The Secret of Successful Objection Handling in Sales

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What is Objection Handling in Sales?

Objection handling in sales is the process and techniques salespeople use to overcome the reasons buyers give not to progress a sale.
The most common Stalls & Objections are no money, no time, and not interested, all of which may be given to get rid of the salesperson, but might not be true.

Why is Objection Handling in Sales Important?

Sales Stalls and Objections are a natural part of the sales process and they are a common roadblock for many Sales Reps and Sales Managers.
In some cases, they are only a request for clarification on a point or a request for further information.

What are Sales Stalls & Objections?

A stall is a reason not to do business now, an objection is a reason not to do business ever.

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1. Sales Stalls & Objections Explained?

A stall is a reason not to do business now, an objection is a reason not to do business ever.

Example: “I am going to hold off buying the new software as we have a new CIO starting next month who should sign off on this.”

An objection is a reason not to do business ever.

Example: “We’re not progressing with your software because it’s not compatible with our existing systems.”

Objection Handling in Sales
Objection Handling in Sales

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2. Examples of Objection Handling in Sales

Examples of Stalls & Objection Handling in Sales
No Money This should not arise as prospecting is not an opportunity to sell it’s an opportunity to start a conversation therefore money shouldn’t be discussed until qualification. Sometimes this stall arises if the Sales Rep didn’t have a discussion in the qualification phase of the sale. Budgets and priorities do change so it’s wise to have a conversation at the start about the likely hood of the company getting budget approval.

What to say:
“Charles most people who say they have no money are just being kind to me and really they just aren’t convinced this is the right widget for them. What would you have to see and hear to make you just change that no to a maybe?”

This is a non threatening question as the word maybe signals to him that it’s not a trap and he can still say no. Take small steps at a time to turn the decision around.
They have no needThis can arise in the prospecting stage however if you target the right prospects it’s more likely just a put off. A strong qualification process makes this much less likely to occur later in the sale.

What to say:
“Charles can I just clarify when we spoke earlier you indicated that you had problems with x and it was costing you y and if you didn’t fix it z was going to happen. Did I get that wrong or has something changed?”

The problem is often not where you are in the sales process it’s something you missed earlier. There should never be a conversation around an order without truly understanding the buyers Pain, Business Impact, Financial Impact and Personal Impact.
No AuthorityThis may be true if you do not call high in the organisation, or if the company make decisions by committee. This can be avoided by asking what the buying process is in advance, then if you know the approval must come from a committee you should not ask the buyer for an order which he cannot deliver.

What to say:
“Thanks for sharing that Charles and I completely understand this will have to go to the committee however can I double check is this something you would personally endorse?”
If Charles isn’t going to endorse your solution then it’s over. If Charles answer yes you should use a follow up question to double check.
Wrong TimeIn sales, today could be the wrong time but tomorrow may not. When making a cold call you do not have a crystal ball so it may be the wrong time however the timing of the project is part of the qualification process and should be addressed up front to avoid.

What to say:
“That’s great thanks Charles, I appreciate the chances of us connecting at exactly the right time would be slim however can I ask if it was June next year is this something you would consider.?”
If Charles says Yes you need to agree what the next best step is to keep in touch. Beware of just putting a date in the diary and instead look to have conversations with other Decision Makers in the organisation.

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3. Objection Handling Techniques to Prevent Stalls & Objections

The majority of Stalls & Objections come towards the end of the sales process as the Sales Rep moves towards some form of closing position. Whilst it may not be possible to completely eliminate stalls & objections it is possible to reduce the opportunity for them to arise. This strategy is highly counter-intuitive however it is also very effective and simple to execute as follows:

  1. Write down the most common stalls & objections you receive.

When you do this, you will quickly realize that more often than not, it is the same or at least very similar objections that keep resurfacing. 

  1. Once we know the most common objections, turn them into questions and qualifying criteria to use as part of your sales qualification process at the very start of the selling process.

As an example, you may have prospects who stall when you are competing with larger nationwide organisations because they are not sure that your business can handle their account. If that’s the case you could ask early on in the Lead Qualification process a question like:

 “Do you mind if I ask, many times in the past when we’ve spoken with nationwide organisations like yours although we have the internal systems & process to easily handle their account they were just uncomfortable using a regional player who could provide a bespoke service like us and went with one of the big nationwide suppliers. Do you think that might be an issue for your company and if so how would you suggest we overcome it?

This works well because you have moved the responsibility of handling the sales stall to the prospect.

It is much better to handle the buyers Stalls & Objections before they manifest, rather than waiting on the buyer to bring them up. Asking these questions upfront and early on in the sales process ensures there is:

  1. a) A “good fit” between the sellers’ products and services and the buyer’s requirements moving forward.
  2. b) Positions the Salesperson as upfront and not afraid to ask difficult questions that may ultimately lose him the sale.
  3. c) Avoids wasting the Sales Person and Buyers time, by pursuing an opportunity that will never close.
  4. d) Help demonstrate the Sales Reps product and industry knowledge.

Many companies host bespoke sales training courses specific to handling sales stalls to support their Salespeople where they demonstrate best in class methods to overcome objections.

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4. Objection Handling Training Tips to Reduce Sales Stalls & Objections

In cases where Sales Reps have failed to qualify out genuine Sales Objections early on in the Sales Process, we recommend the use of flashcards for training. Simply take some 4” x 6” postcards and write down the most common stalls & objections.

Brainstorm with your sales team the best responses to those objections and write them down on the back of the card. You can then run short training sessions involving role-play to help the Sales Reps memorize the correct responses. Remember to monitor how successful your responses are – it may be that although the response makes perfect sense to you, it doesn’t work for your customers, so always check and look to improve if you are not getting the desired results.

Sales Tools - Stalls & Objections
Sales Tools – Stalls & Objections

Develop a series of Proof points from your customers that will validate your rebuttal.

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5. Work on Your Sales Mindset

What we mean by this is, that many salespeople fear Stalls and Objections and too many become deflated, demoralised and give up. In reality, most objections are requests from the buyer for further information. The buyer is not yet clear in his mind, and they simply need some points clarified.

This is, in fact, an opportunity for the Sales Person to shine, and not something they should fear or avoid. Sales Reps need to welcome Stalls & Objections and be much more positive when they are brought up. If the buyer has absolutely no Stalls and Objections, I would go as far as to question how genuine their interest is? Often silence is the first sign of a bigger problem.

Objection Handling in Sales is a challenge that will never go away however, you can learn to handle these positively and productively, and turn them into a positive next step in the sales process. With some practice you will easily overcome the stalls and objections you receive.

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6. Objection Handling Training

We include Objection Handling in our flagship course on Consultative Selling Skills. This is a one day course delivered either In House at a location of your choosing or as an open course where you may join other attendees. A full list of dates and locations are available online.

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You can read more about and download all the FREE tools templates and guides mentioned in this article via our Sales Tools page.

You can learn more about how to improve your Objection Handling in Sales in our article on Consultative Sales Process.

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