“I need to think about it…”
“This is way too expensive.”
“I’m going to have to talk it over with my spouse.”
There’s nothing worse than getting through the entire sales process—feeling like things are going really well—only to hear one of those dreaded objections at the end.
When it comes to overcoming objections in sales, there are tactical, step-by-step measures you can take to avoid getting commonplace pushback from prospects.
In this video, I’m going to show you 9 steps to overcoming objections in sales. Check it out:
1. Be comfortable.
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when overcoming objections in sales is that they get nervous and start to freak out as soon as a prospect pushes back. When salespeople have this reaction of being obviously “thrown off” by sales objections, prospects can sense it immediately. They feel your discomfort. As a result, they’re much less likely to buy from you. Instead of reacting with nervousness when you hear an objection, simply take a deep breath and calm down. Being comfortable with objections is the first step to overcoming objections in sales.
For most salespeople, discomfort over objections typically leads to a nervous verbal tirade, trying to persuade the prospect of why they must buy. But if you’ve taken the first step of learning to be comfortable with hearing objections when they come your way, it will come as no surprise that you shouldn’t jump right into a frantic monologue once you hear an objection. In fact, it’s important to do the exact opposite. Just pause. In your head, take a two- to four-second beat and simply wait before responding. Show your comfort, show your confidence, by pausing before reacting. The simple act of learning to thoughtfully pause before you speak is a key pillar of overcoming objections in sales.
3. Slow your pace.
A slower pace of talking is another essential yet often overlooked key to overcoming objections in sales. Not only is it important to pause before you respond to an objection, but it’s equally crucial that you slow your pace. When most salespeople get objections, the data shows that their pace picks up dramatically. They start speaking much more quickly, which indicates to the prospect that they’re uncomfortable. Remember that your own discomfort will always make your prospects uncomfortable. When they’re uncomfortable, they’re going to want to end the interaction as soon as possible. So slow your pace.
This is arguably the biggest step to overcoming objections in sales. Frequently, salespeople don’t know why an objection came up in the first place, making it impossible to understand what’s really behind the prospect’s pushback. The best approach is simply to clarify why the prospect mentioned a given objection in the first place. Say something like, “That’s a really fair point. Help me understand what prompts you to mention that.” Or say, “Great question. Why do you say that?” Or try, “That’s an interesting thought. Help me understand why that’s important to you.” In many cases, getting this clarity is all you’ll need to actually overcome objections. In fact, many prospects will offer up new information that will completely change the way you view the objection and how to deal with it to keep the conversation moving forward.
Once your prospect clarifies the objection, you need to keep digging. Use spontaneous questions to understand as much as possible about the prospect’s state of mind, and what’s really behind their objection. Spontaneous questions include, “Why is that important to you?” “Help me understand that,” and “Unpack that for me.” Dig deep into the reasoning behind each objection, because most objections are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to master overcoming objections in sales, you must learn to dig to the bottom of the iceberg.
Once you understand a particular objection that the prospect has told you—you’ve clarified, you’ve dug, and now you understand it—it’s time to find out if there are any other objections. It’s important to get all of the issues out on the table. So if the prospect says, “You know what? The price is too high,” be sure to clarify, dig, and understand that objection. Then, once you’ve got a handle on that objection to price, isolate it by saying something like, “Are there any other concerns that you have?”
7. Get everything out on the table.
I know we just covered this idea, but it’s so crucial to overcoming objections in sales, that it deserves it’s own step. If you just wait for objections to pop up all over the place, your sales conversation is going to turn into a game of Whac-A-Mole. You’ll lose control of the sale. Instead, simply repeat this process of pausing, clarifying, digging, and isolating every time you get an objection—so you get everything out on the table.
8. Move on.
Not every objection in sales actually has to be handled. Sometimes, by going through the process of clarifying, digging, and isolating, you find out that you don’t really have to solve that problem in order to make the sale. In fact, it’s often the case that just by virtue of having the prospect clarify a potential issue, it gets resolved on its own, and then you can simply move on.
9. Get permission to share some ideas.
In the event that you can’t just move on, and you actually have to solve the issue at hand, it’s time to get permission to share some ideas. Say something like, “Would it be okay if I just threw some ideas at you in terms of what we’ve talked about so far?” Now you can solve the objection, or you can do your best to try. Of course, you don’t necessarily have a solution to every single objection you hear. But still get permission to share some ideas that can hopefully solve the more structural objections.
So there you have it. Now you know 9 steps to overcoming objections in sales. How will this guide to overcoming sales objections change the way you sell? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below to join the conversation.
More Keys to Overcoming Objections in Sales…
Have you ever been in a situation where you think the sale is on track and going smoothly—but then the prospect suddenly ghosts?
