I remember attending a sales call with one of my salespeople back when we were expanding our performance sales training organization. He had landed an opportunity for a sizable, in-house training deal and he knew he was going to get some resistance with a deal of this magnitude. He wanted me to join him and give him some coaching on handling sales objections during a presentation.
After we arrived and made our introductions, we settled in to review the proposal. During this time, I quickly took stock of the room. Then I prefaced the meeting with this comment:
“What we ask people to do is not cheap, and it is not convenient. We’re asking them to take time out of their lives at great expense to themselves and to the company. But participants have told us the results they see on the other side of this process alters their careers immeasurably. And the owners of these companies have told us that the initial investment was small in comparison to the increased revenue.”
After the meeting, my sales rep pulled me aside and asked me about my opening statement. “Why did you start off by drawing their attention to a reason not to do business with us?”
I said. “We get those kinds of sales objections all the time. For what we’re offering, our prospects have always claimed that it’s inconvenient and that it’s too expensive. We know new prospects will probably have these same concerns. So, we deal with them at the start of the sales process to get them out of the way. That way, they can’t hit us with these objections later in the sales process.”
Did it work? I’ll tell you in a moment. But first, let’s talk about the best times for handling sales objections.
Identifying Objections in the Sales Process
Salespeople are constantly handling sales objections. It’s part of the job. As stated before, if a prospect is voicing a real sales objection, they are seriously interested in your offer. We already reviewed how to get the prospect to clarify and define the sales objection. So what you should be dealing with is a real objection and not a stall. Remember, you don’t want to waste your time, or theirs, solving something that’s trivial.
But let’s say you’re deep into the sales process and your prospect is interested in your offering but there’s some hesitation. In addition, you’ve used the seven-step process to determine that this is a real concern for them.
Now you’re probably wondering when’s the best time for handling sales objections.
The Best Times for Addressing Objections
In general, there are four points in time where we can address our prospects’ objections:
1. Handling Sales Objections Before the Prospect Brings Them Up.
If you repeatedly encounter the same objection, then there’s a universal concern that you need to address. Deal with it early in the sales process. If your past clients have voiced concerns over an aspect about your offering, it’s probably on the mind of your current prospects as well. Address it before they have a chance to bring it up and show them that you’ve done your homework.
2. Handling Sales Objections When the Prospect Brings Them Up.
If your prospect raises a relevant concern in the middle of your presentation or during an exploratory discussion, then this is something on their mind right now. More than likely, it relates directly to a specific application they have in mind. You’ll have to make a snap dissection on whether it’s something that needs addressing immediately or if it can be put off to a later point in time. Of course, before you address it, be sure that it’s a real concern. Go through the 7-step process for identifying the true objection before you spend your time and energy addressing it.
3. Handling Sales Objections After the Prospect Brings Them Up.
If your prospect raises an objection and you know that you will address this challenge later in your presentation, there is nothing wrong with telling your prospect to hold their thoughts and you will address the challenge shortly. Sometimes, waiting for the big picture will resolve that and other objections they may have.
4. Ignore the Sales Objection Entirely.
There are some objections that make no sense to address and they serve only as distractions. Members of the buying team who aren’t stakeholders typically voice these to stay relevant. If you’re looking to save time and address the right concerns, avoid these objections completely. For objections that are technical in nature and don’t add value to the sales process, let your sales engineer address it offline. Or, if it’s only you delivering your proposal presentation, take the concern offline and send a request to your technical person to address it after your presentation is over. For these types of concerns, how you handle the person will be more of a deciding factor than how you handle the objection.
Curious? Want to know more? Then be sure to download your copy of our manual on resolving objections.
P. S. In case you were wondering, my sales rep did close the deal and we got the business!