Insights

The Breakthrough Guide to Objection Handling

August 8, 2019
The Breakthrough Guide to Objection Handling

Objection handling is a normal part of buying and selling. In fact, objections enable buying!

As a buyer, you want to make sure you’re investing in a product that’ll actually solve your problem. So naturally, you want to ask good questions and raise any concerns you may have!

Unfortunately, certain sellers see objection handling as an obstacle rather than opportunity. They fear rejection or radio silence.

But if sellers change their mind-set on the matter, they’ll be able to see objections for what they really are; opportunities for buyer-seller relationship growth!

What is Objection Handling?

Objection handling occurs when the seller alleviates their prospect’s concerns.

In fact, the best objection handling process for sales reps ensures that prospects are comfortable with the idea of buying from them.

It’s all about enabling buying and discovery-based selling.

As a seller, you want your prospect to come to their own conclusion. You’re not trying to pressure them into making a decision.

Instead, you’re trying to see whether they’re a good fit for your solution. If so, your objective is to gently guide them towards that discovery.

Think of this when crafting your response to common customer objections.

How are Objections Opportunities?

If your prospect chooses to share an objection that they have, they’re inviting you to participate in an honest conversation.

That conversation is the starting point of the objection handling process. They've already broken the ice for you!

So, how could an objection be an opportunity? Read on to find out:

Does this story sound familiar?

Have you ever engaged in a phone call with a prospect who seemed to be very interested in your product, only to find out that they no longer thought you were the “right fit” or that they went completely radio silent?

And, they probably didn't give you the chance to help them discover the benefits of your solution.

The question is, why are sales people so threatened by objections?

Frankly, if a prospect shares an objection with you, you have the upper-hand. You can determine what their pain-point might be and knowledge is power!

If they don't offer an objection, you might miss the opportunity to position yourself as the ultimate solution-provider.

Let your internal champions shine.

You could be conversing with someone who already sees the benefits of your product or solution, but isn't a decision maker.

Note that they still have access to information presented at company meetings, which can indicate other objections your prospective client might express down the line.

If you work closely with this individual, you’ll be able to discover what it'll take to close the deal.

Fill the role of a consultative partner.

The art of handling objections involves filling the role of a consultative partner.

It’s not all about having immediate responses to every objection. It’s about asking good questions to learn more about your prospect’s specific problem.

Exercises for Objection Handling:

1. Active Listening

What is Active Listening and Why is it Important in Objection Handling?

To handle objections accordingly, you must become an active listener. Why? Well, being a good listener in sales sets you apart.

Active listening requires that you remain attentive to what the other person is saying throughout the conversation by asking clarifying questions and tuning into their feelings, body language, or phrasing.

Another term for active listening is empathic listening. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, provides a great template for effective empathic listening in his book:

  1. Mimic the content: repeat what the other party just said.
  2. Rephrase the content: tell the same story, but in your own words.
  3. Reflect on feelings: focus on the emotions that lie behind what is told, not on the words that try to express these emotions.
  4. Rephrase the content and reflect the feeling: this is a combination of the second and third form of empathic listening. It shows that you are really listening and understand what message lies behind the words.

In a selling context, active listening moves your prospects from an intellectual grounding to an emotional grounding. This is important because people buy emotionally before rationalizing their decisions intellectually.

Active listening is a great exercise for sales training events and workshops.

Check out this video from one of our former sales training events where Charles, our CEO, implemented an active listening activity. .

2. Identifying Common Objections

Through our experience with scoping calls and one-on-one sales trainings, we’ve discovered that there are 5 types of common objections most salespeople experience.

Each objection connects to an underlying belief your prospect has regarding your solution or the consequences of changing their process.

Handling Objections

The first step to overcoming objections is to identify the most common objections you receive and group them according to the categories above.

One exercise you could do to accomplish this would be to gather your colleagues and brainstorm the top 10-20 common objections you all receive, then come up with best practice responses for those objections.

Objection Handling: Crafting Powerful Responses

Having the ability to overcome objections with strategic responses is a powerful skill that sets top performers apart from the pack.

Your powerful response should produce the following results:

Your prospect should…

  • Understand the value of your product or service and how it relates to them.
  • Understand how you solve or prevent the problem they face (if applicable).
  • Feel comfortable and able to speak freely with you.

Powerful responses also correspond to the common sales objection categories listed above.

1. Determine value/ROI

The objection paired with this response doesn’t actually have anything to do with cost. It's all about demonstrating value.

Instead of comparing yourself dollar-for-dollar with your competitor, acknowledge the prospect’s relationship with their current vendor positively. Then, ask probing questions.

For example, “I’m happy to hear that! Could you tell me what you like about working with them?” or “What do you typically discuss in your monthly progress meetings with your provider?” That can lead to, “Oh, you don’t have monthly progress meetings? We make those a priority…” which can lead to, “Here are a few of the topics we cover with our clients…”

Dealing with pricing complaints can seem daunting at first. But, if you know your product's value and ask the right questions, I guarantee you'll be able to overcome those obstacles!

