To work in sales or a sales-based business, you have to get over rejection very quickly. Whether it’s recovering from a hang-up to dialing the next cold call number or pitching your product or service to someone who seems to only have “no” in their vocabulary, it’s not surprising that almost half of sales reps just give up after a single ask to move onto the next lead.
However, giving up after and objection (or even an outright “no”) is a big mistake: the majority of sales (over 80% of them, in fact) take at least five calls/meetings/follow-ups before a prospect or a lead commits to buying. This means that most clients, leads, potential customers, etc can be convinced to overcome their objection if you say the right things, that is.
In this post, we’re going to go over some of the most common sales objections that you’ll almost certainly encounter. Not only that, but we’re also going to help you understand how to overcome these objections and make that sale.
Let’s get started!
1. Price Objection
This is perhaps the most common objection that you can get. “You’re too expensive” or, “we can’t afford this” seems to be everyone’s go-to rejection, even if it isn’t entirely true. It certainly gets many sales reps off of the phone or out of a meeting pretty quickly since everyone wants to make the sale that will benefit themselves and their business.
There are a few main reasons why this objection may be popping up for you. Oftentimes what’s actually happening when you get the, “I can’t afford to spend [X] on your product or service” is that maybe your service/product isn’t valued properly for the market you’re in, or it might not be fitting into the business/consumer you’re pursuing.
So your product or your service is not necessarily matching up to what that specific customer/potential customer needs in the market. Or, your product or service may not be matching up to the level or the “maturity” of their business and the ability to afford the strategy or the product that you’re offering them in the market.
So how can you possibly turn those issues around? You always want to lead with value, not pricing. Pricing comes later after the consumer/client understands the value of what they’re purchasing.
Think about it. If you walked into a law firm and they instantly lead with, “I charge 150 dollars per hour,” you’re instantly thinking about pricing and how you can afford it and not about the service and the value of it.
If they instead lead with how they will take care of court appearances, legal documents, meetings with other legal personnel, etc, you’re going to be so impressed and thankful for the value they offer to you that you’re going to be more amenable and open to the price point they later propose, right?
So let’s go back to the price objection you just received. Maybe you’re not actually communicating the value you’re bringing to them in a way that they understand it or translate it internally. Whenever you’re talking about pricing, you have to understand and convey through your line of dialogue both your value and what they value.
Ask yourself: How does their business work? How do they make money? What are the margins? What problems do they need solved? Why are they outsourcing to get your product or service?
All of those kinds of questions can start to give you an understanding of what they value and, thus, allows you to shape your pitch/dialogue to reflect how your own product/service aligns with what they value. You can also then shape just how much value your product/service offers to them.
As you talk through this with them, they’re going to start actually seeing and imagining how your product or service could help them with the things that they need to achieve in their business in order to increase revenue.
Once they’ve done that, they’re going to be more open to any pricing you bring forward, which can mean you either get fewer price objections or you can turn around an objection into a sale.
2. Priority Objection
A priority rejection often sounds like, “That sounds great! But this isn’t the right time for us,” or, “This just isn’t a priority for us. We’re not focused on this.”
In order to overcome this type of objection, you essentially need to have them understand how and why it is a priority for them specifically. Of course, it’s a priority for you since it’s your sale. In order to have them understand why they do need it, you need to understand why they would value this and, as in a price objection, truly understand the motivation of the client in question. What does this mean? It means it’s so important to ask questions (and more questions, questions, questions, questions… you get the idea).
These questions and the answers to them are going to give you the information you need to overcome these objections. The more information you take in and know about the business/customer, the better you can start to pinpoint things that will help you convey that your product/service is a priority to solve problems/needs for the potential client.
In the case of a priority objection, you’re looking for things that are going to create urgency for your product/service in their business. You’re essentially going to show them that your product/service actually is a priority, and they just hadn’t realized it yet.
One of the common ways to create urgency is just to, just as with the price objection, get them to tell you how much their time is worth and how much time they’re potentially spending on things.
So what is the value of their time? What is the cost or risk of not doing something to make their business easier or more efficient?
For example, let’s say you’re attempting to sell an automation software to make businesses more efficient and your potential customer is saying, “this isn’t a priority right now,” or, “this isn’t something I’m focused on,” or, “I’m waiting for [X] to happen before I get started on this.”
Perhaps all those things are true in their mind. But to create urgency for them, ask them if they continue to do what they’re doing, what is the risk? What happens if something goes wrong?
What happens if they don’t improve this part of your business within the next six months or within a year? What exactly are the cost and risk of that? What if the market changes? What if the pricing and popularity of this product/service goes up and you lose out on a lower price point?
A lot of times, the answer to these questions include lost revenue, lost time, longer hours, or even the threat of a business closing. These questions help them understand that, even if they hadn’t thought of it before, your product or service can offer them immediate help and helps them see how and why this should be a priority for them.
There’s always something associated with either cost, lost revenue, or risk, that can push people to get on something before they thought they needed to avoid problems or risk in the future.
Besides economically centered questions, find out what the personal motivation is for each business/client. For example, with B2B, are they trying to make a certain event or thing happen? Do they need to hit certain metrics or make a certain quota? What does that mean for them and their business? What about performance reports or efficiency? Are they trying to improve those things?
