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Objection Handling Techniques For Negotiating In Sales: How To Earn Your Worth

Dan Thompson

March 5th, 2017

objection handling negotiation sales

Handling Objections vs. Negotiating

Objection Handling:

  • 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.

Negotiation:

  • The goal of a negotiation is to reach 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.

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.
  • 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.

objection handling in sales negotiations

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 provide?
    • 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.)
    • Longer initial term (annual vs. monthly contracts, multi-year agreements)
    • Case study or reference account, use of 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 the seller, it is your responsibility to drive the procurement process.

One Final Tip:

objection handling in sales negotiations

In Summary

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.

*Editors Note: Recap post of the Deck presented at Sales Hacker Series in New York City by Dan Thompson, East Sales Director, Smarsh.

About the author

Dan Thompson

Proven sales leader with a passion for building and developing high-performing teams of trusted advisors and customer advocates. Dan believes in a team-first approach to exceeding revenue and growth targets while fostering an environment that encourages collaboration, continuous improvement, and personal and professional achievement.

  • Matthew Mendenhall

    If there’s one takeaway I have from this, it’s don’t negotiate when selling, and don’t sell when negotiating. Even in my book The Art of Making the Sale https://t.co/VDYO5hZCJB, I train my teams to do the exact same thing – Acknowledge the customer, understand what it is they’re asking, relate with them so they know you’re on their side, build value that offers a solution to their objection, then close them and move onto the next topic.

  • Andrii Popov

    Thank you for the great article. Dan, you are considering objection handling from completely different viewpoint. I recently gathered all tips and tricks about how to handle sales objections ( http://www.logision.com/knowledge/sales-objection-handling ) and connected with your article can give an ultimate knowledge in this area.

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