Every salesperson will face objections; the successful sellers will know the best sales rebuttals to give. But knowing how to respond is a major challenge. SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep study revealed that “handling objections” is one of reps’ biggest selling weaknesses. Fortunately, having some responses in mind for the most common objections can keep sellers more prepared to overcome prospects’ concerns.
Sales professional (and Manage Smarter podcast guest) S. Anthony Iannarino shares his insights into common objections and his best responses for those objections.
The best sales rebuttals address buyer uncertainty
“Because the client is uncertain, they use objections to avoid a decision or a commitment,” Iannarino explains. “Some objections can be taken at face value, while others need…a little interpretation to get at the client’s underlying concern.”
This is why listening is so important. To offer a quality response, sellers must first understand just what is concerning the buyer. Only then can they craft a quality response to fill in any gaps. As SalesFuel has suggested before, engaging in active listening is key here: “Only by giving the prospect your full attention can you hope to ever address their concerns. While it’s natural to get defensive or want to respond immediately when a prospect raises an issue, practice self restraint. Don’t let your negative emotions get in the way of hearing what the prospect has to say.”
The objection of timing
Iannarino points out that blaming timing is a very common objection, especially when a seller is seeking a first meeting. The prospect may say that now is not the right time, and often, the seller responds by asking when it would be a good time. This is not the best sales rebuttal to use. Iannarino explains that a time-related suggestion reveals that the seller hasn’t yet demonstrated enough value to the buyer.
He recommends acknowledging first that you understand and respect that the buyer’s time is important. Next, clearly state your value proposition, which details how the buyer will directly prosper and benefit from what you’re selling.
The professionals at Shapiro Negotiations agree, and they also advise sellers to clarify their sales proposition when met with concerns over timing. They also recommend that sellers add in a bit of urgency, writing, “Overcoming this objection is about more than demonstrating value, it’s about creating urgency, and making a proposition so compelling that they might feel regret if they pass up the opportunity right now.”
Objecting to change
Often, sellers will hear that a buyer is simply happy with how things currently are going for them. They are satisfied with their current situation or vendor and simply don’t need to switch things up. Iannarino explains that when you hear this, it likely points to a buyer’s fear of change. This can be understandable. “Change is difficult, political, visible, and comes with a good bit of uncertainty,” he writes. “Sometimes the best way to address the client's real concern is by asking what they need from you to be able to move forward.”
The best sales rebuttal for this scenario is simply asking the prospect what you could do to make change easier. How can you smooth the transition for them? What assurances can you give them? It’s also important to highlight what the buyer stands to lose (be it time, money or both) by not making a change.
You can also use some psychological tactics to reveal how a shift in the way they do things can benefit the buyer. For tips on how to do this, check out SalesFuel’s article about using psychology to drive change. As RAIN Group’s Erica Schultz explains, “…buyers are resistant to change. You need to balance inquiry (asking questions) with advocacy (sharing ideas) to get them to see the gaps between how they’re thinking about something and how they should be thinking about it.”
And most importantly, when discussing the importance of change, show empathy. Change is scary, and by acknowledging that, you show the buyer that you understand and respect their feelings.
Remember, it’s not uncommon to face objections. Buyers have many reasons they feel they should turn down a meeting or object to a price. The best sales rebuttals address the concerns and worries underlying those objections. By understanding why a buyer is responding a certain way, sellers can effectively resolve those issues to progress forward.
Photo by SHVETS production