Effective Techniques to Master the Art of Objection Handling in B2B Sales

(Last Updated On: July 5, 2018)

As a lead gets assigned to your sales pipeline. And as a Sales rep, you will want to…

Do your research.

Reach out effectively.

Set up a demo call.

Get them started on a free trial.

Make the final confirmation call.

Close the sale.

But if only life was that simple. More often, closing the sale isn’t going to be this smooth every time.

In reality, a salesperson faces objections. And if you aren’t adept at objection handling then the bubble bursts. That dream of closing the sale smoothly comes crashing down.

Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.

– Zig Ziglar

“It’s too costly” or “We are not looking for this right now” or “We are already using a similar product” or “We’re a little busy. Can you call in two months?”  

The potential buyer will always be hesitant and have objections to buying a new product/service. And their reservations are valid. That doesn’t mean you have to move the deal to the ‘Lost’ category. Anticipating and managing your prospect’s reservations are valuable skills that salesperson needs to master.

This ability to overcome objections and assuage concerns and power through reservations about your product/service is called ‘Objection Handling’.

In this post, we discuss the various objection handling types a salesperson can face during a sales process and the techniques you can use to handle them.

Objection Handling Techniques for B2B sales

Objection Handling based on ‘Need’

When a qualified prospect you have been engaging with suddenly changes her mind and says that they don’t need your product then most reps make the mistake of killing the deal and moving on. Because, if they don’t need your product, what can you really do about it right?

Not yet. You have to dig deeper by asking more questions to unearth what the real issue is.

Is the prospect really satisfied with how things are working for them currently? or

Are they apprehensive about adopting a new product? Is it inertia or loss aversion?

If it is inertia, they may be overlooking a problem/opportunity facing their business. The trick here is to switch gears from selling your solution to making sure they truly understand the magnitude and depth problem/opportunity and its impact on their business. Only when you cross that bridge do you position your product as the solution.

Fear of change can also paralyze your prospects and make them wary of the effort required to use the solution your product offers. It is only natural to be apprehensive about adopting something new. You need to allay your prospect’s fear by addressing all their concerns. Focus on reducing the entry barriers. Use trials, pilots, and other low-risk engagement models to get them started before you try to sell a big new license.

Examples

No Need Objection Handling

No Need Objection Handling

Objection Handling based on ‘Money’

One of the most common sales objections a sales rep can face in any business is the ‘it’s too costly’ or it’s many variances objection.

You know what to do. Ask more qualifying questions, learn what the real issue is and then proceed to demonstrate the ROI very clearly.

Are they hesitant about investing in your product? Or are they really tight on budget? Or are they just looking for a discount?

Your prospects may be reluctant to invest in the product as they may not be convinced about the value of the product yet. Understand the underlying reason and then state the benefits your product can offer. Justify your pricing by explaining the ROI your product can bring and make them realize that it is a good investment to make.

But unless your price was a close secret that you sprung on them at the last minute, it is likely that they evaluated your solution knowing where the ballpark pricing would be. So it is usually a matter of making sure that they are clear on the ROI.

Sometimes – actually a lot of times – a prospect uses the too costly route to drive a bargain…the classic haggling technique. Either way, it is important to realize that lack of budget need not be a deal breaker. It may just require a creative pricing solution.

Examples:

No Money Objection Handling

No Money Objection Handling

Objection Handling based on ‘Time’

Just like you, it’s safe to assume that the prospect is also up to her neck with work. They might have other priorities at the time and the issues your product/service solves may not be on their priority list.

What do you do then?

You make it their priority.

And how do you do that?

Elucidate the problems they might be facing and make them realize that this is a priority. This way you instill a sense of urgency and get them looking for a solution. Then show them how your product is the solution – the classic sales maneuver.

The most important thing you should remember when handling such objections is that you should be considerate of their goals and priorities. And position your product as a solution to their top 3 goals/ priorities. Or move the conversation to someone else in the organization who may find this a top priority.

Examples:

No Time Objection Handling

No Time Objection Handling

 

No Time Objection Handling

Objection Handling based on ‘Trust’

The prospect will always have his/her doubts about you or your product, more so if your product is relatively new. Don’t take this personal, this is a pretty common thing that every sales rep face. All that you need to do is establish a solid relationship and provide valuable information that will genuinely help your prospect.

Prospects have trust issues mainly because,

  • They might not have heard about your product, what with the market is filled with thousands of them – especially if you’re in the B2B industry or
  • They might have read or heard something negative about your product.

If you are a newbie in the market then take some time to explain a bit about your product and what it does. Take it up a notch by providing them useful blog posts, case studies, success stories related to your company to establish credibility and earn their trust.

Objections based on negative reviews or hearsay can look like a huge roadblock for any sales rep, but there is always a way to overcome these.

The first thing to do when faced with such objections is to hear them out; don’t interrupt them to defend your product, you’ll only make things worse. Hear them out and take some time to explore what the issue is. And once you have learned their primary concerns, explain the steps you have taken to correct it.

Examples:

No Trust Objection Handling

No Trust Objection Handling

No Trust Objection Handling

Objection Handling based on ‘Product’

Objections based on your product are fairly straightforward. In most cases either the prospects don’t understand your product or they need more from your product.

If a prospect is finding it tough to understand your product, just don’t give up on them yet.

Peel the onion one layer at a time. Start with the number one problem your product solves for the prospect and focus on it. Only when you have reached the ‘aha’ moment – and showed how your product improves their current situation do you talk about the other bells and whistles.

Feature requests. Don’t be surprised when a prospect asks for a feature that isn’t part of your product. They are popular today, especially in the B2B industry. For these as well, it is important to understand whether the request is really a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘deal breaker’. Usually, most feature requests are in the former category and there may be existing workarounds to help your customers achieve their objectives anyway.

Examples:

 

On Product Objection Handling

On Product Objection Handling

Objection Handling based on ‘Competitors’

The market is filled with thousands of products and most certainly a handful of them will be your competitors. So, remember that you might not always be the first one to reach your prospect.

What if your prospects are already using a competitor product? What if they are happy with what they have?

You don’t immediately wave goodbye and sever all ties.

Instead, understand what difficulties they face with their current solution. Every product involves a set of tradeoffs and there is a good chance that your prospect is living with some.

Understand their relationship with the competitor and asses what it would take for you to get a foot in the door. Sometimes, even if they are happy with a competitor, there may be an opportunity for you to start the relationship for a different team/use case.

Note: Remember not to deprecate your competitors; you can point out their flaws and shortcomings, but throwing serious shade at other products could damage your brand’s reputation and yours as well.

Examples:

On Competitor Objection Handling

On Competitor Objection Handling

Conclusion

Facing objections can be a bit more than facing a roadblock; it’s disheartening and demoralizing for some reps, especially for the less-experienced sales ones. However, the hallmark of a good sales rep is in how he/she handles the tough negotiations. So, instead of assuming that things just got tougher whenever an objection rises, think of them as second chances.

Treat Objections as requests for further information.

-Brian Tracy

Like Brian says, objections are basically requests for more information – more information about your product and what you’re offering them. Consider them as opportunities…opportunities that let you once again pitch your sale to the potential client – an opportunity for you to help them understand more about your product/service.

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