The adrenaline is coursing through your veins. The suspense is palpable. You’re eagerly waiting, unable to think of anything else. Finally, communication is made. Your spirits lift for a brief moment, before hearing the dreaded, “I’m sorry, but…”.
A sales objection. Yet again. Truly one of the most disappointing things to deal with in any business, especially considering all the hard work and time that goes into client discovery. Whether it’s because they found a better option, or they don’t fully understand what you can do for them, or a matter of not being willing to spend what you know your services are worth, the list of objections unfortunately goes on and on.
But, if the excuses from prospective clients are starting to become a little too commonplace in your business, it’s time to make a change. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to take you through the 10 most common types of sales objections—many of which may be familiar to you, and then hone in on select examples and show you how you can effectively rebuttal them and potentially turn a rejection into a new client!
But first, let’s get through a major definition so we’re all on the same page.
What is a sales objection?
A sales objection is the reason—or, depending on how you look at it, an excuse, given by a prospect on why they may not choose to use your service or buy your product. As you can unfortunately relate to, there are countless reasons as to why they believe what you’re selling will not be a good fit for what they need.
One very important aspect to note here is that a sales objection need not always be a definitive no. Instead, it’s most likely a reservation or hesitation on the prospective client’s behalf. Meaning, nothing is final and instead of giving up you have the opportunity to work through the prospect’s apprehension and end up with a happy client.
Types of sales objections
Let’s look at the 10 most common types of sales objections to get a better understanding of what to expect. Then we can dive into objection handling with more awareness.
1- “I don’t need that”
In this case, you are offering a product or service that your prospect does not feel fulfills an actual need. They may think it’s something their business doesn’t have to worry about, or see it as an “extra” service/product to consider at a later time in the future. Regardless of the specifics, they are not sure you can do something tangible for them in the present that will help them and don’t see a reason to waste time and money on it. Here it really is about educating them and bringing in the larger picture.
2- “I don’t need that right now”
A little bit more promising than objection type #1, this is when a prospect does see potential in what you can offer them, but does not see it as a priority. They have a different focus and what you are suggesting may simply be in their long-term plan rather than present.
3- “I’m just not sure about your company”
Trust. We all know how important it is in every time of relationship, including in business. Here the client may be intrigued by your services, but simply doesn’t know enough about your business or hasn’t heard about your work (reviews, testimonies, etc.) before. Building trust is crucial here to remedy the situation.
4- “I don’t have a budget for that”
A very common response we all hear too often. It all seems to come back to money, money, money. It may seem like a deadend. Or, you may feel you have to reevaluate your pricing to win over prospects who object in this manner. However, it can sometimes be a matter of a person not truly understanding what is included in the service/product, or how it will lead to more of what they are so worried about: money.
5- “I don’t really understand your product/service”
In this type of objection, the reservation is more specific to what you are offering. Perhaps it has been presented in a detailed yet complex way that ended up confusing rather than attracting. Or while you may see how the product/service would work for the client perfectly, they are not connecting the dots and need it simplified. In any case, this is 100% an opportunity to use your knowledge and passion about your offering to turn the tables.
6- “I don’t have time to talk about this”
It can feel so frustrating to want to show off your well-thought out and personalized sales pitch to a business you know would benefit, and be hit with a time-related rejection. Afterall, we’re all busy. However, you can turn a prospect’s lack of time into a selling point – perhaps your service or product can save them time somewhere in the business, streamlining a few key processes? The opportunities to turn objections into considerations can be limitless with the right outlook!
7- “I don’t make those decisions”
This objection can certainly feel like a roadblock in your path to get a client onboard. When the person you are speaking with—who may or may not seem interested in your offer in the first place, hits you with the fact that they are not the one you should actually be speaking to. While it may seem frustrating at first, consider it practice and aim to find out exactly who you should be speaking to, and then up your game to get the decision you want.
8- “I’m happy with another service/product”
An objection that many may see as a definitive no. Your prospect already acknowledges they have a need for what you are offering, but they are using a different company to fulfill that need, and on top of that they are—gasp—happy with them. In this case it’s important to keep in mind that the prospect still doesn’t necessarily understand the scope of what you offer, and instead of bringing another product/service down to promote your own, focus on the uniqueness of what you bring to the table. They may be content, but they also may not know what they are missing out on.
9- “I don’t want anything from you”
We’ve all had our share of dealing with blunt—or, just plain rude, people. It can feel quite demoralizing to have a prospect speak to you in a harsh way, or dismiss you before you can even get your proposal in. If you choose not to go forward in any capacity after a harsh objection—and we certainly don’t blame you, you can have the silver lining be that you won’t need to be dealing with a very difficult client later on. However, depending on the situation, it can also reflect a person having been burned by previous businesses, with promises left unfulfilled. In this regard, it can be a good opportunity to show how you’re different and the concrete ways in which you deliver results.
10- “I’m not sure about you”
Seemingly similar to objection type #3 as it relates to trust, in this case the objection is more personal. The client is not sure about you—whether it’s as a result of their direct experience or a factor such as you being newer to the company you work for that they may point out. When things get personal, it can be difficult not to feel like you’re on the defense or that the deal is doomed. However, it’s all about trust in the end, and trust can always be earned.
The process of overcoming objections
Before we get into the specific examples of sales objections and how you can effectively respond, let’s review the process that will best prepare you for the conversation. Remember, although you want to turn the hesitation into an agreement, you want to do that by actually showcasing why and how your service or product are valuable to the prospect, not by schmoozing. That makes for a truly effective process of overcoming objections. You’re here for the long haul, and a happy client can recommend you to 10 more prospective customers!
