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Objection Handling 101: How to Handle the Word “No” Like a Pro

Objecting handling is perhaps the most critical skill salespeople can master. 

Think about it.

There are reps who can deftly maneuver through objections, moving an opportunity along, all the way to close.

While others may retreat or give up too easily, leaving potential revenue on the table. 

Their ability to handle the dreaded word “no” — and all its variations — will separate their degree of success or whether they hit their quota at all.  

So we thought we’d examine how reps can handle objections with confidence. We’ll share a few suggested objection handling scripts too. 

But first, let’s start with a definition. 

What is Objection Handling?

Objections are a natural part of the sales process.

They are the concerns a prospect expresses either about the product you’re selling or their internal barriers to purchase. 

Objection handling is how you respond.

Ideally, your response alleviates or eliminates the prospect’s concerns, builds trust and confidence in the solution you provide, and the deal moves forward. 

Why is Objection Handling Important? 

Objection handling is an important part of building relationships with prospects and establishing yourself as a knowledgeable partner who can help solve their problem. 

It also helps salespeople determine whether they’re working with the right person or if a real opportunity even exists.  

Sales 101: 7 Strategies for Overcoming Sales Objections 

There’s no shortage of advice and training materials for overcoming sales objections. 

We’ve attempted to summarize the best insights into these strategies so you can maneuver through objections with ease, empathy, and aplomb.

1. Perfect the Pause

When confronted with an objection, your first inclination may be to launch into a monologue about product features and benefits. 

Experienced reps don’t do this.

They pause. 

They listen and they absorb what the prospect is saying. They respond calmly in a way that oozes confidence, both in subject matter and in current customer knowledge.

Now these are skills you’d gain with experience over time, but if you’re a newbie, you can start by perfecting the pause. 

2. Repeat Back What You Heard — Reframed As a Question

After a healthy pause, it’s important to clarify the objection so you don’t start addressing the wrong issue. 

Sometimes this can be done by reframing the prospect’s objection as a question. 

But that doesn’t mean you can turn any ol’ statement into a question — that can be awkward.

Ask a question that invites the prospect to elaborate on their objection. And then, you guessed it, pause.

  • You don’t have any budget this year?

  • This isn’t the right time for looking for new solutions?

  • Your organization has a similar solution already? 

Hopefully your question opens a dialog and you can address the objection. 

3. Empathize and Validate Before “Handling Things”

Empathy is a soft skill you must have to be an effective salesperson. It means stepping into your prospects’ shoes to understand the challenges they face every day.

Without empathy, it’s impossible to create a good relationship or a compelling value proposition, let alone handle objections in a convincing way. 

4. Show Them the Receipts

No matter how fantastic you are at the objection handling process, prospects aren’t always going to take your word for it. 

That’s why you need to be ready with social proof.

Provide case studies and reviews from customers with similar concerns and pain points that went on to have successful implementations and killer ROIs.

5. Call in the Reserves 

For the same reason, sometimes you need to bring in other organization members to put their concerns to rest. 

Knowing when it’s time to introduce your rockstar product manager or professional services liaison can be the key to putting concerns to rest and securing the deal.  

6. Be Specific With Followup and Next Steps

There’s a fine line between being pushy and being direct. And when it comes to following up or establishing next steps with prospects, aim for a balance.

For example, if your prospect’s objection involves timing, try to honor that.

They could need the space to sell your solution internally to other stakeholders.  

Interfering with that process is the last thing you want to do. Right, sales team managers? 

Practice a bit of patience and propose a specific time and next step to keep the deal moving along. And of course, be available to help them in any way in the meantime. 

7. Anticipate and Practice Sales Objections

Experienced sales reps anticipate objections and handle them easily because they’ve done their homework — by closing tons of deals or through role-play.

If you’re a new rep, leverage an existing knowledge base of objection handling training materials. You can also list possible objections based on what colleagues encounter, competitive analysis, and industry news and practice your own responses. 

Your goal is to reach a point where you can handle sales objections with ease too. 

9 Most Common Sales Objections — and Exactly How to Combat Them

It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling. Prospects’ objections are largely the same.

And they fall into one of these four types of objections in sales

  • Price/risk

  • Quality of product or service

  • Trust/relationship

  • Stall

Here are nine objections you’ll more likely to encounter, along with an example objection handling script for each. 

1.  This Is Really Expensive

The most frequent objection is often about price — at least theoretically.

