When selling, the dream scenario is where your prospect hears about your product or service, immediately wants it, shakes your hand, pays you and you both leave happy. Unfortunately, it rarely goes this smoothly. There are a number of roadblocks that can get in the way, the most common of which is an objection, which is where the prospect has a reason to stop the process. Maybe they’ve decided they don’t want what you’re selling, or maybe they don’t have the budget or the authority to close the deal. This can be disheartening, but it doesn’t mean you should give up.
Let’s take a look at some common objections and how to deal with them.
1. “I don’t need it”
In modern consultative selling, the entire process should begin with a conversation with the prospective buyer. Start by discussing what they need and want, and then move the conversation on to tell them how your products or services can help them. So the conversation shouldn’t progress too far before they say they don’t need it, because you should establish early what their genuine needs are.
This doesn’t mean they’re wrong or they’re lying when they tell you that they don’t need it. If they genuinely don’t need or want it, often it’s better to accept it than to become too pushy. However, you can continue acting as the consultant and ask them what they do think they need. You might discover that you’ve got something else to sell which will suit them better.
2. “I prefer a different one”
You’ve discussed their needs, you’ve told them about your solution to solve their problems and they’re interested. Their only issue is that it doesn’t do it all in the way they’d hoped. Maybe they need it to do three things but it can only do two of them, or maybe it’s just not quite what they had in mind. What can you do?
In some cases like this, your prospect’s objections will come from misunderstanding the product or service’s features – you know it can do the job, but you haven’t explained it clearly enough. Other times they’re completely right, and then the conversation can shift to whether you’re able to adapt some features for them. Many products are unalterable, but many services can be altered slightly to better meet your clients’ needs.
3. “Call me in a few weeks”
This is a common delaying technique, and you should ask how their situation will be different if you speak again in a few weeks. Sometimes it’s just a way for them to end the sale without feeling like they’ve been rude or saying that they’re not interested. However, there are many situations where waiting a few days, weeks or even months will make a difference.
They might have used their budget up for the year and need to wait until they have the money to spend, or they’re in the middle of another big project and don’t want to start with your service until that one’s finished. The key is to keep asking questions to understand their situation and, as much as you reasonably can, fit in around their needs.
4. “It’s too expensive”
Once someone’s convinced they need what you’re selling, and you’ve demonstrated value for money, the price shouldn’t be a big issue. But sometimes your prospect does think the price is too high for what you’re selling, or that it’s good value but still costs more than they can afford. You should also try to recognise whether it’s a genuine issue or if they’re just using it as a tactic to haggle you down.
You should only negotiate on price if you really have to – and only if you have the authority to do so! Once you start allowing your buyers to negotiate, it creates a very different experience for you and for them, especially if your other clients hear you’ve been more flexible to someone else. Before you bring the price down, try other options such as offering credit, spreading out payments or a discount for prompt payment.
5. “I need to check with my boss/partner”
One of the first things you need to establish when attempting to sell to someone is whether or not they have the authority to make a deal. For cold calls, this means being aware of gatekeepers, and for all sales it’s about picking your prospects wisely. Just because someone approaches you first, doesn’t mean you can automatically assume they’re the final decision-maker, they might be researching providers in order to make a recommendation to someone more senior.
If you do come up against this objection, you can ask when they expect to speak to this other person and set another time to talk. You can also ask whether they need any extra information to convince the other person in the decision-making process. You should ensure they have enough information and understanding to enthusiastically sell the idea to someone else.
6. “We’re happy with the current supplier”
Not every sale is going to introduce a new product or service to your buyer, often you’ll discover that they already use something similar to what you sell. This changes the conversation from introducing them to a new solution to explaining why you can do it better.
If your product is near enough the same as what they already have, then your goal is to say how yours is better value, a newer model, easier to use, or whatever your USP is. They’ve been using the other supplier because they’ve served a purpose and filled a need, and they’ll only swap if you can prove you can do that job even better.
The other method is to highlight the ways you’re different. Trying to sell something they already have is difficult, but selling them something new is much easier. They won’t mind overlap if you can prove you’re solving a completely different need.
7. “Send me an email and I’ll get back to you”
There are many different ways to take this, so you’ll need to ask questions to establish what’s going on. Often a comment like this is used as a delaying or blocking technique, but many times it is a genuine request. Some people don’t want to make a quick decision and want time to think it over, and some people compare multiple options before agreeing to buy from any.
It’s important that you follow up with them, but be careful how you do this. If they want time and space to make a decision, and you call and email too often or too soon, you might scare them off. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave it too long and risk them losing interest. If they ask you to send them more information or to follow up again later, ask what information they’d like and when would be a good time to speak. Remember, this stage is about building and developing the relationship between you, so you don’t want to make them uncomfortable by pushing too hard.