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Objections in the sales process are not to be feared. On the contrary.

Nevertheless, many salespeople become hesitant and unsure when specific objections arise. How should you handle objections?

It’s mainly about being well-prepared and alert. It would be best to prepare for the objections that typically arise and be attentive by listening. This type of “resistance” provides good and meaningful clarifications that often result in a sale.

An objection is often a buying signal

There are many ways you can approach an objection. Many salespeople view it as an obstacle and a setback, or they assess it as a rejection. There is no reason for that because almost all sales conversations involve objections. The best salespeople see objections as a buying signal. In any case, it is an opportunity to correct a misunderstanding so that you can continue the dialogue and close the sale.

It would be best to avoid objections altogether because you hit the solution to the customer’s needs 100%. But often, that’s not the case because you have too little time to conduct the needs analysis and tailor the solution when you also need to control speech speed and your behaviour.

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Customers typically raise objections for four reasons

Objections can arise because the customer either doesn’t understand what the salesperson is saying or doesn’t agree with the solution they have presented with. It could also be that the customer wants distance from the salesperson because they are pressured too much. Perhaps the customer wants to test the salesperson. However, the customer may agree with the salesperson’s solution, but they might want different purchase terms.

Regardless of what the customer reacts to, it would be best to view objections as an opportunity to adapt to the customer. If the customer did not want to purchase, you would not be in doubt as a salesperson. With their objections, the customer expresses a desire to purchase if the salesperson can adapt to the objections that arise. Therefore, you should do the following when you encounter objections:

1. Distinguish between true and false objections

True objections are due to customer concerns. They are very real for them, despite not being so for you. False objections, on the other hand, are automatic objections used to disarm you or to gain a better position in potential negotiations later. Here are some examples of true and false objections:

True objections:

  • Price differences compared to competitors
  • Bad experiences from the past
  • Prestige reasons
  • Lack of need or interest
  • Doubts (afraid of making the wrong decision)
  • Lack of budget

False objections:

  • General purchase resistance (e.g., doesn’t like the salesperson)
  • Negotiation tactics
  • Testing the salesperson’s knowledge

2. Show empathy towards the customer

Regardless of the objection we receive from the customer, we must treat them in the same way. We must show empathy for what the customer is saying so they feel we recognize and acknowledge their concern. We do this by being positive and not reacting with negative emotions. Refrain from counterarguments with the customer; instead, try to find the cause and what lies behind the objection.

3. Clarify and avoid other potential objections

To ensure that we do not encounter more objections or that we have to handle the same ones multiple times, it is important that we clarify all doubts with the first objection. This is done by asking if there is anything else the customer is unsure about besides what has just been discussed. For example: “I understand that it’s a lot of money (empathy), but aside from the price, is there anything else you are uncertain about?”

4. Structure the sale through negotiation and closing

When you as a salesperson have gained a complete overview of the objections, you proceed using various methods, such as:

  • Refer to the needs the customer has expressed. If we have the opportunity, we can refer once again to the needs analysis so that the customer understands that the objection is not real but may be due to a misunderstanding.
  • Offer alternative solutions. If the customer still doesn’t alleviate their concern, we can offer alternatives if the customer is willing to forego something they wanted. Sometimes the customer accepts this option, but if we’re lucky, they revert to the original choice.
  • Agree on a price. Sometimes, we have room to negotiate on the price. Be careful that the customer doesn’t get the impression that this is standard practice, but on the contrary, feels special because they are getting a special price.