September 26th, 2018 | by

Remember that last sale that you made where you ran into an objection? It’s tough, right? Of course it is.

We all know that selling doesn’t really start until we run into an objection. So that’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s Whiteboard Wednesday.

Objections are something we hate hearing in sales – but if we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that in order to sell effectively, we have to hear objections during a sale cycle. The reason is, objections allow us to get an idea of what our prospect is feeling internally.

Ultimately, the objection itself is really just them trying to rationalize the decision.

And so if we’re not hearing any objections, if everything seems to be going according to plan, they’re lovey dovey and it’s what we call “happy ears” – those are the sale cycles that tend to draw out. Or worse, they fall off the table and we never got an idea of why they went in a different direction.

We’re going to focus on overcoming objections in five steps.

Step 1: Love sales objections

Our first step, we need to learn to love objections, and in fact we have to seek them out.

In order for us to be effective here, getting an objection is a good thing. We want to seek out those objections.

In fact, Gong.io did an interesting study where they found that the longer the sales cycle goes on, the more negative sentiment you should be getting from your prospect. Taking this time helps them rationalize the decision. They’re becoming emotionally invested in the purchase.

So if we’re not getting objections, as a good sales rep, we should start trying to seek them out.

Start laying some common objections that you get from your prospects throughout the sales cycle. That’s going to help them feel like you know what you’re doing. You’ve been down this road, you have their best interest in mind … and it isn’t just all positive.

They should have some concerns in mind, and you should be able to help address them.

Read it: 3 Tips to Overcome Cold-Call Objections

Step 2: Listen and empathize

For our second step, we want to listen, and we need to empathize.

This is a big one.

In order for us to be effective with our objection handling, we can’t just steamroll over the prospect. We have to listen to the objection, and then we have to offer some sort of empathy.

All too often, you’re probably reaching for all those battle cards you have in your arsenal, right?

How your compare to a competitor. How you differentiate. Why your perceived price point is too high, or why that feature that you lack should be minimalized.

The big takeaway here is that we can’t just go straight to the product zone. No vomiting product!

This makes us feel combative, and it makes the prospect feel like you’re minimizing their concerns. Worse yet, if they already have an incumbent vendor and you start to bash that – all you’re doing is attacking their previous decision: They stuck their neck out before, they invested in a solution, and now you’re saying it was the wrong decision.

Attacking the incumbent vendor is not going to go over well.

We really just need to listen to the objection. We need to understand why it’s important to them. We need to offer empathy: “I completely understand. That’s a valid concern. I hear it often. Here’s how I can help you overcome that.”

Read it: Why Didn’t They Buy? A Deep-Dive into Buyer Preferences … and the Implications for Salespeople

Step 3: Ask questions

As we do that, we’ll need to ask questions, and that’s Step 3.

More often than not, the surface objection that we get isn’t the real objection.

For example, “Your price is too high.” That can mean several different things: Your price is too high relative to competitors that I’ve looked at. I haven’t yet understood the value you’re bringing to the table, and why that price point is different.

Or maybe the whole story is just something like: Your price is too high, because we’re in the middle of Q3, I don’t have much money to spend right now, and my budget doesn’t refresh until next year. In that case, it might just be that they’re trying to rationalize a payment term thing.

So the idea here is to ask the right questions, get your prospect to verbalize their objections, and dig deeper to find the real objection.

All too often, the surface objection you’re getting isn’t the main concern. It’s just something for them that’s easy to get off their chest. Your job is to ask the right questions, find the real objection, and then reframe.

Step 4: Reframe the objection

So this is our fourth step: We want to reframe the prospect’s objection, and tell a compelling story around how you’ve helped somebody in this way.

Reframe the way they’re viewing that objection, and show why perhaps it isn’t the right way of thinking, or it shouldn’t be their major concern.

Use “client voice”

One great technique is to use what’s called “client voice.” Tell a compelling story of another prospect that had that same concern, raised a similar objection. Show how you listened to it and how you understood a way to help them.

Walk your prospect through the process: “Here’s the unique ideas that we came up with. Maybe it’ll help you as well.”

