As a sales rep, you encounter sales objections throughout your process. In fact, some days it seems like that’s all you get from your client base. Naturally, sales reps must be fast on their feet and think creatively when their prospects are reticent to move forward. However, they must also be professional and knowledgeable when responding to their prospect’s reactions.
When your prospect expresses an objection, having a method to categorize them will help you immensely. That way, you can have a better understanding how to respond to the objection, or even if you should respond.
In working with a variety of sales reps from different industries, and in training our inside sales team, we’ve heard numerous types of sales objections. However, we can broadly classify them into 6 basic categories. Check them out below:
A real obstacle that you need to be address before you can move sales process forward. This can be anything from “Your service costs $500K and we only have $400K allocated in our budget” to “Your system requires a raised floor that supports 500 pounds per square foot and ours isn’t rated that high”. A genuine objection is your opportunity to shine. Solve the problem and you will close the business.
Put-off or A Delaying Tactic:
A prospect or client will use this type of objection if they feel events are moving too quickly. They need to slow down and get control of the sales process. Prospects who don’t have the authority or the money to buy and are looking for a way to save face will also use this kind of objection. Lastly, if you’re facing a put-off early in the sales process, your prospect considers you an annoyance and they don’t want to talk. Any way you look at it, they’re purposely stretching out the process to run down the clock, and your patience.
With this type of objection, your prospect is hesitant to move forward because of something they heard or saw. This type of objection has more emotion in it than fact. It can be the result of your competition using FUD* against your product or company or it can be something as honest as having outdated information. In these instances, your client or prospect is going to need educating.
Prejudice or Skepticism:
In this instance, your prospect doesn’t think your solution will solve their problem, or they are bound to another solution. This means either you missed something during your investigative analysis or you’ve lost their trust. Go back and ask more questions to adequately diagnose the challenge they are facing.
With these sales objections, you’re facing challenges you can’t resolve within a reasonable time and you have no control. For example, let’s say you’re meeting with a client to sell them capital equipment, like a sizeable phone system. They say, “Wow, this thing looks good. Unfortunately, we bought a similar system from Acme Communications about 2 months ago and we use a 3-year depreciation model”. Under these conditions, your prospect won’t be in the market for your kind of system for at least 2 years. Perform your discovery and identify these types of situations at the beginning of your sales cycle. You’ll save yourself time by not investing your resources and energy into designing solutions they can’t use.
These are the “fun” objections that don’t move the sale forward. You’ll typically find these types of objections when performing your sales presentation to a group of stake holders. In fact, if your offer involves a lengthy sales cycle and requires input from several stakeholders, you’ll encounter these. Trivial objections have no bearing on the business reasons for moving the sale forward. But they do make some of the lower level stakeholders feel like they are a part of the process. Don’t get caught up in resolving objections that add no value to your business case. With a little tact and diplomacy, you can gracefully bypass these objections. Simply state, “You raise a valid point and we’ll cover that in a moment”. Then you let the politics of the group determine just how relevant the objection really is.
In your next sales call postmortem meeting, ask your team how many sales objections they received and how they would classify them. In time, you will get better at identifying which objections need to be addressed immediately, which ones can be put off, and which ones can be ignored.
P.S. If you are looking for a process to gather information about objections, pick up our sales brief, Seven Steps to Handling Objections here.
*FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. A term first coined by Gene Amdahl after he left IBM to sell his own systems. He used the term to describe the sales and marketing tactics IBM sales reps used against his company and systems