Even the best products and services don’t exactly sell themselves.
Your customers are only human, after all. They care about their homes, their families, and everything else that contributes to their overall quality of life, so they want to be sure they’re trusting the right brands.
And they work hard for their money, too, so they’re only willing to part with it once they’re sure they’ve found the solution they’ve been looking for.
That said, your customers will always have at least a few reservations about finalizing a purchase with you, no matter how big or small it might be.
For that reason, a strategy for objection handling will always be important with you are aiming for a smooth buyer’s journey and successful marketing campaigns.
So here’s how to cultivate one that will help you convert your most promising sales prospects into happy, loyal customers.
What is Objection Handling?
When a given sales prospect experiences an obstacle that prevents them from moving smoothly forward with a purchase, a sales objection arises.
Sometimes such objections are practical in nature, as with price points, sales terms, or concerns about a product’s potential ability to fulfill the person’s needs.
Other times, the prospect may simply remain unconvinced that this is really the right time to finalize a purchase.
Objection handling refers to the process of managing those objections in such a way that a sale can successfully move forward.
Although some marketers and salespeople will try to accomplish this by pressuring the prospect, a softer approach is often much more successful here in the digital age.
The idea is about more than simply closing a sale. You also want to leave the customer feeling good about their decision and the buying process, in general.
What are the Most Common Types of Sales Objections?
Just as no two potential customers are exactly alike, neither are any two sales objections.
However, most still fall into at least one of several common categories, each with its own go-to solution for potentially moving a sale forward.
Budget-based concerns are definitely among the most common of all the various objections a sales professional will hear from a lead.
After all, every purchase carries at least a small financial risk, and most people are very wary of potentially misspending their hard-earned money.
That’s why every rep should be prepared to paint a vivid picture of the benefits of the brand, product, or service.
Actively balance potential risks with priceless rewards to show the customer why what you’re offering them is well worth it.
Sometimes a customer just doesn’t see where the product or service they’ve been pitched can actually help them.
That’s a rep’s queue to better educate the prospect on what the product is truly capable of.
The key to success is finding out why they don’t think they need the product.
Ask layered, open-ended questions to get a better read on who the prospect is and what they really need in a solution. Then tailor your pitch accordingly.
Sometimes it’s not the value of the product that’s in question but the timing.
In cases like those, the customer may see the value in buying the product but not why they should buy it now.
The rep’s job is to determine whether a lack of urgency is really the problem or if the customer is simply trying to brush them off gracefully.
Listen closely to what the prospect is saying. Look for signs that they’re waffling on resolving a real pain point, and proceed accordingly.
If they’re still not ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, schedule an appointment to follow up at a later date to discuss the issue further.
People don’t like to buy from businesses and brands they don’t know or with whom they have no established rapport.
That said, trust-based objections are nearly as common as budget-based ones.
If the prospect has interacted with your company before, a simple memory-jog should be enough to remind them who you are.
However, if they genuinely haven’t heard of you before, it’s time for a nice, strong value pitch that highlights what you bring to the table and what makes you an authority to trust in your field.
What Are the 4 P’s of Objection Handling?
Marketing expert Neil Borden preaches a solid recipe for success in the marketing world based on the 4 P’s of professional selling — price, product, place, and promotion.
However, sales reps can leverage their own 4 P’s to navigate common consumer objections successfully. Here’s a closer look at each.
Perceived value is about more than the actual value a product or service brings to the table. It’s the flare attached to how everything looks and feels from the outside looking in.
Colorful advertising, sleek packaging, slick white-glove customer service, and professional-looking sales materials all help boost the perceived value of your products and get customers excited about partnering with you.
Personalization has always been a powerful way to help a marketing message resonate with sales prospects, but this is especially the case in the digital age.
Today’s consumer needs to feel like they’re more than just the next name on someone’s calling list.
They want to feel valued, catered to, and respected on every level.
Personalizing your sales pitch to match the customer’s unique personality, needs, and pain points is a great way to make this happen.
Modern customers are also discriminating.
They do their research before pulling the trigger on a new purchase, and they’ll expect to see proof that your product is worth their time and attention before they buy.
Making sure there’s plenty of positive social buzz going around about your brand is a great way to make sure they find it.
Be ready to present prospects with testimonials, third-party research, and customer satisfaction surveys as part of your pitch, as well.
If perceived value is what gets someone excited about the possibility of buying from you, then performance value is what seals the deal in stone.
For this reason, it’s crucial to demonstrate performance value at some point in your pitch.
You can tell customers your products and services are fantastic all you want, but it’s when you show them that the magic happens.
