Top 5 Tips to Overcome Sales Objections
Objections are a natural part of the selling process and they come during all stages of the sale. If there’s one guarantee in sales it’s that you will encounter objections.
While it’s normal to wish this wasn’t so, the truth is objections are vital to the sales process. If a sales rep can successfully answer and overcome all objections, then the sale will continue to move forward to the close. An objection is an opportunity, not an obstacle.
Some sales reps dread objections, but they are not usually the top performers. Top sales performers embrace objections, rather than becoming unnerved by them. The good news is this is a skill that can be taught and coached.
The following are our top five tips for handling objections successfully:
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. If you’re not expecting an objection and you haven’t practiced your response to it, then odds are you’re not going to fare well when it’s thrown at you. Preparation is enormously important. It’s akin to how a football team learns all the different plays so they can respond in real time during a game. A football team that doesn’t learn its plays doesn’t win the game.
- Responses Are Dependent on the Stage of the Sale. How you handle a particular objection during the initial cold call should vary greatly from how you handle it during the close, and anywhere in between. For instance, if a prospect objects that the timing is not right to change vendors during your first cold call, your response might be something like, “I completely understand. Timing is everything. But, I always find it’s hard to know the best timing without understanding exactly how the switch would benefit your company. Would you like to schedule a short webinar with me to learn more about what we offer and how we can help increase your bottom line?” This, however, is not at all what you would say to a prospect who raises that objection later down the line when you’re nearing the close. At that point, it would be best to engage in a dialog with the prospect to better clarify why exactly the timing is off so you can more accurately address the issue.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. This tip is closely related to tip #1, but it’s not the same. If preparation is about knowing what’s coming ahead, then practice is about committing it to memory. A good analogy for this would be how an actor prepares for a performance. He/she rehearses over and over, practicing his lines forwards and backwards so that he knows them without thinking. By the time he gets to the performance, his lines are so ingrained in him that he is freed up to focus on being present and responding to what the other actors in the play are giving him. In the same vein, a sales rep who practices his responses to objections until they are ingrained in him is then able to listen more fully and respond more appropriately to any objection thrown his way.
- Take a deep breath. Nerves are a killer when handling objections. One of the best things a sales rep can do when a prospect objects is to take a beat before responding. In a recent study by Gong Labs, they found that top sales performers paused 5x longer than the average upon hearing an objection. This deep breath pause enables them to slow down enough to think more clearly and handle the objection more effectively. (https://www.gong.io/blog/handling-sales-objections/)
- Have a conversation. When encountering an objection, the knee-jerk response is to immediately launch into a monologue of all the responses you’ve prepared for that objection. But, the best sales reps don’t do that. They have a conversation instead, asking questions to help clarify the true nature of the objection so they can then offer the best response to it.