Customer objections can be difficult for sales reps to handle, and many professionals get nervous when they find themselves facing one. However, objections communicate important and valuable information about customer concerns and needs. Most objections can be effectively handled by a knowledgeable sales team equipped with a simple reframing strategy that puts the issue in perspective.
Customer objections can arise from anywhere. Your prospect may have concerns about the sincerity of the salesperson, the quality of the product, the reliability of service, the price, or the amount of risk involved. Here's our list of the most common customer objections, and what sales teams can do to assuage the concerns of every type of prospect.
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The four most common customer objections for sales teams
1. Price objection: 'This isn't the right price for us.'
Price, cost, budget, and return on investment (ROI) concerns all fall into this category. Keep this in mind: objections around cost or price are often really concerns about risk and exposure. If the sales representative has justified the cost by building value into the conversation, the customer will feel they have less to lose, and their concerns will be quickly mitigated. It also doesn't hurt to check with a sales manager to see if there are pricing discounts available, or if you can offer the customer a free trial.
2. Quality of service objection: 'I'm not sure your product has the features we need.'
If the customer is concerned about the quality of your products or services, the training of your personnel, speed or responsiveness of service, or compatibility - these are examples of quality of service concerns. At each stage of the sales process, you should be proving the value of your product and how it can solve the prospect's pain points. If it's a longer sales cycle, it helps to reiterate with a summary of what your solution is capable of achieving and what differentiates it from competitors.
3. Trust objection: 'I don't know enough about you or your company.'
The customer might be concerned with the legitimacy or credibility of you or your company. This type of objection indicates that a good relationship has not been established between the salesperson and the client. If this is the case, take the time to ask more direct questions and get at the heart of what might be giving the customer pause. At the end of the day, reps should see themselves as consultants who are trying to help more than they're trying to sell. Building sincerity and rapport from the first interaction will pay off in dividends.
4. Stalling objection: 'Give us time to think and we'll circle back.'
Customers sometimes attempt to stall their decision. The closer the sale is to closing, the more pressure the customer feels. If there are any remaining conflicts, anxieties, or unsettled details of the transaction, they may try to stall. Make sure that every detail has been fully worked out and worked over. Give your customer ample opportunity to ask questions or plan out future scenarios to help smooth their fears.
Another reason a customer may postpone closing a deal is because they don't feel any sense of urgency. Make sure you have the data at hand to explain why sooner is better than later to begin a new process or launch a new system. Or, on occasion, add in an incentive - short-term pricing or a value-added service - to help motivate a speedy closing.
How to handle customer objections
If you've anticipated and prepared for these four types of objections, you won't panic when a customer mentions one of the above. Remember that the customer is behaving quite normally for anyone about to take a risk and make a purchase. The customer is uncertain about making a change, and their objections mean that they need reassurance.
The best course of action is to direct their focus back to the larger context for the purchase. Restating the clear and logical reasons to buy will help stabilize their emotions. Your response to an objection should be an attempt to reframe it so that the customer understands the bigger picture. Bring up benefits to your clients that outweigh any deficits, or provide countering evidence or missing information. This practice is called reframing, and this is an essential skill for a sales team.
The four steps to reframing customer objections
Question to understand the customer's reasoning and determine their emotional state. Ask, 'Why do you feel the price is too high?'
Pursue closed questions to get them back on track toward seeing the real benefit of your product or services. Ask, 'So you're saying you're concerned about ROI. Are you looking at the impact on your overall costs?'
Compare risks and benefits previously agreed to, or provide evidence or missing information using a features, advantages, and benefits (FAB) statement. Say something like this to your prospect: 'We're offering a custom solution that will help you better meet your customer's needs and eliminate downtime, which will have a tremendous positive impact on your bottom line.'
Question their acceptance using closed questions. Ask, 'Do you feel that this custom solution will help your relationship with your customers? Will that be of value to your company?'
Don't be dismayed by customer objections, as any conversation about your product and services is an opportunity to learn, build a relationship, and build your brand. Buyer anxiety is actually a positive sign that the sales conversation is moving forward. The work of the sales rep is to convince a prospect of the value you're offering. Once they agree that what you're selling is worth the risk, you have successfully handled the objection. From there, you can help guide your customer toward a purchasing decision.
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