An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information. - Bo Bennett
Are you the type of person who quickly deals with sales objections, providing answers immediately, trying to overcome them as quickly as possible and move towards the close?
If so, you're probably not:
- Taking the time to fully understand the objection and what’s behind it by asking clarifying questions
- Dealing with the issue thoroughly enough and to the level of satisfaction the prospect desires
- Presenting a compelling enough argument to overcome the objection and ultimately win the business
Imagine you have a $450,000 deal on the line. You're at the altar. Six months have gone into this deal and countless hours. You can see the finish line… you just have to overcome the last few objections.
All too many sales fall apart late in the game because sellers are so anxious to rush through this crucial phase in the sales process. I've consistently seen objections mishandled because sellers simply don't understand the basis for the actual objection.
This is unfortunate because nearly all sales objections come down to one of these four things:
We call this NUT$.
The 4 Types of Sales Objections and How to Overcome Them
Lack of Need
At the most basic level, a client has to need what you’re selling. There may be times where there's nothing you can do to help the prospect.
However, more often than not, if the prospect looks right (fits within your targeting criteria and is FAINT, or qualified), but they don’t see the value in what you have to offer, you're the one at fault. Either you’re not resonating, not exploring all possible needs, or not addressing the right need.
Here are 4 things to think about when exploring needs:
- Focus on outcomes, not process. Nobody buys a process; people buy results. By focusing on the value you deliver and the outcomes you'll achieve, not the mechanics of how you'll achieve it, you set yourself apart.
- Educate yourself about the prospect’s business, industry, and competitors. With this knowledge, you can get a good sense of where you can add value and how your services might help. By simply looking at what their competitors are doing, you gain valuable insights and ideas. And your prospect will take note as I've never met a prospect who wasn't interested in market trends and competitive insights.
- Dig deep and probe with questions based on your research. Don’t give up if your initial questions don’t uncover anything meaningful. Explore different possibilities as you might discover needs and possibilities that you initially dismissed.
- Conversely, don’t go down the first rabbit hole you find. If you discover something early, don’t stop there; continue to dig deep and find the root cause of the need (the 5 Why's is a technique that works well). Discover all the possible needs to create the most value and the most robust solution.
Lack of Urgency
You build the relationship, develop trust, have the right chemistry, know you can help, the client knows you can help, and money is not an issue. However, the prospect can’t move the project forward—they have a full plate and are waiting for the "right time."
When this happens, you haven't demonstrated the impact of your solution well enough. Help the prospect see the value of how you can help by focusing on these two types of impact:
- Rational impact. The rational impact is all about determining the ROI and building the business case for moving forward. If you've done your needs discovery properly, you should be in a position to present numbers that clearly demonstrate the impact of your solution. The prospect must see a tangible dollar value. No ROI leads to no urgency.
- Emotional impact. People buy with their hearts and justify with their heads. The emotional impact of a solution is just as important as the numbers. To uncover the emotional drivers, focus on what the prospect wants to achieve. Aspirations go beyond the pain, those things the prospect must change, and focuses on the things the buyer wants to change and the potential rewards associated with doing them. The reward could come in the form of a promotion, accolades, better work-life balance, or a bonus because the division is exceeding expectations. Paint this aspirational picture by focusing on these key questions:
- If you’re able to do this, what would happen to your financial situation?
- If you were able to work on this and get this done, what would happen to your goals?
- If you delay, what consequences might you face?
Lack of Trust
Trust comes down to whether or not the buyer believes you can do what you say you can do. If they do, it mitigates risk and gets you closer to the sale. You build this trust the old fashion way; you earn it.
- Start with research. The more knowledge you have about the prospect’s company and industry the more confidence the prospect will have in your services.
- Be genuine and show interest. This might sound basic, but too many sellers go through the motions and fail to recognize that, at the most basic level, they're interacting with a fellow human. If that interaction fails to resonate with the prospect, all is lost because there's no relationship, no chemistry, and no trust. Relax, smile, and have a positive attitude. Ask questions that show an interest in your prospect as a person, not just a business partner. People trust people they like.
- Balance inquiry and advocacy. Find the balance between asking questions and talking about your offerings. One of the best ways to advocate is by telling stories. Sharing relevant stories and examples also shows how you’ve helped similar businesses and is the best way to build credibility. Stories are an endearing and tangible way to demonstrate the intangible—just make sure to articulate outcomes and results.
Lack of Money
The money objection is common, especially in today’s business environment. Price pressure is severe. However, you can overcome any price objection, get your full fees, and avoid discounting by following these guidelines:
- Listen fully and confirm money is the issue. When your prospect raises a concern about money, listen fully to the objection and start by making sure it’s a money issue. Price objections often mask non-money issues that lie under the surface. Work to uncover the real objection by asking, “If money were no object, what would be your ideal solution?” If you and the prospect can achieve a common vision, it'll be easier to work out budget issues.
- Avoid talking cost structure. Often a prospect will ask you to break down the pricing into billable hours so they can understand it better. Don’t talk cost structure; it’s a slippery slope that will have you justifying your price and not your value.
- Reduce the scope to lower the price. Don’t concede and lower your price without altering deliverables. Being arbitrary creates distrust. Review the parts of your solution and ask, “What part don’t you want?” This leads to either a reduction in scope or having the prospect realize the whole package is the best solution.
- Talk to the decision maker. Make sure you’re talking to the person responsible for budget decisions or someone high enough up the ladder to pull the trigger. You’ll continue to get price pushback and lose sales if you don’t speak to the person holding the purse strings.
By understanding the common types of sales objections, you can recognize the real issues sooner. This understanding will allow you to quickly apply a strategy to understand, address, discuss, and ultimately overcome sales objections—allowing you to close more deals faster.
Remember: to avoid letting objections drive you nuts, think NUT$.
If you're looking for additional suggestions for overcoming objections, download our free guide, How to Handle Sales Objections.