Or have you ever had a prospect who wants everything you have to offer—but when you finally present the solution, they push back on price?
Or maybe you’ve been in a situation where you feel like “just another vendor”—pretty much begging for the opportunity to get that meeting?
Or, lastly, have you ever thought a sales conversation went great—only to have the prospect say at the end, “This was great, but I really need to think it over…” and then the sale just seems to stall?
If you’ve struggled with overcoming objections like these, chances are that you’re dealing with a common problem in sales today: You’re stuck in the old approach to selling and you haven’t yet applied the new model that actually works in today’s selling world.
This new selling approach gives you full control over every sales opportunity so you can avoid ghosting, price push-back, feeling like “just another vendor,” and getting “think it overs” from qualified prospects.
Yet most salespeople are still stuck in that old sales approach—doing it over and over again, expecting a different response, but getting the same sales objections every single time.
Enough is enough.
It’s time to break the pattern. In this video, I’m going to show you the exact process I’ve used to build my own business, while consistently overcoming objections like these—and helping thousands of clients blow up their own sales. Check out this video to learn the 8 must-know keys to overcoming objections in sales.
10. Stop overcoming objections.
Yes, you read that right. The first step to overcoming objections in sales is…to stop the process of overcoming sales objections in the first place. The old-school approach to sales, where salespeople are just trying to present their solutions right off the bat to prospects, inevitably makes the prospect push back with objections. This is a never-ending cycle that you probably find all too familiar.
The prospect and the salesperson essentially get into an arm-wrestling match at the end of the sales conversation—the prospect throws out objection after objection after objection, while the salesperson is ready with some crazy moves to try to overcome every objection they hear.
So if the prospect says, “You know what? Your price is too high,” the salesperson breaks out a move to overcome that objection by trying to convince the prospect that their price isn’t too high. Or if the prospect says, “I’d like to think this over, “ the salesperson is ready with some fancy move to try to overcome that objection.
The problem is, these “fancy moves” are still an uphill battle and most of them don’t work. As soon as they hear any kind of objection, most salespeople jump into a monologue of some kind that makes the sale start to fall apart.
That’s why the first step to overcoming objections in sales is to break this pattern altogether. It’s time to come to terms with the fact that overcoming objections isn’t a necessary part of the sales process. In fact, you want to be avoiding objections instead of overcoming objections—and we’ll dive into that more a bit later on in this article.
For now, just remember that the stronger you are in the sales process up front, the less likely you’ll be to get any real objections from the prospect at the end of the conversation. This is why great salespeople can actually avoid overcoming objections at all.
11. Have a sales process in place.
You must have a process in place that’s going to help you systematically take each prospect through the sale. In order to stop overcoming objections in the first place, this sales process is imperative because it will help your prospects recognize your value up front. As we’ve already discussed, this is key to stopping the cycle of objections at the end of the sales conversation.
Now, I want you to forget about the “traditional sales process” you’ve been taught before. That old-school approach typically starts with a haphazard prospecting strategy; then, once the salesperson gets someone interested, they move right into pitching or probing; straight after that, they start to present the solution; and then they move into overcoming objections and trying to make a hard close.
The problem with this old sales process is that at no point does your prospect truly recognize the full value of what it is you’re offering. Your new sales process, on the other hand, will focus on getting your prospect to recognize your value and feel like you really understand their problems—and you’ll be able to repeat this process on a reliable basis with every prospect you talk to. This is the foundation for consistently avoiding objections in the first place…and in turn, closing sales on a more consistent basis.
The two main pillars of your new sales approach will be to get prospects to recognize the full value of what you offer, and to make sure they’re ready to make an informed decision by the end of the sales interaction.
And that way, if a prospect isn’t a fit, that’s okay too. You want to avoid the prospects who are just throwing out objections because they don’t really want to do business with you, or don’t have the budget to follow through. This is a waste of time.
12. Disqualify prospects.
This brings us to the next step in overcoming objections in sales, which is that you want to be disqualifying prospects. If you haven’t followed much of my content before, this might sound counterintuitive—but stick with me.
Typically, salespeople do one of two things when they get in front of prospects. They either try to persuade prospects to do business with them right away, or they try to qualify them by asking probing questions that pretty obviously try to push the prospect in a certain direction.
The challenge with persuasion is that you’re basically assuming that every single prospect you get in front of is a good fit. And we all know that isn’t true. So, with your new approach to sales, you want to start thinking like a doctor and asking questions to determine whether the prospect is even a fit in the first place.
Remember, if they’re not a fit, that’s totally cool. You can just move on, part as friends, and focus on prospects that actually are a fit.
