There’s one thing you need to know about sales: The majority of people will say NO to you.
Seems harsh but it’s true.
Customers object to many aspects of our businesses – they object to your marketing material by skimming your cleverly crafted web copy. They object to your customer support with a harsh review on Facebook. They may even object to your product by not renewing their free trial.
The only difference in sales is they are saying NO directly to you, which often feels like a personal attack on your sales skills.
Let’s flip the script. I’m going to reframe sales objections to help you see them in a positive light, and give you an easy-to-follow objection handling script that I personally use to turn around almost ANY sales objection that I hear.
Wait, What? Sales Objections Are Actually Good?
As much as repeatedly hearing “No” can be frustrating, there is an upside to it. Here are three unique opportunities sales objections give you:
Market feedback: You’re probably not going to change your product after 10 sales objections, but if 100 people have given you feedback that your product doesn’t suit them for the same reason, it may be time to look at what you’re offering.
Engagement: In today’s social world, engagement is the golden metric that everyone is striving for:likes, comments, shares. But speaking to someone, hearing what they have to say and having a conversation about it is real engagement (much more than a double tap of a screen).
An opportunity to respond: You client might not have fully understood your original positioning – this is your chance to offer clarity. Hear their concerns and respond to them with empathy (more on that below). You typically don’t get the chance to have that kind of back and forth with an email.
You might not believe it but people are actually kinder than you think. Most sales newbies dread the thought of a sales objection more than anything, but the more you hear them the better you get at accepting them.
The Two Types of Objections
There are two common types of objection and it’s important to differentiate between the two so you can plan your next step.
1. Generic Objections: This is the most common type of objection. It’s the one where you’ve just introduced yourself only to be cut off with “not interested”. These objections are very frustrating as it’s not about your product or service and therefore outside of your control. It also often signals the end of the conversation.
How to Spot a Generic Objection:
I don’t have time
No, all good thanks
Can you send me an email instead?
Pro sales tip:
2. Specific Objections: These objections address specific aspects of your offer – they usually appear further into the sales conversation once the prospect has listened to your offering and considered how you might solve their problems
How to Spot a Specific Objection:
I’m already under contract with another provider
Sorry, too expensive
I don’t see the value in what you are offering
I don’t buy your product
It’s not a good fit for my business
It wouldn’t work for my business because of x.
You often receive specific objections when you are at the pointy end of the sale – you are so close so don’t give up! I’m about to show you a simple method that you can use to handle these kinds of objections.
A Simple Objection Handling Method
There are a few tried and tested ways to handle objections but I find the following method works well because it highlights your expertise. Also, it addresses how the customer is feeling and we know that empathy is the cornerstone of good customer experience.
4 Elements of Good Objection Handling:
Let’s go ahead and dive into each one:
- Empathise: Feel for them. Understand and acknowledge what they are saying.
- Isolate: Is this their only objection or do they have more concerns about your product/service?
- Address: Address the objection and overcome it. If their objection can be resolved would they go ahead? There may be more than one objection so make sure you identify any more that they may be feeling.
- Close: Once all their objections have been addressed, then ask them again – are you happy to go ahead?
Here’s an example of a real objection I received recently:
Customer: “I’m nervous about outsourcing sales because you don’t know our business well enough”
Empathise: “Yes, I totally understand, lots of our clients worried about this too, they found our set- up process really helped them through their concerns”
Isolate: “If I can show you how our training process solves this issue, is there anything else that is concerning you?”
Address: “We offer a full set up process that includes full training – does that seem better for you?”
Close: “Shall we get your set-up session locked in?”
In the end, we did win them as a client. We now have ongoing training to make our team of outsourced sales people feel part of the team and help them to understand the business.
Remember that it’s often the clients that have objections at the start that end up being your most loyal. People who buy blindly are often dissatisfied later and don’t return, whereas customers who object initially are savvy and curious enough to question your offering, and have done their research before purchasing.
Download your FREE printable objection handling script here. Once downloaded you can customise it with your most common objections and write set responses for each. Print them out to have in front of you when you make your calls and handle any objection no sweat.
If you’re still struggling with objection handling, we can help. Book a 15 minute consultation to run through some common objections and we will give you some pointers on how to refine your objection handling. Or if hearing objections are just not your bag, let us take this off your hands completely with our team of star sales people.
About the Author
Jenny White is the Managing Partner of True Potential Sales. After 15 years’ on the front line of sales in IT, recruitment and advertising in the UK and Australia, she decided to put her knowledge to good use and help others improve their sales processes and pipelines. Together with her business partner Chris Hull, they created True Potential Sales. They now have a team of sales people across Australia providing sales expertise and campaigns to small and medium sized businesses. Jenny lives with her husband, Tim and their two small daughters, Tessa and Nina in Helensburgh, Northern Illawarra.