validate their feelings, and show that you’re genuinely interested in understanding their perspective, if possible referencing particular issues they mentioned during their objection. By making the customer feel heard, you’ll be building trust from the very first word, helping to reframe you as a part of the problem and instead as the potential solution to their concerns. 

Clarification Questions

Ask open-ended questions to clarify the objection and delve deeper into the underlying issues that are contributing to it. 

This doesn’t just give you more information to work with—it also frames the conversation in the context of solving a problem, rather than simply talking over each other. This subtle but powerful psychological change could make all the difference when it comes to finally bringing the deal over the line.

Addressing And Reframing Concerns

As you get into the nitty-gritty of the objections themselves, keep transparency at the forefront of your mind. Address each objection directly and honestly, providing clear, concise information and reassurance along the way, without getting bogged down in jargon or unnecessary waffle. 

Reframing the objections by aligning your product’s benefits with their specific needs and concerns is another effective technique for further reaffirming that you’ve got the solution to the challenge they’re facing.

Overcoming sales objections is a fundamental aspect of being an effective salesperson that, when studied and implemented correctly, will dramatically increase your sales outcomes. By understanding the most common types of objections, keeping a strategic overview in mind as you set about addressing them, and working from a place of empathy and genuine interest, you stand a great chance at breaking past these barriers and dragging the struggling deal over the finish line.

Sometimes, however, it just won’t work out and the deal will collapse. That’s a part of life as a salesperson. All you can do is study the process, note down any potential areas for improvement from your end, and try again the next time. At the end of the day, sales is like anything else: the only way to improve is by practicing, learning from your mistakes, and practicing some more.