2. Establish Urgency

One of the most common sales objections isn’t a direct objection at all – it’s a delay.

Although you can’t expect to change your prospect’s mind immediately, you can plant seeds by demonstrating your value and pinpointing how your solution is a priority.

Reluctant buyers need a little push, so keep the conversation open, ask more questions, and set-up subsequent meetings to maintain your relationship.

3. Demonstrate Credibility Using Success Stories

If you’re a small fish in a big pond, one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate credibility is by bringing success stories to the table.

Success stories highlight your value and credibility. They should address a problem your prospect has in common with a former client, the solution you provided and the concrete results of your work.

The more specific, the better – “reduced waste by 70%” is stronger than “dramatically reduced waste.”

A great way to gather multiple success stories is with our tool, the Problem/Opportunity Matrix.

CTA: Problem Solving - Build a Problem Opportunity Matrix

4. Probe for Pain

Open-ended questions uncover how a change in approach, a new product, or a new service might affect your buyer on a personal level.

Questions like, “How would a failure to reduce waste impact your job?” followed by “How would this affect you on a personal level?” may reveal – to both you and your buyer – hidden emotional pains that can prompt greater interest in your solution.

5. Set up next steps/champion

Your contact may not be the decision maker, but that doesn’t mean you should think of a conversation with him or her as a waste of your time.

Be respectful, and acknowledge the value of your contact’s input. Develop a personal connection and nudge them to introduce you up to decision makers. And above all, don’t leave the conversation with your contact saying, “I’ll look into it and get back to you.”

Always set up a next-step meeting while you’re still on the phone, ideally to meet someone higher up the food chain.

Treat your contact as your internal champion, and give them any information they might need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Remember that overcoming an objection doesn’t mean that the sale is a done-deal.

Often, you’re simply planting a seed and watching it grow.

Establishing trust positions you as a problem-solver. And, you’ll improve your own sales process because not every buyer is the right fit for your solution!

Keep in mind that the goal isn’t to close on every sale—it’s to close on every one of the right sales.

Videos on Objection Handling

As sales professionals, sometimes we need a little more inspiration than what we can get from a list of common objections and responses.

Use these videos to help you handle sales objections or for a healthy dose of inspiration:

1. Own Your Behaviors, Master Your Communication, Determine Your Success | Louise Evans | TEDxGenova

In this Ted Talk, Louise Evans discusses the importance of our own thoughts and how they decide our success. The choices we make and the behaviors we choose make a direct impact in in our lives.

In her Ted Talk, she uses the example of taking her new partner's daughter out for a night of bonding. At one point, she looks over to find her acquaintance on her iPhone, totally distant to the jazz show Louise was so excited to bring her to.

In this moment, Louise described 5 different ways she could have reacted to this situation. The first is judging her and being angry that she is on her phone. The second is self doubt and panic that this night was a horrible idea. In the Ted Talk, she goes down the line of emotions from anger to curiosity until her partner's daughter speaks up.

It turns out she wasn't distracted on her phone, she was looking up the history of the jazz band they were watching!

In terms of Ted Talks for handling objections in sales, this one speaks to the mindset you need in order to see objections as opportunities. Louise automatically thought being on a phone as being a negative. When in reality, her partner's daughter being on the phone was positive.

In sales, prospects will behave in ways that may make you uncomfortable or insecure. But, if you have confidence in yourself and your product, you will be able to work past any objection.

2. What I learned from 100 days of rejection | Jia Jiang

In this Ted Talk, Jia Jiang talks about the importance of perseverance in the face of rejection. In sales, we all know the feeling of rejection.

Jia talks about his discovery of “rejection therapy.” Rejection Therapy is meant to help you build up an immunity to rejection by prompting you to ask for things that will definitely lead to a rejection. Jia followed this program for 100 days.

The reason sales professionals don't like objections is because they share a close relation to rejections. Rejections make us want to run away from whatever is causing it! In this Ted Talk, Jia illustrates how he discovered that if you don't run from a rejection, you can actually turn a no into a yes. (Even for the most ridiculous requests.)

Ultimately, sales people have to treat objections the same way. You can't beat around the bush and you can't ignore an objection. Instead, you must discovery why the prospect has the objection in the first place.

3. The skill of self confidence | Dr. Ivan Joseph | TEDxRyersonU

In this Ted Talk, Dr. Ivan Joseph talks about the importance of confidence. He states, that with confidence, we can accomplish anything. To achieve confidence, the most important thing is to stop negative self-talk. This goes for things we say about ourselves and things we think about ourselves.

He states that we are critical by the nature of what we do.

eBook – Handling Objections: The Art of Powerful Responses

If you want to learn more about common objections, responding without being too pushy, and more, check out our eBook on Handling Objections:

Handling Objections
The Art of Powerful Responses
Download Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.