You’ve worked hard to create an awesome product. You’ve done your market research on who your best target market is. You’ve designed great marketing materials and practiced your sales pitch 125 times. And you finally landed a meeting with the client you’ve been trying to get face time with for months.
After all this effort, expense and time, it can be completely deflating to hear that one little – but incredibly powerful – word:
While salespeople should expect to face objections from customers, you can go into the conversation better equipped to meet that ‘no’ with responses that will help you maintain a strong position and keep a foot in the door.
Here are the three steps to overcoming customer objections:
1 – Create objection categories
Since there are typically several main issues that recur time and again, you’ll first need to create objection categories. For example:
- No money
- No need
- Poor quality
- Bad timing
- Have another supplier
- Superior says no
- Status quo
2 – Gather examples
Within each of the above categories, write down actual examples of what customers have said to you. For example, “Times are tight and I’m just not sure our budget can swing it” would fall into the No Money category. “Pretty sure my boss is going to say no, because we already have another supplier for this” could fall into the Have Another Supplier category as well the Superior Says No category.
3 – Figure out the ‘why’ behind the ‘no’
You won’t be able to meet objections head on until you can figure out what is the ‘why’ behind the ‘no’. In other words, try to discover the real reason for the customer’s objections. (This is where a Psychology 101 course would come in handy!)
When we dig deeper into the objections we come up with things like the following:
What they’re actually evaluating is whether the product/service is worth the investment. You’ll need to demonstrate the unique value of your product/service, highlighting what differentiates it from the competition and how it will provide concrete value.
Superior says no
What the person may be concerned about here is that they won’t know how to present the new product/service to a busy boss in a way that quickly and definitively demonstrates its value and usefulness. You could help them formulate a few sentences to ‘pitch’ the product/service to their boss and offer them any supporting materials (spec sheets, testimonials, etc.) you can.
When someone says they have no need for a particular product/service, perhaps they don’t quite understand how it works, its value or its usefulness within the context of their industry or specific challenges. Do your homework before you go into the meeting: how has your product/service been successful in addressing some of the same issues with others within their industry/similar company? Go in armed with examples, case studies, and testimonials.
Your prospect might be concerned with what happens if the product doesn’t live up to the expectations you’ve created. In this case, you need to discuss your return policies. For example, you might want to assure them that you offer a hassle-free, money-back guarantee. You could also use this opportunity to focus on certain perks that make your purchasing, re-orders, and returns processes a breeze.
When a prospect says it’s “bad timing” what they could mean is they don’t want to feel pressured into a purchase. While you should make the offer seem somewhat urgent, you should also leave a little room for them to consider what you’ve presented during your sales meeting, how it will fit their current needs, and enough time to come up with any questions or concerns. (Which may very well be any of the ones listed above, in which case you’ll already be prepared to counter those objections!)
Equipped with these insights, you’re now in a better position to address objections with well-formulated counterarguments. Jot down some of these common objections on your template and practice them so they come naturally the next time one of them comes up in a sales call or meeting.
Ultimately, don’t take objections personally. The human brain has been conditioned to react to change or new information with suspicion, hesitation and outright objection. Let the objection happen and then go into sales ninja mode to work over and around those sales roadblocks.