Let’s face it, sales teams spend countless hours each year role-playing, analyzing customer discussions, and more – all in an effort to improve their effectiveness at overcoming objections.
For decades hard sales techniques have been the prevailing strategy, but as buyers continue to become more educated about the products they are buying and the competition continues to grow, a different approach is needed.
Before we dive into common objections, we must first understand why reps fail to overcome them despite available resources.
Why Reps Struggle With Objections
With so much time focused on overcoming objections, it begs the question – Why do so many reps struggle with objections and fail to hit their monthly and annual sales goals? The answer can typically be boiled down to one of two primary factors.
1. They Don’t Understand The Objection
As salespeople, we typically believe that we have to always have the correct answer. When an objection inevitably comes up, we have prepared for the response and we fire away. The problem with cookie-cutter responses is that they don’t get to the root of the objection.
Even the common objections, which we will cover shortly, may be said the same way, but hold very different meanings for each and every prospect. The only way to uncover this is to seek a better understanding of the problem. This means accepting the objection and asking a question instead of blurting out the coached response.
2. They Deploy Hard Sales Tactics
Hard sales tactics are common because for years they have worked. The problem with pushing a product or service on a customer is that it creates tension. When those tactics are used to overcome objections, that tension more often than not will force the prospect to walk away from the deal.
The alternative to a hard sell is for the rep to simply Drop The Rope®. If the objection causes a game of tug-o-war, the only way for the tension to be relieved is by one side setting aside their needs. No customer will ever drop the rope. The onus is on the salesperson. By actively choosing to put the customer’s needs ahead of their own need to close the sale, they can gain a better understanding of the problem and actually address the concern.
Both of these factors can easily be avoided if the sales team chooses to be Other-Centered®. This means actively making the choice to be focused on the customer’s needs and challenges, rather than their own. Reps that are able to change their mindset can easily overcome the following common objections and improve their sales performance.
5 Common Sales Objections And How To Avoid Them
There are an infinite number of sales objections that a rep might encounter, so for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on the top five objections that come up during various phases of the sales process. Overcoming objections is part of the game, but many can be avoided with an Other-Centered sales approach.
If you are in a relationship, you know that “fine” rarely means fine. Yet it is undeniably the go-to response from gatekeepers. It is the proverbial fly swat away when they have heard the rep’s fifteen-second pitch and are ready to go about their day. The truth is that “we’re fine” comes about because the rep is focused on selling rather than helping.
Having a plan for a cold call is essential, but that plan shouldn’t be to assume that the rep knows what priorities and challenges the prospect is currently facing. By blind pitching, they are playing a high-stakes game of pin the tail on the donkey. Instead of going directly into the pitch remove the tension by asking something like this:
“Hi Betty, Are your reps struggling with gaining access to Health Care Providers? While we help other Pharma companies break through the “no rep zone”, we aren’t always fit for every organization. Do you have 3 minutes to see if there could be potential alignment? ?”
There is no hard sell. The focus is solely on the customer and there is minimal tension.
“Just send me some information.”
The classic roadblock that requires follow-up and sends the rep scrambling to decode what information is relevant, only to realize it will likely be tagged as spam. “Just send me information” is simply the prospect saying, “I don’t have time to hear your long-winded pitch on why you are so great.”
Whether it is the gatekeeper or the decision maker, this common objection is easily avoidable. Again, the key with an Other-Centered sales approach is to make the prospect the center of the conversation, not the product, service, or solution. Reps should assume nothing, and seek a deeper understanding. Doing so will help build trust and avoid a well-crafted email going to spam Neverland.
“This isn’t a priority.”
You know what they say about assuming. Assuming might work once in a blue moon, but that only winds up frustrating sales reps and sales leaders, and creates pressure to revert back to hard sales strategies. If you are sensing a recurring theme, that is the point.
Imagine that the prospect is sitting in front of a huge whiteboard. On the whiteboard is every priority or challenge the prospect is currently facing. The rep might know one or two items on the prospect’s list, but which one takes precedence? The only way of knowing is to ASK, not assume.
If reps are constantly getting the “this isn’t a priority right now” response, they simply need to focus on getting a clearer picture of each prospect’s whiteboard.
“We already have a solution.”
As the marketplace becomes more crowded, the likelihood of a prospect having an existing product increases. This typical response is a knee-jerk reaction to the rep describing the product and how it can solve all of their problems. The truth is implementing a new product or solution is a big undertaking and people don’t like change.
Reps that lead the conversation product first are focused on change and it can be like pulling teeth to convince someone to invest time in a similar product, even if the product can help them. The alternative is to uncover problems they are currently looking to address. Even if they have an existing product, going this route helps the prospect realize that there is a better option without the need for aggressive sales tactics.
As reps seek a deeper understanding of each prospect’s challenges, they may uncover that the prospect’s existing solution can help them achieve their goals. It is important for the rep to recognize these situations and have an honest conversation with the prospect.
Walking away from any deal is difficult, but in these situations, reps have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a long-term relationship. The result is the rep transitioning from salesperson to consultant. Consultants are agents of change, salespeople are not.
“The price is too high.”
Tension can occur anywhere in the sales process, but it is at its highest point when it comes down to making dollars make sense. Pricing also happens to be the one thing within the deal that directly impacts the rep’s commission. You can probably see where we are going here.
Typically this objection is a result of not creating enough value throughout the sales process, or a lack of understanding of the prospect’s budget. In either case, the objection is entirely avoidable. Reps focused on the client from the first conversation, are able to detach their needs from the deal. In doing so, they are able to prioritize value and ensure that they know what the client’s budget is, and that they stay within those parameters.
Even if the rep takes an Other-Centered approach, this objection can still come up. This is where the Drop The Rope strategy comes into play. The rep always has the power to remove the tension, they simply need to choose to do so.
Team Sales Training With ASLAN
Even the best salespeople will encounter objections. The best thing that we can do as sales leaders is to equip them with the tools they need to circumvent common objections. It’s not rocket science, but it does require dedication. By choosing to shift the sales narrative, reps will find it easier to build trust, overcome objections, and improve their sales performance.
To learn more about our services and the Other-Centered sales mindset, visit our website and connect with the ASLAN team for a consultation.