And then ultimately the payoff since that prospect eventually made that leap, and invested in your solution. Let’s talk about the return. And the value you’re getting, and the reason why they invested more in your solution. Then another step, and how that difference in investment has been dwarfed by the return they’ve seen.

Step 5: Validate the objection

Lastly, our fifth step here, check the box. We want to validate.

In order for us to fully overcome the objection, we need to take a step back. We need to validate that we heard the objection properly, that we overcame it for prospect, and now that they’re comfortable moving forward with us.

We’re comfortable with the fact that yes, you had this concern, this concern is no longer a concern for you, and we’re at a point where we can move forward.

Now, some additional tips here and pro tips. One thing that we like to do, especially in the validate stage here, is what’s called going for the no.

Go for the “no”

Your prospect might still have this objection. You didn’t do the right thing, you didn’t do a good enough job overcoming the concern, and they sort of still harbor that lingering objection.

5 ways to handle objections in salesWhat we can do here is go for the no. “So John, I completely understand that’s the cost here, and the difference in cost between us and the next best solution out there is $10,000. If you recall what we talked about prior – that you needed to grow sales by 40% – that’s a board mandate.

“Is that something you’re no longer committing to doing? Are you no longer committing to get 40% return for the board and grow sales year over year, due to the $10,000 difference? Should we just call it quits now?”

And the idea here is to get them to say “No, your objection is not a deal breaker.”

This can be done several different ways.

There’s obviously a lot of different scenarios, but one of those ways, especially when it comes to price, is to sort of minimize perhaps the difference in cost, or minimize the investment costs because we’re focused on the total value. Here is what our head of sales, Dave Sill, talks about a lot: emotional intelligence.

We want to be able to reframe and establish this idea of self confidence. You’ve got to get to a point where you’re ready to walk away from this. And this is where sort of that go for the no comes in.

“Look, it’s not what happens to me, if we don’t move forward. It’s what happens to you, if we don’t move forward. Are you okay with status quo, if you don’t invest in our solution? Are you okay with potentially less return by investing in a lesser alternative?”

Own the objection

Selling to CXO - job title prospect insight reportNow, as you do this more and more often, you’re probably going to get to a point where you realize that you’re getting thehttps://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoverOrgVideos same objections all the time. It’s the same three to five objections. You hear it on every call. It doesn’t matter the size of the prospect here.

Now, once you start to get more comfortable overcoming these objections, once you get a handle on what those objections are, you can now own the objection.

Owning the objection gives you the ability to raise it before the prospect has a chance to raise it.

By taking the power away from the prospect owning the objection, you’re now in control. And if you’re not getting objections, this is a great way to own the objection. Put the objection out there for the prospect.

So it might go something like this:

“Hey, it sounds like we’ve got a great fit here. Oftentimes, though, what I hear at this point from prospects is they’re trying to wrap their head around how do we institutionalize this solution? How do we make sure our team uses it? You don’t want to spend $50,000 on something that just becomes shelf ware, right? Is that something that you’re worried about?”

“Yes Steve, it is.”

“Well, great. Look, you know, we have this fantastic customer success team here. You know, investing in your success is something that we’re committed to doing. The last thing we want, especially as a software, as a service solution, is to have this be shelf ware. That’s why our customer support team will train your team…”

So that’s a just a quick example of how that might play out. By owning the objection, by voicing it, and raising it before your prospect has a chance to, you remove their ability to stand behind that objection.

This is where you can be really consultative:

I’m showing that I’ve walked this road, these are some concerns you should have, and here’s how together we’re going to overcome them. We’re going to get you the best-of-breed of platform, and this is going to be a big thing for you.

So with that, these five steps, and a couple of bonus tips here, hopefully you’ve gotten some value today in today’s Whiteboard Wednesday.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel, feel free to drop some comments in the section below.

If you’ve got a great technique, we’d love to hear it.

Charity Heller
About the author

Charity Heller

Content Strategist, DiscoverOrg

Charity Heller is DiscoverOrg's content strategy manager. She has 15+ years' experience developing and creating content in range of B2B, B2C, and creative industries; previously she founded and operated a book editing company. Charity earned a B.A. in English, Project Management certification, and Professional Editing Certification from U.C. Berkeley.