“The biggest mistake I see organizations make when it comes to managing objections is that they lump objections into one big category. And they handle objections as obstacles,” Brainshark’s Chief Readiness Officer, Jim Ninivaggi, says.
First, it’s critical that all reps have the same mindset that objections are actually a good thing. Yes, you read that correctly! This is because objections give sales teams a glimpse into the mind of the buyer. Jim says that when reps hear an objection they should Pause. Ask a question. Confirm the need. Then satisfy the need.
Asking questions will help reps understand and uncover pain points that buyers may have not known they had.
Since no two buyers are alike, buyer objections shouldn’t be seen this way either. Jim discusses a framework developed by AchieveGlobal that includes 4 types of buyer objections along with strategies for expertly handling them.
Objection #1: Misunderstanding
This is when a buyer doesn’t understand something about your solution or is misinformed about your solution by a competitor. An example of this type of objection would be, “I spoke with a sales rep at X company and they informed me that you don’t have the ability to integrate with my accounting software.”
How your reps should respond: Rather than immediately correcting the buyer, begin by asking why those integration capabilities are important to the buyer. This gives reps a chance to see the reasoning behind the buyer’s need. If the buyer says that it’s important for the data to sync to avoid entering it twice, reps should answer with something like, “We work with many organizations that use that accounting software which is why we worked hard on that integration.”
Objection #2: Skepticism
According to Jim, this is one of the best types of objections reps can get because it shows that buyers are interested enough that they are looking for proof as to why they should purchase your solution. An example of this type of objection would be, “How do I know your solution will work for a large organization like mine?”
How your reps should respond: Reps should respond by empathizing with the challenges that a large company faces. Then offer a source of proof. For example, “I understand the challenges you’re facing. I’d like you to talk with company X who is a similar size and went through a similar implementation of our solution.”
Objection #3: Drawback
This type of objection is often one of the toughest for sales organizations to face. A drawback is something about your company or your solution that you simply can’t change, such as features or capabilities. No solution is going to check all the boxes for every single buyer.
How your reps should respond: Jim suggests that reps should reframe the objection for the buyer, and get them to focus on the positive aspects they’ve already agreed to by minimizing the drawback and putting it into context. For example, reps could respond with, “We’ve agreed that we have these 5 capabilities that you stated were the most important things on your list, do you feel that outweighs the drawback?”
Of course, one of the most common objections in this category is price, which can be negotiated as a last resort. Jim states that too often reps move to negotiation as soon as they hear a price objection. This is why it’s critical to have objection handling strategies in place. Sellers’ first reaction should be to keep selling instead of negotiating, reframe the situation for the buyer, and remind them of all the benefits they will receive.
Objection #4: Indifference
This happens when the buyer doesn’t see a need for your offering or if they are happy with their current solution. For example, “I don’t see the need for a social media analytics tool.”
How your reps should respond: Jim explains that the strategy here is to ask a few great questions that uncover needs and interests the buyer may not be aware of. For example, ask how they are currently tracking their social media efforts, then help them see the gaps in their current method and how your solution can help.
One more step to objection handling success:
Once reps have completed their objection handling courses, it’s important to reinforce the message to make sure it sticks. Design individual coaching activities for reps, asking them to respond to some of your most common objections.
Managers – or peers – should then rate and provide feedback to help reps hone their objection handling skills. The best examples can then be turned into training content on objection handling scenarios for other reps.