But if they are a fit, through the process of disqualification—by asking those appropriate doctor-like questions that are ultimately creating value and helping the prospect think through the best solution for their business problem—you’re creating massive value for the prospect and enabling them to see clearly how you can solve their challenges.
When you take prospects through the disqualification process, you can then present your solution in a relatable and insightful way that makes the prospect think, “Yes, this is exactly what I need. This person really understands my problem.” That’s the power of disqualification.
So, take that traditional, old-school sales model (haphazard prospecting; pitch or probe; present; overcome objections and close) and flip it upside down. Start out your new sales process by never assuming that the prospect in front of you is a good fit for what you have to offer.
The next time a prospect asks, “Why should I do business with you?” say, “You know what? I really appreciate your asking me. Quite frankly, at this point in the conversation, I’m not sure that I am the best fit for you. Would it be okay if I asked some questions to find out what’s going on and ultimately determine whether we’re a fit?”
You do that, and now the prospect thinks, “Whoa, this person is an expert. They’re telling me they’re not even sure if they’re the right fit for me…” This puts you in a position of immense strength in the sales interaction. Always disqualify.
13. Don’t present; solve problems.
After taking the prospect through the disqualification phase, if you determine they are a good fit, the next step is to solve the problems they mentioned. Remember, the overarching goal of every piece of this process is overcoming objections by avoiding them in the first place. That’s why we’re not launching into a presentation after discovering the prospect is a good fit. Instead, it’s time to focus exclusively on the key challenges they mentioned during the disqualification phase.
When you solve the prospect’s problem instead of presenting your features and benefits (which is what most salespeople do), you immediately separate yourself from the competition and create more value in the eyes of the prospect. So, don’t fall into the bad habit of the old-school selling approach and say things like, “Our prospect does all of these amazing things and that’s why it’s the right choice for you,” or, “Our service is the best in the industry and it’s going to be the number one option in the market for what you need.”
This old-fashioned feature-and-benefit selling is the sales model of the past. Presenting your features and benefits is really old-school; it’s been done for over 100 years. Your prospects, if they are even the least bit savvy, expect this behavior from salespeople and it immediately makes their walls go up.
Instead, you want to move from disqualifying—where you’re asking questions to find out what’s been going on in their world—to presenting in a way that’s all about solving their problems.
This is when you say something like, “Okay. So, based on what you’ve told me about challenge A, challenge B, challenge C that you’re facing, here’s what we think the solution would look like…”
All you’re doing is giving a short presentation focused solely on solving their challenges. It should consist of elements such as case studies to demonstrate that you understand the problems they’ve talked about in disqualification. Remember, the person who can best articulate a prospect’s problem is going to be the one who is perceived as the person who can actually solve that problem. That’s why presenting the solution is actually more about demonstrating that you understand the problem than it is about having a way to solve it.
Keep in mind, too, that the data shows that top-performing salespeople have much shorter presentations than average performers do. If you have 25 slides in your presentation and it’s an hour of content, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Tailor your brief presentations to focus on the challenges the prospect has mentioned. Nothing else. This is exactly how you can make sure you’re overcoming objections in sales by avoiding them in the first place.
14. Avoid objections in the first place.
We’ve been talking about this all along, but it’s such an important part of the new sales approach that it deserves its own section. I think I’ve made it clear already how integral this concept is to overcoming objections in sales and implementing a new sales process that actually works in today’s world. But I’ll say it again: You want to avoid objections, not overcome them.
Of course, there are some situations where you’ll do everything right in the sales process and still face some objections at the end. But the more you can avoid objections in the early part of the sales process, the stronger you’ll be going into the completion of the sale, no matter what.
By asking good questions anytime you hear something that might even sound like a potential objection down the road, you can do your part to avoid objections from cropping up later.
I’ll give you an example. If you’re dealing with a prospect who offhandedly says, “Right now, things are really tight,” don’t just skim past their comment. Many salespeople would just avoid having that conversation early on in the sales process. But what you should actually do is dig into it. Say, “You just mentioned that things are really tight right now. Help me understand what’s going on.”
Now the prospect will say something like, “Oh, well, you know, because of what’s going on we’re really cutting back on expenses.” And you’ll reply with, “Thanks for sharing that. When you refer to ‘what’s going on,’ can you unpack that a little bit more for me?” Dig into it deeply.
This could lead you to the moment where you say, “Since things are really tight right now—even though you’ve mentioned that you’ve got challenge A, B, and C—does it not make sense to deal with this conversation at the moment?” Let the prospect answer. They’ll either say, “No, no, we absolutely need to solve this right now and it’s a priority,” or they’ll say, “You know what? You’re probably right. This isn’t the best time for this conversation now that I think about it. We’re just not going to have the budget to make an investment in this at the moment.” And now you can disqualify them and move on to greener pastures without wasting more time.
