In a sales meeting with your manager:
Manager: Why did we lose XYZ prospect?
Account Executive: ’Twas the dreaded objections milord! It was unavoidable.
Objections are inevitable in the world of sales. But that doesn’t mean the deal’s over when your prospect hits you with one.
Let us look at what objection handling is and valid rebuttals you can use for some common sales objections!
What is Objection Handling?
Objection handling is a skill that a salesperson in the world of sales uses to ease the concerns raised by prospects. Objections generally revolve around price, product, or competitors, or could simply be a way to brush you off.
The key here is to learn how to use objection handling to not be confrontational. Rather create a way to ask the right questions so that you can help prospects address their objections.
The LAER Bonding Process: A Successful Method for Objection Handling
Carew International has created an effective means to handle objections. This process is called LAER: The Bonding Process, and can be used to handle objections in sales, defuse anger, and build relationships.
LAER stands for Listen, Acknowledge, Explore and Respond. Following these 4 steps can make you a pro at objection handling.
Here’s how you can implement it:
When your prospect first raises an objection, it is important to just listen. This simple act shows that you are interested in what your prospect has to say and not just there to bulldoze through the conversation.
After you have spent time listening to their objections, the next step is to acknowledge their objections. This step once allows your prospect to understand that you have been listening actively.
Your acknowledgement doesn’t have to involve grand gestures but can be as simple as a nod or reiteration of their objection statement. By doing so, you can diffuse the tension that is present and create a calmer environment.
The third step is to explore what the underlying concerns are for your prospects. Spend adequate time in this step to make sure you have understood their problem correctly.
For example: Your prospect raised the following objection: “ We are currently in a contract with your competitor”. Sometimes this just means they are in a long term contract with your competitor, but sometimes it can also mean that they are enjoying interacting with your competitors and all the attention they receive from them.
If you don’t spend time actively exploring what the subtext is in the objections raised, then you will not be able to get past the smokescreen of this objection and in turn lose the opportunity to respond appropriately.
The last step in the LAER process is to respond. After gaining a panoramic understanding of the objection, you can now present your response to the objection. This response can be in the form of a recommendation, an alternative solution, or a logical next step to address the objection and close the objection.
Although objections seem to be a hurdle in sales, it does not have to be a painful process for salespeople. Rather, this can be viewed as a starting point to develop better relationships with your prospects and nurture them accordingly.
Using the LAER method, you can be sure to have open and honest communication with your prospects where they know their objections are not met with dismissal.
Objection Handling and Its Importance
Letting objections go unhandled until the last minute is as dangerous as playing chicken with two cars heading towards each other at maximum speed.
A crash is inevitable if either of the cars don’t swerve away from each other. Similarly, moving forward without addressing objections means that you are letting your prospect’s opinion take hold on them strongly.
Objections are like weeds—if you don’t address them from the start, they will grow uncontrollably. And soon, getting them out of the way will turn into a backbreaking challenge.
So rather than sweeping them under the rug and ignoring them, it is better to welcome them and address them openly.
One of the ways to do this is to proactively ask questions to identify if there are objections. Some questions like:
- Do you have any trouble around ABC?
- Are there any roadblocks that would stop you from buying our product or service?
- Are you able to visualize the success you would see implementing our product or service?
- You seem a little worried about XYZ. Is there anything I can do to address your concerns?
With the LAER: The Bonding Process methodology and proactiveness on your part, you should be able to identify and address objections raised by your prospects.
Now let us take a look at some of the common sales objections you would encounter and how you can refute them.
Common Sales Objections
This section describes some of the common objections one would face in sales conversations with prospects and rebuttal templates on how these objections can be handled.
Section A: Price Objections
These are the most common objections one would experience in sales. Even prospects that are inclined to buy your product or service will present a price objection when in conversation with a salesperson.
Objection #1: Your product/service is too expensive.
In this case, focus on the features of your product and how it would help your prospect address the pain point they shared with you.
Rebuttal Template: “I’d love to take you through the product and its features that will equip you to address the pain points you discussed with me.”
Objection #2: We don’t have the money to buy your product or service.
This is an objection you hear when your prospect does not have a business that is not big enough or generating adequate ROI to afford your product/service.