1. Actively listen
Just like in life, listening to someone without thinking about what to say in response (or in defense) can be tempting. And that is sometimes the difference between hearing and truly listening. As much as it may hurt your ego to hear a “I’m sorry, but…” make sure to actively listen to your prospect and note down what they are telling you—or trying to tell you. Don’t interrupt with 100 reasons why they are wrong, or misunderstood, or what you can do to change their mind. It will simply make you fit into the “sleazy salesperson” stereotype, and that may truly end the conversation. As Forbes notes:
…so many great sales presentations fall apart because the salesperson gets defensive when the client objects. Why is this the wrong way to go? When the client objects, they also take a defensive posture. Two defenses equal no score. The most likely outcome is an argument that ends in a stalemate. Remember, you aren’t trying to be right — you’re trying to win the sale.
So, as simple as this one sounds, make sure to actively listen to your prospect and take what they are saying in.
2. Understand the objection
After listening to why a prospect may feel uneasy about going forward, it’s time to truly understand the objection. Sometimes they will only tell you one reason for objecting—oftentimes the most easy/generic, but there may be a few more underlying reasons. This is where you can ask questions—but no interrogating! Ask them why they feel that way, if there is anything else they are concerned about, or any other questions that will help shed light on the scope of the objection(s), without making the prospect feel like they are being questioned. It’s also important for you to understand the issue fully as maybe you’ll understand what you can do better in future proposals.
3. Respond properly
You’ve listened and understood the situation, and you’ve done so without making the client feel uncomfortable. It’s time to respond. A good start can be reviewing their main concerns back to them to make sure you’ve understood them. This also validates their concerns. Once you’ve done that, start from the top concern and address and resolve the issue. If it’s something you need to check, tell them the concrete steps you’ll be doing and when you will get back to them with an update. Essentially, this is the time to remove any doubt from a prospect’s mind, so either resolve the issue right then and there if possible, or let them know your specific game plan to do so.
4. Confirm you’ve satisfied their concerns
Here the best motto to keep in mind is: never assume. Always confirm instead. You’ve responded with solutions or a plan, but are they satisfied? Ask them! Make sure to confirm that their reservations have been understood and resolved (whether immediately or not), and if there is anything else you can do for them. They may give you even more to work with. While this process may not lead to an automatic change of heart, getting them to commit to your resolution plan will keep them as a potential client, rather than a refusal.
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Examples of sales objections and how to respond to them
Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with the common types of objections and the process on how to overcome them, let’s get more specific. Here, we will point out a few typical sales rebuttals you will hear, and show the different ways to respond that can turn a potential rejection into a long-lasting partnership. Let’s begin!
After reading the objections and before reading the suggested response, try and think about how you would respond! Then compare answers to see where improvements (if any) can be made.
“Your services/product sounds great and all, but it’s just too pricey for our budget”
Now if you recall, this falls into type 4 of the most common sales objections: “I don’t have a budget for that”.
So after following the steps of listening and understanding, how can you best respond to price objections? There are a few ways, but here’s a good one to work with and personalize:
“Let me further break down what’s included in the service/package, so you can understand the pricing structure. One of the goals with this package is to bring in even more revenue for your business, so you’ll certainly feel the price is worth it in the long run.”
If the pricing is simply too out of budget for the prospect, you can always offer something else and revisit this when they have more wiggle room financially. Try this:
“I understand it may be out of your budget right now. What I can do is break down the offer and we can implement the aspects that are a priority for you right now, and go step-by-step so it fits within your budget as well. Would that be of interest to you?”
Keep actively listening and understanding your client’s responses, even in the response stage. Validate their concerns so you can work together on a fruitful solution!
“I’m already working on something similar with x business”
This objection falls under number 8 of the common types listed above: “I’m happy with another service/product”.
Now, it should go without saying, but putting down another company or their offerings to make your own business or product/service look good is never the answer. Always refrain from taking that approach as it makes you seem unprofessional and sleazy. Instead, elevate what you offer and what makes you unique! Try responding with questions to gauge more about their experience. Remember, just because they are already working with someone doesn’t necessarily mean they know what else is out there. Try responding with something like this:
“When did you start working with x business? What are some of the aspects you are really liking thus far? Are there any limitations to the work you have been noticing? Are your goals being met? Let me explain how our service/product differs and what I can specifically offer you.”
Understanding is always key! Even when your prospect is working with another business, try and understand more about the experience. Then allow the uniqueness and ingenuity of your own business shine through to show them what they are missing out on!
“This sounds great, but I’m not the one who makes these types of decisions. Sorry.”
Sometimes this is a genuine response and falls under objection #7: “I don’t make those decisions”, and other times, it may just be a brush off, more connected to #6 “I don’t have time to talk about this”. Luckily, we’ve learned the importance of actively listening and understanding, so deciphering which one it is shouldn’t be a problem! If it’s simply the reality of the situation, don’t despair as you still have an “in” and can make it work even better for you. It’s time to ask questions again, so try something along these lines:
“Who would be the person to speak to regarding this? What’s the best way to get in touch with them directly? Can you redirect me? Can we schedule a follow up meeting with you and person x so we can move forward on this?”
Be as specific as possible here so that even if you don’t speak with the person in charge immediately, you know exactly when you will be able to. And having a follow up meeting that includes the person you’ve already spoken with may even add a layer of trust for the decision-maker, so it can certainly be helpful!
All right folks, that wraps up our article on the most common sales objections, and how to handle them effectively. We hope it was an insightful read for you and that it will empower you to improve you or your company’s process of dealing with objections. If we can leave you with one final reminder, it’s this: when you actively listen and seek to understand, everything else will follow. Validate your prospect’s concerns instead of trying to instantly rebuttal them, and you may just be rewarded with a new client!
Before you leave...
Let us know what you thought about this article and about your own experiences. Have you handled sales objections in a different way? What worked and what didn’t? Are there any other common sales objections examples you would add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!