Price objections usually have to do with the perceived value of the solution you provide. 

Handling this objection involves communicating your value proposition early and effectively. 

Consider that you may be talking to a person unfamiliar with the budget or someone who isn’t experiencing the pain your solution addresses. 

Example answer: 

I can understand that. But I’d like to show you how it’s consistent with the value we provide. I’d like to tell you more about the features and integrations we provide to address [prospect’s pain].

2. We Have No Budget

This one’s tough — it’s difficult to dispute legitimate budgetary constraints, especially if you’re talking to the person holding the purse strings.

And although they may save a ton of money in the long run, the prospect still must come up with the cash to pay for it.

So focus your efforts on ensuring your solution is part of the next budget period or see if there’s opportunities to piggyback off other initiatives. 

Example answer:

Understood. Perhaps we could explore other initiatives in your organization we could align our solution with?

3. We’re Already Using So-and-So’s Product 

This is when you put all that knowledge about your competitors to good use.

Probe how the competitive product — and the relationship — is working for them. Listening, learning more, and sharing meaningful product differentiators is the objective here. 

Example answer:

Great. I am familiar with [Company XYZ]. Could you share how the product is working for you and why you chose it? Is there anything you wish it could do or address? Here’s how we’re different.

Of course, follow up by sending social proof about a customer or two who benefited tremendously by switching to your solution.  

4. Your Product Doesn’t Seem Like a Good Fit

This may be true, but it’s important to get to the bottom of this objection.

Your objective here is to understand their point of view. So asking the right questions is critical. 

Example answer:

That could certainly be the case, but I’d like to understand a little more. Are you speaking from a features and functionality perspective or compatibility with tools you already have in place? 

5. I’m Not Interested

It’s blunt but not necessarily clear. 

Not interested today? Not interested ever? 

Sure, sometimes a prospect is already familiar with your product and that it isn’t a good fit. 

Other times a prospect’s just had it up to here with sales calls.

Whatever the case, reveal something your solution could do to address a specific issue within their organization (if possible), offer to share a few resources, and try again later. 

Example answer:

I understand. However, I have identified a few ways our solution could impact your [xyz]. Would it be okay if I sent along a little information and circle back another time? 

6. I Don’t See the ROI

This objection just shows you have more work to do. 

Share specific ROI examples from current customers and offer to help create a business case with their own numbers. That way your prospect can understand the value and sell it internally with confidence.

Example answer:

I am happy to show you. How about we find some time to explore the potential for your organization? If you’re open to that, here are the internal metrics I would need.  

7. I Don’t Have the Authority

This one’s pretty easy to handle, unless of course your prospect isn’t very forthcoming with information. 

Example answer:

I see. Would you be willing to point me in the right direction? 

8. Send Me Some Info 

You’ve heard this gentle brush-off more times than you can count. 

And even though you can send marketing material with the click of a button, what’s the point if the prospect doesn’t bother reading it?

See if you can pique their interest just a bit. That way you’ll know if you’re just wasting your time.  

Example answer:

I’d be happy to. We have solutions addressing [xyz], and I want to make sure I only include what’s relevant to you. What are you most interested in? 

9. *Click*

Now that’s a tough one.

You can pretend that someone pressing “end call” was a giant mistake, and you can call back for an even stronger rejection.

Or you can take the hint and send a brief follow-up acknowledging they’re busy.

Just refrain from the whole “I’m busy too” schtick. It won’t help your cause.

A template like this is useful in this situation.

Example message:

Hi [name of person who hung up on you], 

We just got disconnected. I get it — I’m sure you get these types of calls all day long.

But I’d like to briefly share what I was calling about.

Here’s the problem our solution solves: [brief explanation].

Here are some companies we work with: [links to social proof of similar companies].

Could we schedule a quick call or could you point me to the person who might be interested in our solution? 

Knowing When to Move On: The Most Overlooked Objection Handling Strategy

Incorporate these strategies and you’ll be one of those salespeople who can handle just about any objection with unflappable ease and confidence. 

Just remember, the most talented reps also understand very important. 

They know when to walk away — and focus their energy on the next prospect.

It turns out Kenny Rogers' advice applies to salespeople and objection handling too.

 

About the Author

Amy is an experienced professional writer specializing in blog content related to digital marketing and B2B SaaS. When she isn't writing, she's exploring Colorado's mountains or amusing herself by finding new ways to embarrass her teenage daughters.

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