Once you know how their success is being measured, you can shift the discussion to how your product/service will help you achieve that faster, more consistently, and more reliably.
In the case of B2C, it’s the same thing: what makes them feel more secure? What are their fears in life? What makes you feel better about your life?
In the case of buying a mortgage, for example, ask them about the house itself. Is a bigger house going to make them feel better? Does it make life easier? Does it make your spouse happier? Does it make your family happier? This can show them that, hey, maybe it is time to think about a mortgage.
Once you understand that personal motivation (with both B2B and B2C), that can often help you create a sense of urgency that can drive sales.
3. Authority Objection
Everything is looking great! You have an interest with the person you’re talking to and it looks like you’re gonna close a deal.
And then they hit you with, “I need to check with my boss,” or, “I have to ask my spouse/my friends/my mom,” or, “I can’t decide this right now. Let me check around and get back to you.”
This is pretty common in both B2B and B2C. These are authority objections. You’re finding out that you’re not actually talking to the decision-maker or the actual buyer. This situation requires some special handling to seal the deal.
Your first and often the best option is to deal directly with the buyer/decision-maker as quickly as possible.
In a B2B setting, you want to make sure that you’re in front of someone who can actually make that decision. This could be a manager, the CEO, the office supplier, etc. Whoever actually gives the OK to buy your product or service should be the one you speak to ASAP.
In a B2C situation, you want to make sure that all the buyers/decision-makers are in the room/on the phone/etc. With home buying, you want both spouses to be in the conversation, for example.
For there, it’s important to know the dynamics between whoever gave you the authority objection and their authority figure. What’s the dynamic between the two, and how do I get the buyer in the room? Or, how do I get the two people (or multiple people) into the room that actually will collaborate to make the decision?
Think of whoever you initially spoke to as both a buyer’s and seller’s assistant. In terms of the buyer’s assistant, they’re the ones who gathered the information and understands the details and benefits of what you’re offering to relay that to the buyer.
But the sale doesn’t end there since both you and this initial contact need to then speak to the buyer to actually seal the deal. but ultimately the other spouse needs to come on board. And this is where they can function as a seller’s assistant, especially if they seemed interested and/or excited about your product/service. You can utilize them as your “ally” in order to sell to the actual buyer.
What you need to figure out is if this person is truly a buyer’s assistant (gathers details, interested in the product, etc) or if they’re simply a gatekeeper that brushes off salespeople before they can get to the boss. This is something that you need to figure out via your line of questioning/dialogue.
Is this person truly trying to help the buyer make a decision? If they are, use them as your “seller’s assistant” as we mentioned earlier.
If you get a sense that they’re there to brush you off, then you need to get out of that conversation as quickly as possible and get in front of the buyer. Don’t waste your time with a gatekeeper since they’re not there to help you.
Only engage in a buyer’s assistant type who can be influenced by you and then go on to help push the sale. Use the conversation to educate and equip that person to then influence the true buyer into a sale.
4. Competitor Objection
While you sound great to the person on the phone or in the meeting, they tell you that they already have a supplier of [X] or they think they’re going to go with [insert your arch-nemesis here], etc.
As with the rest of the objections so far, one of the best things you can do is continue the dialogue and open up a line of questions. These questions get them considering their needs and what they truly want while also giving you key pieces of info that you can use to make the sale.
Get them to think about how that relationship they already have (or are planning to have) with a competitor is panning out, how it’s paying off, and what value that current relationship brought them. Then, use that info to show how you could be a better option for them.
One of the easy questions is asking whether they’re happy or could be happier with someone else. There’s a couple of different ways to ask this kind of question.
One way is to say, “I understand you’re using so-and-so. Tell me on a scale from 1 to 10 how likely are you to refer that person to one of your friends and family?”
Sometimes you get some weird answers, right? You would expect that if they’re using (and planning on continuing using) them that you would give a 10, right? But we most often see people answer 5-7.
Use that to your advantage. Ask: why is that? Why didn’t you give them a 10? What exactly is not going well in that relationship?
This gives you an entry point to start a sales conversation and help them realize that they might be better off switching to you.
You could also be straight up and just say, “Are you better off today than you were when you started? Have they delivered in terms of offering you value?” Then lead into your value as you would with a price objection.
You can also ask: what do you love about them? That gets them starting to think, what exactly is it? What makes you not want to consider anybody else?
These types of questions get people to really think because a lot of times, their experience isn’t a 10 and they don’t feel strongly one way or the other about their current provider. People just get comfortable and opt to stay with companies/services out of convenience.
But when you ask them these questions directly, many people often realize this and become more open to change, especially if you offer better value and/or service than they’re used to.
5. Confused Objection
This objection is common in a more complex field like law, insurance, mortgages, automation software, etc. People instinctively say no to things that are complex or things they don’t understand because they don’t want to be tricked or duped.
The first way to overcome this rejection is to simplify your solution. Be aware as you give your presentation: are eyes glazing over? Can you tell that the information is flying over the head of the prospect that you’re talking to?
