Why Sales Objections Are About More Than Price

BY Tim Londergan
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Most successful sellers embrace objections. They believe sales objections are where their education begins. Objections are a necessary steppingstone to achieving sales goals.

Of course, addressing objections appropriately depends on the salesperson’s skill and understanding the value of the item they’re selling. The B2B seller-​customer relationship can progress ONLY when the perceived value of the product or service is mutually recognized.

Sales Objections Are About More Than Price

The most convenient cop-​out for a lost deal is to say, “our price was too high.” Steve Gielda, conducting a sales loss analysis, found that salespeople blamed price or lower-​cost competitors for 74% of deals lost. However, interviews with those customers revealed ‘price’ or ‘lower-​cost competitor’ was the reason in only 22% of the cases.

Considering their perception, the sellers didn’t lie. However, 52% of the time they just did not understand the prospects’ decision criteria. Gielda’s interviews revealed the ranking for the barriers to purchase this manufacturer’s product:

  1. Integration into existing systems
  2. Reliability of system
  3. Service
  4. Price

What’s more, price was in the top-​two criteria for ONLY 15% of the prospects.

Sales Objections Will Persist Until Value is Established

Charitably, the sellers above could write-​off 12% to 15% of their losses due to price. But clearly, to cite 74% of sales losses due to price is a denial of their own insight. I hereby fault them for not pursuing the REAL reason for sales objections.

The key is to avoid making assumptions. Instead, take the time to fully understand the prospect's perspective and underlying motivations. In this way, salespeople can uncover the real, root-​level sales objections and have a better chance of overcoming them effectively.

Understand the Customer's Definition of Value:

  • Price is what the customer pays.
  • Cost is the customer’s total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Value is the perceived benefit the customer receives.

Value is always relative to the price the customer is willing to pay. Keep in mind, the customer considers the TCO and how well the product performs compared to your competition.

Align your offering to the customer's needs.

Uncovering specific needs, priorities and pain points is often more critical than demonstrating the features of your product. Often, soft values such as convenience, simplicity and trust are important to the customer. Where possible, quantify the positive impact and ROI of your products’ purchase.

Communicate value effectively.

Proof-​points, case studies and testimonials go a long way to demonstrate value. Articulating a thoughtful value proposition can be realized in offering value-​based pricing structures to your client.

Ensure cross-​functional alignment.

Perceived value may extend beyond your single contribution to the customer’s success. Collaborating with your client to strengthen the various touch points between your companies may be the solution. By aligning delivery, tech support or customer success, teams may win their business.

Sales Objections versus Sales Obstructions

Often a well-​meaning salesperson is told ‘no’ by a person who does not have the authority to say ‘yes.’ Lack of authority is a common obstruction and can lead to major frustration. Other obstructions may be:

  • I don’t have the money. (budget)
  • I don’t have the time. (need)
  • Call me later. (delay)
  • I don’t know you. (trust)

You can choose to accept these excuses as final, or you can dig deeper.

First of all, identifying the primary decision-​maker is a seller’s job. Knowing who and how many stakeholders must sign-​off on your product is fundamental. Further, budget, need, timing, and trust are critical elements to completing most transactions.

Distinguishing obstructions from objections requires thoughtful consideration and probing questions. Obstructions are excuses and used to evade underlying resistance. Whereas sales objections are explicit concerns about your product.

Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels​.com