Handling Objections vs. Negotiating
- Handle sales objections by addressing your prospect’s concerns about your product or service in order to create technical, organizational, and personal buy-in.
- You are still selling at this stage in the process.
- The goal of a negotiation is to reach a mutual agreement about the value of your product or service.
- You have already been selected as the vendor of choice
Remember: Don’t negotiate before the prospect is sold, and don’t revert to “selling” once you’re in negotiations.
Don’t negotiate before the prospect is sold, and don’t revert to “selling” once you’re in negotiations.
Overcoming Objections in Sales
Objection Handling: Technique #1
Learn From Your Losses
- Review your lost opportunities over the past year and look for themes.
- Which sales objections came up most often? Which ones were the deal breakers?
- What areas will require product development? What can you work or talk around?
- Review your near-losses and close calls; opportunities you won but almost didn’t
- What were the biggest hurdles to closing the sale? How did you overcome them?
- Use these insights to create a “cheat sheet” of common objections and craft 2-3 potential responses for each. Test them out and revisit them often.
Objection Handling: Technique #2
Understand Your Prospect’s Real Concerns
- Why is the objection an issue for them, and why are they bringing it up now?
- No assumptions. Guessing at the prospect’s intention can put the deal at risk.
- In order to truly understand, you must:
- Validate and acknowledge the prospect’s concern (nurture)
- Understand the problem they’re facing and the reasons behind it (ask why?)
- Respond only once you’re sure you understand the real concern
- Never answer a question without understanding the context behind it!
- When in doubt, place the ball back in the prospect’s court. It’s their job to clarify.
Objection Handling: Technique #3
Stop Putting up Speed Bumps
- All prospects have a vision of their ideal solution. This gets them ready to buy.
- Your job is to help them realize that vision, not distort it.
- Salespeople distort their prospects’ visions by:
- Answering un-asked questions
- “Pitching” unwanted features and benefits
- Generally misaligning your solution to their pains or use case
- Saying anything that creates unnecessary risk in the prospect’s mind
Objection Handling: Technique #4
Go for the “No”
- “Is it over?” “Is this going to be a deal-breaker?” “Should we just call it quits?”
- “Walking away” tests an objection’s importance and identifies the prospect’s real concern.
- When there’s a particular objection that comes up repeatedly, don’t wait for your prospects to bring it up. Get it on the table early and seek resolution.
- This builds genuine credibility and rapport.
- Don’t worry: Just because you’re walking towards the door doesn’t mean you have to go through it… unless you want to.
Objection Handling: Technique #5
Understand That Pricing is NEVER the Real Issue
- Less certainty your product will solve their problem means greater pricing pressure.
- Solution: Learn what your prospects would need to see to justify paying more, then show them you can deliver (ROI).
- In other words: Let your prospects answer their own objections. You may not need to handle all of them.
Sales Negotiation Techniques
Negotiation: Technique #1
Have a Game Plan
- Determine your pricing “envelope” – your best, worst, and most likely scenarios.
- Create a list of potential negotiables – setup fees, minimum commitments, etc. – and assign trading values. Remember that contract terms have value too.
- Know your non-negotiables and stick to them.
- Remember your prospects will have their own envelope and negotiables too.
Negotiation: Technique #2
Consider Your Prospect’s Environment & Business Drivers
- What do you believe is of value to this particular prospect? Why?
- Internal & external factors influencing their decisions may include:
- Buying team, business challenges/goals, and individual motivators
- Short- and long-term strategy – expansion, relocation, new technologies, etc.
- Competitive pressures, market trends, and general business environment
- Determine their most likely alternative – a competitor, develop in-house, or doing nothing
- What unique advantages does your product or service provider?
- This will determine how much leverage you have
Negotiation: Technique #3
Never Give Anything for Free
- Always get something comparable or greater in return when you give concessions.
- Know what items could sweeten the deal for you:
- Commitment to sign within an agreed-upon timeframe (EOM, EOQ, etc.)
- The longer initial term (annual vs. monthly contracts, multi-year agreements)
- Case study or reference account, use of the logo in marketing materials
- Introduction or referral to other potential clients
- Better payment terms (upfront vs. monthly payments, shorter collection times)
- “Freebies” lower your solution’s (and company’s) perceived value
Negotiation: Technique #4
Know When NOT to Negotiate
- Providing certain concessions create undue risk to the business, regardless of how much you may want the deal, the new logo, or the revenue.
- Owners and Sales Managers: It’s your job to know when these times are.
- Set guidelines, implement check-and-balances, and stick to them.
- This is easy if you’ve done a good job creating your pricing envelope and valuations.
- Live to sell another day…
Negotiation: Technique #5
Quarterback the Process
- Consider the various buying centers involved: project sponsors, technical buyers, legal, procurement, etc.
- You must always be working these functions in parallel.
- As a seller, it is your responsibility to drive the procurement process.
One Final Tip:
Successful sales objection handling and negotiating ultimately comes down to:
- Knowing yourself, your customers, and your marketplace.
- Remembering that “pricing objections” are really about conviction and value.
- Having a game plan and never giving anything for free.
- Owning the process and maintaining control.