By having these conversations early on in the sales process, you’re avoiding a ton of pain for yourself down the road. That’s the power of this process, and that’s why we want to avoid objections instead of overcoming objections.
15. Turn objections into opportunities.
With your new sales process in place, objections equal opportunities.
There are inevitably going to be times when you get an objection from a prospect, and that’s okay. You may be at the end of the sales conversation and they may have some objections. That’s fine. But most salespeople turn those objections into an arm-wrestling match, where the prospect is pushing one way, and the salesperson is pushing back the other way.
As we’ve already established, overcoming objections means that you must avoid that arm-wrestling match. But I want you to take it one step further and turn those objections into opportunities. The next time you hear an objection, don’t freak out and launch into your three-minute monologue trying to convince the prospect they’re wrong. Instead, slow it down. Pause. Take a couple of seconds to collect yourself then calmly ask questions to determine what’s really going on.
If you do nothing else as a result of reading this article, I hope you simply learn to pause and then inquire as to why the prospect mentioned that objection in the first place. This one simple act will enable you to take on a position of strength in the sales conversation. And it will also, in essence, turn that very objection into an opportunity to learn more and dig deeper into the prospect’s challenges.
This is especially key to overcoming objections because, quite often, objections are not really what they seem at face value. Salespeople tend to put way too much value on what the prospect says when they bring up an objection, not taking the time to dig and find out the actual impetus behind the objection.
If a prospect says, “This seems really good but it sounds a little expensive,” most salespeople will reply, “Oh, okay. Let me share with you the three reasons why it’s actually not expensive, and you’ll see that the ROI is so obvious.”
Instead, what I want you to do is pause and say, “Well, I really appreciate your mentioning that. Help me understand why you say that.” Now the prospect may actually say, “You know, we’ve done this kind of thing in the past and it was half the price.” Now you may say, “Oh, so tell me about how it went in the past.” Then the prospect says, “We worked with a different company and it was actually a complete disaster.”
Now you’ve gotten them to solve their own objection. They just said they did it for half the price before but it was a total disaster. That’s the power of this process. Slow it down and inquire.
Think of each objection as an iceberg. There’s always more than what meets the eye. The surface objection is immediately apparent, but what you really want is to dig deeper to understand what’s going on below the surface. That’s the important stuff.
By inquiring about why the prospect mentions an objection, you can turn every objection into an opportunity to strengthen the sale.
16. Get in front of the right people.
I wanted to save this piece for the end, because it’s so important. Far too many salespeople are not getting in front of the right people in the first place, consistently putting themselves in the situation where they’re selling to buyers who aren’t the right fit, or simply aren’t going to buy.
I’ve mentioned the concept of haphazard prospecting before—it’s a hallmark of the old-school approach to selling, and it’s incredibly harmful. Haphazard prospecting doesn’t help you get in front of the right people, and if you’re not getting in front of the right people…then you’re not only going to struggle with overcoming objections, but you’re going to struggle to close any sales at all.
That’s why I recommend using a process called the prospecting blueprint, where you really map out exactly who you want to get in front of—and then outline the step-by-step process for getting in front of those people. The first step is to get super clear on your IPP: your ideal prospect profile. Who is that person that will consistently buy from you? Figure that out, and then only sell to people who fit that mold.
17. Use mentorship and coaching.
This one of the most important pieces of the entire process. You must have mentorship and coaching in place to help you fully implement your new approach to selling.
Again, your new sales model will enable you not only to master the art of overcoming objections, but also to avoid those objections entirely up front. Mentorship and coaching is the most powerful ingredient to help you put it all together into a cohesive system that actually works, every single time.
I see so many salespeople and business owners out there who are struggling because they don’t have the right process in place. You must have rock-solid mentorship and coaching if you want to successfully implement a process like this—and, more important, if you want to crush through your sales goals.
Having that right process and that coach who can really push you in the right direction is everything. Because, again, I see salespeople over and over again who just hit their head on a certain number and they never seem to get past that. Chances are it’s because they’re stuck in the old model of selling.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel on your own. Instead, use a proven mentorship or coaching program to help you down a tried-and-true path to success with your new selling approach. I did this myself when I was first starting out. By investing in mentorship in my own career, I was able to build my own business and today I help thousands of people do the same. The right coaching or mentorship can help you avoid years and years of pain and struggle in your professional life.
So, my final piece of advice to you is to utilize mentorship and coaching to learn a proven process, invest in it, learn it, and continually improve your selling system. Then never look back.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.