Objection handling is a common part of the sales process, but can often be complex to navigate. When a prospect shows apprehension during a conversation or presentation, it is important to address it immediately, or even pre-empt the objection before the buyer thinks of it.
What is objection handling in sales?
Objection handling refers to the response of a salesperson to a prospect who raises a concern or barrier during the sales process. Whether this barrier is about timing, pricing, need for the product, or internal buy-in, salespeople must respond carefully by using objection-handling skills to alleviate concerns, overcome objections, educate, and move towards closing the sale.
Objection handling should not entail arguing with or pressuring a prospect, but should involve asking key questions. Listening carefully to the answers to these questions allows the salesperson to understand why the prospect may have these barriers, meaning they can better allay concerns and educate as the conversation moves on. To help, we have added 7 great tips to help you master objection handling.
7 Tips to Make Objection Handling Effective
Pause before speaking, and remain calm. Rather than interrupting the customer or talking at them to try and push your offering, listen to them actively and ensure they feel as though you are hearing their concerns.
Clarify the prospect’s issue to avoid any misunderstandings, and make sure you have the information you need to address the exact objection. For example, if their barrier is that they as a business do not outsource this service, try to understand why that is. What event lead them to this opinion? Have they previously had a bad experience?
Mirroring involves consciously repeating words that your prospect has used, such as the final few words of their sentence. Using an upward tone of voice, in a questioning style, will trigger the prospect to elaborate on their objection without feeling defensive. Pause and let them explain so that they feel heard.
It is common to hear objections such as “the price is too high”. Instead of starting a battle of numbers, help your prospect to reframe their pricing objection to show them how valuable your offering is. Consider discussing what is good value from their point of view. Maybe reinstate the value your offer can bring, is there any hidden value that your prospect is missing? Can aspects of your offering help with other problems or challenges they have?
If they understand how your product or service can solve their problems, they will see that your offering is worth the price.
Empathy can be a great way to build rapport with your customer and connect with them personally. Thanking the customer for making you aware of the objection, explaining you understand this concern, and empathising with their frustrations can help to diffuse a mutually defensive situation, and even encourage them to share more with you.
6. Use proof
Prove the value of your offering by backing up your statements with proof in the form of customer testimonials, case studies, or industry research that is relevant to the prospect’s goals, challenges or industry. References from customer perspectives can often represent an objection that was overcome with the help of the company, which can set you apart from competitors that your prospect may be in conversation with.
7. Ask, Probe and Confirm
Asking open-ended questions will result in a good customer discovery process. When the questions are flowing, it’s essential to move the conversation to a deeper level and probe further by asking more questions based on their response. Take your time to understand the real root of their objection beyond surface level. Finally, repeat what you understand of their objections and ask them to confirm your understanding is correct.
If you apply these seven techniques to your objection handling, you will certainly build trust and rapport with your prospects and customers, and will likely increase your number of qualified leads and close rates.
In the words of Peter Drucker, a philosophical founder of modern business; “The quality in a product or service is not what you put into it, it’s what the customer gets out of it.” This may be the most important thing to think about during objection handling – to embody the situation from the customer’s perspective and understand the root of their issue in order to help them overcome it.