If so, take a step back. Remember: you understand all of the ins and outs of what you’re selling. It’s your product/service after all!
But your prospect likely understands little (or even nothing!) about the specifics of the topic, especially if it’s complex/not truly what they’re all about. For example, many people own houses, but most people don’t understand the specifics of home insurance or mortgages.
Ask yourself if there’s a way to more simply explain what you’re talking about. Is there a way you can simplify the way you’ representing? Is there a way you can present an analogy that just makes it easier for them to understand? Can you break down the complexity? Can you focus on a theme? Can you use a story or a scenario to explain the process instead of abstract generalities?
Stories are a great tool because they force you to think and explain more simply and in a more concrete/literal way.
This gets your potential client to think, “Hey, that story sounds a lot like me” and can help them understand the impact of the service/product even if they don’t understand the complexity or full scope of it.
6. Reputation Objection
Reputation objections come in a few flavors.
The one that’s easier to swallow is if they had a bad experience in the general industry. For example, the last time they dealt with a lawyer they had a bad experience and now the taste for the law has gone sour.
The one that’s harder to swallow is that they had a bad experience with you specifically. They could’ve seen a bad review, heard from a friend, or dealt with your company years ago.
With both of these options, they’re coming into the conversation with a negative impression of you.
As you could guess, these two situations have a couple of different solutions.
The first solution is to get to the root cause. Understand why they’re coming into this conversation in a negative or defensive way. It’s not hard to tell that they’re feeling this way, so it’s often best to ask them outwardly if they have a certain problem or ask what their experience with you (specifically or generally) is.
Even just asking them and really listening to them can be enough to turn this objection around. It shows you care, that you want to help them have a good experience, and can let them “vent” about their experience.
It also allows you to understand what this company/client doesn’t like. You can personally craft your response and your relationship based around the information you learn. Take in that information and lay out a vision for a better process or explain to them how, this time, it will be different and better.
Generally, with these reputation objections, you want to hand them the mic, so to speak, let them rant it out and give you all the information you need to figure out how to change their mind.
Or, it could tell you that your time is best spent elsewhere.
7. Dinosaur Objection
This objection is reserved for clients and businesses that, usually, are “stuck in their ways” and are resistant to change. It usually sounds like, “I don’t believe in that,” or, “I only have, and only ever will, use [X product]. There are no other options.”
Essentially they’re saying, “this is the way I’ve done it in the past and I’m kind of fixed in my ways.”
The first thing you need to ask yourself in the face of this objection is whether the client is going to be good for you, no matter how good you’d be for the client. Immediately hearing this reaction and their approach to life could indicate they’re not a great client for an innovative tech company, for example.
If they’re just not going to understand it, want to understand it, learn how to use it, etc, then maybe it’s just not a fit for either of you. If they’re so stubborn that they’re not even going to listen to you, don’t waste your time.
If you do think that you’d be a good fit and it’s worth it to continue with them, the best way to overcome this is clearly explain how and why they should change using data and logic. The people who give this rejection are usually logically minded, so using logic will help them understand why you’re better for them.
You need to speak their language before they’ll even consider speaking yours.
8. Committee Objection
The final objection on our list is the committee objection. While similar to authority rejection, there is a distinction here.
In this case, you’re speaking to a buyer who is an authority. However, they aren’t the only authority and they aren’t necessarily a confident authority: they need a “committee” around them to make them feel confident in their decision. And that committee is usually the thing that’s missing and preventing them from closing the deal with you.
This is one of the more challenging objections you’ll face one can be pretty challenging because you don’t know where you stand. These are typically indecisive people who lack the confidence to make solo decisions.
If it’s a legitimate committee, like board members or a specific team of owners, that’s a bit easier to navigate since you know all of the committee members. Bit if it’s just the team around a senior leader, that situation is more nebulous and harder to handle.
The most challenging situation is B2C, thought. Think about it: your buyer may feel the need to call all of their friends, ask their parents, look online, ask their brother-on-law for advice, call their family friend, talk to their therapist, etc before they can even think of making a decision. These “committee members” are often inaccessible to you, which puts the sale (and the objection) out of your hands.
The biggest challenge is figuring out whether you’ve run into another authority rejection. Are they a buyer’s assistant? A gatekeeper? Or are they just easily influenced by their “committee”?
Once you’ve figured out whether they’re a true committee rejection or not, you can start to overcome this type of objection. The only way really to get through this kind of objection is to ask a bunch of questions.
Ask: what exactly do you need to ask their friends/family/board members? What is it that you need to understand in order to make a purchase decision? How will you make that decision? What can I do to help you feel more confident in your decision?
Asking questions and providing security/confidence is the best way to get through to these types of objections. Showing that you’re open and flexible also makes you easier to trust, which is essential for these types of indecisive clients.
Need More Help Overcoming Sales Objections?
So there you have it. Eight common sales objections with ways to overcome each.
Notice that we didn’t give you scripts to follow or robotic lines to parrot at each one. You want to actually delve into why and how they’re objecting and how you can use that knowledge to overcome the objection.
Hopefully, that was helpful. If you think you need a bit more help, don’t hesitate to contact us!