What are the 7 Methods of Answering Objections?
Successful objection handling is all about having an answer for every question and a comeback for every attempted brush-off.
Again, it’s not about hard-selling your prospects. It’s about showing the customer what your product can honestly do so they can start reaping the benefits for themselves.
Here’s a look at the seven classic methods for answering a prospect’s objections.
1. Substitution Method
If a customer truly doesn’t feel a suggested product is right for them, come back to them with an alternative recommendation that will still meet their needs while addressing their concerns about purchasing.
2. Question Method
Challenge your sales prospects to think deeper on a topic by responding to a question they’ve asked with one of your own. It’s a great way to get them involved in the process and glean important information on where they stand.
3. Boomerang Method
When a customer objects, try flipping the script a bit to get them thinking differently. Then, bring the objection back to them in the form of a critical selling point attached to your product.
4. Denial Method
Often a customer’s objections and concerns are unfounded. When that’s the case, it’s a good idea to gently correct them by demonstrating the correct answer to a problem or a product advantage they may not have fully considered. Use the objection as an opportunity to better educate the target on what your product does.
5. Demonstration Method
Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to a key product or service. Put a customer’s concerns, worries, and objections in perspective for them by showing the product in action or demonstrating to them the best ways to use it to address their pain points.
6. Superior-Point Method
Sometimes, the customer may make a good point with an objection. In that case, you should fully acknowledge their concerns, but be sure to counter them with product benefits or special features that adequately address those concerns.
7. Third-Party Method
Even sales prospects who consider themselves independent thinkers sit up and take notice in the face of solid social proof. When and where appropriate, manage objections by presenting testimonials, research, or endorsements from neutral third parties to reinforce your case that your brand and products are trustworthy.
How Else Can You Effectively Respond to Sale Objections?
Sales objections don’t just arise at the point in the process when a prospect is about to make a final decision on a purchase.
Skillful objection handling is essential throughout every step of a would-be customer’s buyer’s journey.
Keep the following tips in mind, the better to build a rapport with your sales leads and successfully win their trust.
Practice active listening
Making a sales prospect feel heard will go a long way toward successfully winning them over and ultimately closing a sale.
Make sure your customer knows you’re genuinely paying attention to their concerns by being an active listener.
Hear them out without interrupting, and give them space to express themselves. It’s a golden opportunity to get to know them better and build a positive connection.
Leverage the power of mirroring
Once your prospect has finished voicing their concerns, patiently mirror what they’ve said back to them so that they know you fully understand what they’ve said.
Then validate them by adopting an empathetic approach. Encourage them to lower their guard by using examples to show them you know exactly where they’re coming from.
Then segue comfortably into how your product was designed to address precisely those concerns.
Get to the bottom of the real issue
Often, the objection a sales prospect raises first isn’t the real problem they’re concerned about. It’s simply the one they think is the most likely to stop the rep from moving forward with a pitch.
Address it head-on by asking them whether, assuming you can solve that particular problem, other issues are holding them back.
Then, listen carefully to what they say for valuable clues on proceeding.
Be prepared to demonstrate value
Sometimes a sales prospect will be interested in a product or service but still wind up balking at the price point, especially if it represents a more significant investment.
The same goes for other objections of a purely practical nature. So always be prepared to circle back to value — why your product is absolutely worth the money and how it will change your client’s life for the better.
Again, case studies, testimonials, and research-based evidence are good tools to leverage here.
Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing
Open-ended questions serve two purposes when it comes to objection management.
First, they keep the conversation flowing naturally and easily, making the process more enjoyable for both of you.
Second, it ensures your prospect keeps feeding you information about them, their needs, and any potential pain points your products could address for them.
So avoid falling back on simple yes or no questions that can ruin the momentum of an interaction.
Instead, reframe those as open-ended questions that continually feed you opportunities to lead the prospect toward a purchase.
Wrap Up: Objection Handling is Vital for More Sales
Satisfied, loyal customers who sing the praises of the brands they trust and the products they love don’t just happen.
Instead, they result from savvy marketing, thorough market research, and a comprehensive understanding of how modern consumers navigate their buying decisions.
Seasoned marketers understand that this can be a highly confusing process, especially with so many different options on the table.
That’s why a thorough understanding of objection handling is a key to not only closing sales but making sure the customer feels adequately cared for throughout every step of their journey through the sales funnel.
Ready to start planning an ideal customer journey for your valued audience?
Check out our interactive customer journey checklist to get a read on where your current process stands. You’ll come out prepared to take the next steps toward an airtight customer conversion strategy in no time.