You’ve probably been here before: part way through contract negotiations, a customer raises a red flag. Suddenly, you’re left scrambling to address all customer objections without losing the momentum of the deal, hoping to keep a close in sight. Best-case scenario: you make it to the finish line and ink the deal. Worst-case scenario: the deal fizzles and you’re left holding the bag.
Customer objections can arise from anywhere. Your prospect may have concerns about the sincerity of the salesperson, the quality of the product, the reliability of service, the price, or the amount of risk involved. Here’s our list of the most common customer objections, and what sales teams can do to assuage the concerns of every type of prospect.
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The four most common customer objections for sales teams
1. Price objection: ‘This isn’t the right price for us.’
Price, cost, budget, and return on investment (ROI) concerns all fall into this category. But objections around cost or price are often really concerns about financial risk. If the sales representative has justified the cost by building value into the conversation, however, the customer will feel they have less to lose and their concerns will be mitigated. It also doesn’t hurt to check with a sales manager to see if there are pricing discounts available, or if you can offer the customer a free trial.
2. Need objection: ‘I’m not sure your product has the features we’re looking for.’
If the customer is concerned about the quality of your products or services, the training of your personnel, speed or responsiveness of service – these are examples of quality of service concerns. At each stage of the sales process, you should be proving the value of your product and how it can solve the prospect’s pain points. If it’s a longer sales cycle, it helps to regularly reiterate with a summary of what your solution is capable of achieving and what differentiates it from competitors.
3. Trust objection: ‘I don’t know enough about you or your company.’
The customer might be concerned with the legitimacy or credibility of you or your company. These customer objections indicate a good relationship has not been established between the salesperson and the client. If this is the case, take the time to ask more direct questions and get at the heart of what might be giving the customer pause. Reps should see themselves as consultants who are trying to help more than they’re trying to sell. Building sincerity and rapport from the first interaction will pay off in dividends.
4. Stalling objection: ‘Give us time to think and we’ll circle back.’
Customers sometimes attempt to put off their decisions. The closer the sale is to closing, the more pressure the customer feels. If there are any remaining conflicts, anxieties, or unsettled details of the transaction, they may try to stall. Make sure every detail is fully worked out and worked over. Give your customer ample opportunity to ask questions or plan out future scenarios to help smooth their fears. Show that your company has served clients well, especially clients in the same industry.
How to handle customer objections
If you’ve prepared for these objections, you won’t panic when a customer brings one up in the final stages of a deal. Remember that objections or hesitations are quite normal for anyone about to take a risk and make a purchase. The customer is uncertain about making a change, and their objections mean they need reassurance.
The best course of action is to direct their focus back to the larger context for the purchase. Restating the clear and logical reasons to buy will help stabilize their emotions. Your response to an objection should be an attempt to reframe it so the customer understands the bigger picture. Bring up benefits to your clients that outweigh any deficits, or provide countering evidence or missing information. This practice is called reframing, and it’s an essential skill for a sales team.
Four steps to reframing customer objections
- Understand the customer’s reasoning and determine their emotional state. Ask, “Why do you feel the price is too high?”
- Pursue closed questions to get them back on track toward seeing the real benefit of your product or services. Ask, “So you’re saying you’re concerned about ROI. Are you looking at the impact on your overall costs?”
- Compare risks and benefits previously agreed to, or provide evidence or missing information using a features, advantages, and benefits (FAB) statement. Say something like this to your prospect: “We’re offering a custom solution that will help you better meet your customer’s needs and eliminate downtime, which will have a tremendous positive impact on your bottom line.”
- Question their acceptance using closed questions. Ask, “Do you feel that this custom solution will help your relationship with your customers? Will that be of value to your company?”
Don’t be dismayed by customer objections, as any conversation about your product and services is an opportunity to learn, build a relationship, and build your brand. Buyer anxiety is actually a positive sign that the sales conversation is moving forward. The work of the sales rep is to convince a prospect of the value you’re offering. Once they agree that what you’re selling is worth the risk, you have successfully handled the objection. From there, you can help guide your customer toward a purchase.
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