We, who are in the sales profession, face objections.  Yes, I know they are just part of the deal, yet I wanted to touch on them in this blog post.  While we all know they are out there, lurking, we often are not prepared to address them in a way that makes sense both the customer and the sales professional.

In my sales experience, I can say I’ve been at this for 27+ years.  I can state that “I’ve heard most of the common objections” and yet, there are a few that come up which I’ve not heard or perhaps they are shrouded in a veil of the more common objections.

I’ve studies sales books, I’ve asked other sales professionals, and I’ve asked the sales training world how best to respond to objections and I get very similar feedback.  So, here are some thoughts on the subject from my perspective.  Note, this is my perspective which is part practical, part academic, and part armchair-quarterbacking as you cannot truly respond to an objection unless you are directly in the sales call.  Note:  I friend of mine, John Jeffery, an expert sales profession has a cliché which applies to objections; “When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen one!”  Thanks John!

Objections can be anticipated based on the amount of time you have been in the sales profession, how long your product or service has been in the market, and how familiar people are with your company.  Often, these can soften some of the blow, just due to common sense and direct application of the sales process.  Jim Jacobus, another great Sales Trainer addresses the objection directly from the sales process.  If you have invested time up front, knowing your product and your prospect/customer, you’ve asked a fair amount of open ended questions, really done your homework on the customer and the application, and then you should not get a lot of objection during your closing process.  When you do, you need to go back to the beginning of the process, asking “what have I missed, what questions did I not asked up front?”

Here are a few common objections which tend to come up often, each can be responded to, with the right amount of fact and passion:

  • Price – We’ve all heard that our price is “too high” and yet do we have a response that is based on what you have discovered prior to stating the price?  Is it price or value?  Is it price of purchase or total cost of ownership? Is it return on investment?  It is “too high” compared to who?  Compared to what?
  • Need – Does your product or service fill a need, want, or desire.  Does it solve a problem which has been identified and developed as something that requires fixing now?  Often we get so excited about our product or service that we feel everyone needs what we have, when in fact, only a select few need it, and need it now.
  • Authority – Does the person you are speaking with have the authority to make a decision about your product or service?  If they have the need and the $$, can they really make a purchasing decision.  Many times, we forget to ask that critical question up front. If they cannot make the decision, how much time have you invested in this process only to determine you have a great fit, just the wrong person to make the final decision.
  • Time – Often we try and present our solution and expect the other person to respond with an immediate YES I WANT IT NOW.  The challenge comes when they agree they like the price, they have a need, they are the decision maker, yet it is just not the right time.  “Curt, it’s not you…it’s me…” We’ve heard that before and we will hear it again.  Unfortunately, our sales managers and others in the company do not want to hear “they will buy later…” We (in sales) do not get paid a commission for things that are put off into the short or long term future.

Price, Need, Authority, and Time – all great sales objections which we hear over and over again. The goal is to be a professional and to outline the value, the impact, the ease, the savings, the competitive advantage, the cool-factor, the gee-whiz impact, the increase, the decrease…whatever it is that your product or service offers.  Do your very best, leave it all on the field of battle and then live to fight another day.

You cannot fully control the sales cycle, you do not have the power over the decision process.  You have the responsibility to show your value, to present with passion and excellence, and to close.  They make the decision to buy.

In closing, remember the old Network Marketing cliché SWSWSW….NEXT.  Some Will, Some Won’t So What…NEXT!