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August 4, 2020

Getting over the Objection Hurdles

Most salespeople dread objections. Objections from prospects that typically surface toward the end of the sales process can feel like a roadblock to success. Although you may see objections as signs that your prospect is not going to move forward to purchase your solution, try to shift your perspective. Objections are often a request for more information or additional clarity on how you might be able to best work together. In fact, the best way to insure there are no roadblocks, is to intentionally uncover possible objections early in the sales process. This of course runs parallel to qualifying and requalifying the prospect throughout all conversations.

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Uncover Objections to Move Closer to a Sale

If a prospect has an objection, it has to be raised or you will likely lose the sale and not know why. Answering and addressing objections allow you to deepen your understanding of the prospect’s point of view. It’s better to effectively uncover any objections early in the sales process; this gives you the opportunity to discuss, reframe, and address the issues. As a result, you are moving closer to a sale. So, don’t back away from objections, merely think of them as clarifications. This post will look at the common types of sales objections and offer a review of how to handle them.

First, Should they Buy?

If an objection surfaces at the end of the sales cycle, it often can be traced to a missed element in what should be key to qualifying – that is, do they have a reason to buy? When your prospect is unqualified or has not acknowledged a need, no amount of objection handling will fix their position that they see no value to consider your solution. In ValueSelling Associates parlance, we talk about creating a VisionMatch™ -- this ensures that you and your prospect are on the same page in terms of a potential solution for their problems. Without a joint understanding of the prospect’s need and requirements, it doesn’t make sense to move forward with the opportunity.

Common Objections: Value, Power, and Plan

Once your prospect is qualified, you’ll most likely face objections in these three categories:

  1. Value - With value-based objections, the prospect is focused on the question, “Is it worth it?” This question often involves price and perceived value to the organization. Naturally, the more convinced your buyer is about the solution’s value, the fewer price objections you’ll face. Typical objections could include:
    1. Your price is too high.
    2. We’re doing OK with our current solution.
    3. I’m already in a contract with another company.

  2. Decision Authority - With power-based objections, prospects focus on the question “Can I buy?” This is where organizational politics and roles come in. You may hear objections such as:
    1. My manager won’t approve this.
    2. I’m only one of several people involved in this decision.
    3. I’m convinced, but I’m not in charge of the budget.

  3. Timing - With plan-based objections, your prospect is focused on “When will I buy?” Although they may be convinced your solution is a good one for them, timing and priorities need to be considered. Objections will come in the form of pushback such as:
    1. I’m too busy to move forward with this right now.
    2. This doesn’t fit into the current year’s plan.
    3. Can we revisit this next quarter?

Objection Handling

ValueSelling Associates has a specific objection handling framework that applies across different types of objections. Here are the five steps to handle objections, albeit, at a very top level.

  1. Attitude – Have a positive attitude and work on solving the issue together. Remember, objections often surface when a prospect needs more information or clarity.
  2. Clarify – Fully understand the objection and the “why” behind it.
  3. Diagnose – Is your prospect unclear how you might solve problem? Use the Qualified Prospect Formula® to demonstrate your solution’s value.
  4. Trial close – We sometimes call this the “sharp angle close.” Isolate the objections. Is this the only question or are there others? Objections can also come up as a negotiation tactic, so try to surface all objections now.
  5. Address – Address the objections through education, reconfirmation, or clarification while assuring your prospect that their decision is a good one.

In closing, realize that effective objection handling is a skill set you can practice and reinforce with sales training and coaching. Different organizations have different levels of sophistication in handling objections, with the best providing both training and tools such as “battle cards” to help you overcome common objections. Prepare yourself and clear the hurdle of sales objections by being confident and prepared to clarify issues and address them head on.

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