Keeping an eye on their business capabilities will allow you to pivot the conversation to get your prospect on board with a solution that would fit their needs. In a scenario like this one where the prospect genuinely doesn’t have the budget, see if you can propose an offer with a more limited feature set that they’re more likely to say “yes” to.
Rebuttal Template: “I appreciate you sharing this with me. Let me provide you with an alternative offer. We have other options available that might fit your budget.”
Objection #3: There is a lack of funds in our budget for the year.
This is another way a price objection might present itself during a sales conversation. This is indicative of your prospect having trouble with their cash flow. There are two ways this objection can be handled as seen in the examples below; by either urging them to see if they can get approval for the additional budget, or by deferring the negotiations.
The most important thing in either of these cases is to make sure you show them how valuable your product/service is going to be to them. If your prospect does not realize what you’re offering could potentially help their team and company, they might not be inclined to come back and purchase your product.
Rebuttal Template: “Would you like to take some time to discuss with your higher-ups to see if any additional budget can be assigned to acquire the product? We can reschedule another call in a few days.”
“We can set up a call again when you see a possibility of receiving funding. When do you think that would be?”
Objection #4: Our budget needs to be used for other resources.
There is a possibility that your prospects could have assigned their budget to other resources. As a salesperson whose deal is hanging in the balance, it is your responsibility to make sure your product or service is a must-have to address their pain points.
Here, you can share similar case studies that have used your product or service to handle a similar pain point and were in a similar situation a while ago. Talk about how they were able to improve efficiency and growth which in turn generated a bigger ROI and they were able to allocate budget for other resources as well.
Rebuttal Template: “One of our customers faced a similar crossroads and made the decision to purchase our product/service just a while back. This case study explains how they were able to increase their ROI (thanks to our offering) and allocate new funds to obtain other resources they required.”
Objection #5: I am not a fan of these long term contracts.
This objection arises from the space where a prospect is not inclined to be stuck in a time-based contract. When this happens, find out other terms and conditions you can present to your prospects such as quarterly payments or monthly payments.
Rebuttal Template: “I see. Let me show you what other contract terms and payment options I can offer you. Maybe, these options can be a better fit for you.”
Section B: Competitor Objections
The next set of objections you could face are related to your competitors.
Objection #6: We are already working with ABC.
If your prospects have already partnered up with your competitors’ products or services, it can be a good thing. This shows that they have already identified a need and a solution to their pain points.
All you gotta do is probe their relationship with your competitors and show your prospects how your product or service is significantly better than your competitors.
Rebuttal Template: “Could you please elaborate on why you ended up choosing ABC?” OR “What is working well for you with their product?”
Objection #7: Our hands are tied. We have a contract with your competitor, XYZ.
If you hear this objection or a similarly worded one, then you are golden. This statement means that your prospect is trapped in a contract that they are not happy with. Providing creative options with your discounts to make up for breaking their contract or you can show them how their ROI with your product could make up for their cost associated with breaking their contracts with your competitor.
Rebuttal Template: “We could work out an attractive discount to make up for the cost of switching to our product.
Objection #8: We can avail a cheaper version of your product or service.
You have to be careful when this objection is presented to you. Do your research to identify if your prospect is pitting you against your competitors to secure more discounts or is your prospects claim actually correct and there is a cheaper alternative available.
If it’s the former, then offer the highest discount you can offer while stressing on the fact that your product or service has more superior features. Make sure to walk away if you get into an infinitely negotiable loop with your prospect.
If it’s the latter, then you can focus on establishing the worth of your product by showcasing the product’s differences with respect to your competitors.
Rebuttal Template: “What are the value gains and support the other product offers you?” OR “These are the points of differentiation between our product and your other option. I am sure that leveraging these differences will also create a better ROI.”
Objection #9: I am currently satisfied with your competitor’s product.
This objection can be handled in a similar manner as the one above. Showcasing the features of your product and how they will impact their business and growth is the best way to address this objection.
Rebuttal Template: “While I am glad that you are happy with the existing product, I would love to understand what makes it good. This way I can provide you a better look at our product’s capabilities when comparing the two.”
