How to Prevent Unnecessary Sales Objections
No matter how good you're at selling at some point in the sales process, you'll get some objections. Common objections we all hear include price, quality issues, competitive comparisons, or concerns about terms and conditions of the sale.
Good salespeople know how to “overcome” these objections. But outstanding sales professionals can prevent objections in the first place.
Consider these common examples of objections that you may have encountered.
- “We don’t have the budget for this initiative right now. Call me again next quarter.”
- “What we’re using now works. Why would we change?”
- “We have too many other competing priorities.”
Now ask yourself which examples are preventable and which are unavoidable and why? There are no right or wrong answers. Your goal is to focus on your selling to the extent you generate unnecessary objections.
Can you avoid some of these objections? The answer is yes.
Many objections arise not because of “what you're selling” but because of “how you're selling.”
You're talking too much about features, not listening to the buyer, and not asking enough discovery questions to uncover their needs.
If a salesperson presented you with features that didn't solve your problems, how would you react? In fact, the more you learn about features you're not interested in, the more concerns you'll have about the price.
Also unless the salesperson can relate those features to your stated needs, the more concerns you'll have about functional or implementation issues.
To prevent these type of objections, do a better job uncovering and developing buyer needs. Then help the buyer see the how your product can address those needs
Let’s look more at the first point – uncovering and developing buyer needs. The reason why asking questions, and active listening, is so important. Top salespeople keep asking questions until they understand the buyer’s needs. And, they listen carefully to what the buyer is saying.
Second, top salespeople talk about their capabilities in a way that helps buyers make the connection between their needs and the product. They sell on value, and you can’t sell value by only focusing on product features.
Features have no inherent value to the buyer. Buyers value features when they address a need that matters to that buyer. If the buyer doesn't see the connection between their needs and what you propose, they'll not see the value of your solution. The buyer’s likely reaction—of course—is a price objection.
Let’s turn to a second frequent mistake. The sales person fails to handle an objection caused by a company policy, technology limitation, or regulatory issue.
For example, you're selling a software application, and you know the buyer will need your application to integrate with his accounting system. Assume that early in the sales process you determine that your application doesn’t integrate with the buyer’s accounting system.
So, what should you do? At the beginning of the sales cycle start to develop the value of your solution. Since you know the buyer will bring up the need and object that you can’t do what they want, it's a good idea for you to mention the problem before the buyer does. By bringing the issue up first, you can explore alternatives together. If the objection comes up at the end of the sales cycle, the buyer may feel deceived. Plus, at the end of the sales cycle, there is little time left to explore alternatives.
Even if you have done an excellent job uncovering the buyer’s needs, and show how your product addresses those needs, objections can still arise during a sales call. The key is recognizing that many objections are predictable, so know what they are and rehearse how to handle them. That way you'll be more comfortable handling them.
For example, if you sell a product that's priced higher than the competition, understand your key points of competitive differentiation. Practice making your case, whether that means discussing better quality, lower total cost of ownership, or more innovative features.
No one likes getting sales objections. Objections can slow down your sales momentum and build a barrier between you and the buyer. Before your next sales call, think about how you can sell differently to prevent objections, and practice handling common objections.
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.