Objection #10: [False statement about your product]. This is what I have heard through the competitor grapevine.
When faced with wrong allegations about the product or services, salespeople need to respond by saying “That is not true,” and then pause for a beat.
Don’t jump in immediately to justify why this is false. Pausing after saying “That’s not true” will throw your prospect off for a bit because you will appear confident while your competitor is insecure.
If your prospect breaks the pause and decides to ask a follow up question, then this time you can explain the reason why that “false statement” is not true.
Rebuttal Template: e.g. “We use in-house engineers who provide us with the backup we need to be hands on with our product and do not outsource this out to Thailand or China. I can put you in touch with the head of our engineering team if you would like any additional questions answered!”
Section C: Authority Objections
These objections arise when you interact with prospects who do not have decision making ability.
Objection #11: I do not have the authority to sign off this purchase order.
No need to sweat. A simple solution to this objection is to ask your prospect who the right person is for authorizing this purchase.
Rebuttal Template: “Please direct me to the right person who is authorized to make decisions regarding this purchase.”
Objection #12: Selling this internally would not be possible.
This objection is easy to handle.
You need to get your prospect to open up and discuss what objections they would potentially encounter if they were to pitch your product or service internally.
You are the pro, so coaching your prospect on the objections they anticipate is the best way to tackle this.
Get in touch with your Marketing team and ask them if there are collaterals available that your prospect can use when making the case to buy your product internally.
Rebuttal Template: “I understand. What are the objections you anticipate when presenting our product as an option internally.” OR “ I have some material I can share with you which would help you to make your case to your decision makers.”
Objection #13: Decision-makers were not convinced.
This objection can occur after your prospect has made the business case to their decision-makers. It is time to walk away from them. It simply will not make sense to continue to persuade the decision-makers if they have already made up their mind.
Rebuttal Template: “Well if your decision-makers change their mind, please do not hesitate to contact me and we can get you onboarded!”
Section D: Need Objections
This section addresses some objections that could arise based on the “needs” of the prospect and their company.
Objection #14: That doesn’t seem to be a pain point for us.
An objection presented this way is a brush-off or your prospects are not experiencing the pain currently. Even if you end up losing this prospect, it is best not to take this objection at face value. Take a few minutes to assess what this objection is for.
Rebuttal Template: “That is actually interesting. So what are the current solutions you have to address that area of your business?”
Objection #15: This is not a priority for us.
This objection might just need a simple prompt from you such as “Oh?” and the prospect will start talking. This is when you put those listening skills to extra use. Pay attention to see if the prospect is rationalizing for any inaction to their problems.
If so, then make sure to play on this and create a sense of urgency.
Rebuttal Template: “Very interesting. What priorities are you dealing with currently?”
Objection #16: We have not heard of your product or company.
This objection is a great way to enlighten your prospect about who you are and what your product does. Treat this as a way to provide more information to your prospect.
Rebuttal Template: “We are a company that has a sales intelligence software which will allow you to create a highly targeted list of high intent prospects in need of your product or services.”
Section E: Actual Brush Off Objections
These objections are just simply used by a prospect to brush you off. Here are some of the common brush off one can encounter.
Objection # 17: If your prospects hangs up on you.
This is a clear sign of brush off. Every salesperson has encountered this in their sales lifetime and you will too, one day. You can simply move on or you can go on the aggressive. Wait for a few minutes and call them back.
Rebuttal Template: “I am sorry, I must be having some connection issues at my end. Do you have a few minutes to continue our conversation?”
Objection #18: I have no time to discuss this with you. Also, it looks like your product/service might not be useful to us at the moment.
During a prospecting call, it’s far too early for a prospect to be able to definitively say they are or aren’t interested in your product. Offer to send over some resources and schedule a follow-up call.
Rebuttal Template: “I understand. Can we schedule a time for a follow-up call? In the meantime, I can send over some resources so you can learn more about how we can help address and solve pain points you’re currently facing.”
Wrapping Up: Objections are the way to sell better
Objections are a part and parcel of sales. Objections are a way to either address concerns to retain your prospects or disqualify them.
Familiarizing yourself with objection handling in sales will allow you to identify which prospects are worth the chase ultimately making you a better salesperson.