Four Types of Sales Objections and How to Overcome Them

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Sales Process

Objections come in all shapes and sizes and rear their ugly head throughout the sales process.

You’ve likely encountered responses like:

  • I like your solution, but I don’t think it’ll work for us
  • I’ve been talking to a few other providers and your fees are at least 20% higher
  • Sounds good in theory, but I have a pretty full plate for the foreseeable future
  • We’re already working with someone who handles all of our needs in that area
  • I just don’t think a project like this is within our current budget

Overcoming objections is an important step to winning any sale. How you approach objection handling is often the difference between gaining a new customer and losing an opportunity.

The Four Most Common Types of Objections

Objections tend to fall in four common categories, regardless of the product or service you sell:

  1. Lack of need. Buyers either don’t perceive the need to solve a problem or don’t perceive there is a problem. In this case, what you’re selling doesn’t resonate with the buyer or they simply don’t see the value in what you offer.
  2. Lack of urgency. Buyers don’t see the full impact and value of your solution. Typically, when urgency is an issue, other priorities trump your project.
  3. Lack of trust. Buyers feel uncertain about you, your solution, or your company. In this case, buyers may have a need and want to address it, but they don’t believe that you can achieve or deliver what you say you will.<
  4. Lack of money. While this is the most common objection, pricing objections can also be a disguise for something else. It’s important to get to the heart of the matter.

Identify which category objections fall into as they arise so you can respond to them effectively.

A Simple Process for Overcoming Objections

The next time you’re on a sales call and there’s an objection, follow this simple,  powerful process to handle objections and move the sale along.

Listen: When sellers hear an objection, their first instinct may be to address the objection immediately. They want to immediately overcome it and move forward with the close.

This, however, leaves hidden and un-voiced objections lingering beneath the surface. Instead of responding immediately, ask the buyer: “What else?” Get to the bottom of what’s really concerning them. Give them room to speak. Let silence fill the air as they ponder the question.

You may find that their first objection is not the real problem after all.

Understand: Seek to understand the objection. If you followed step one, you know many objections hide underlying issues that the buyer isn’t ready to articulate. Often the true issue is not what the buyer first tells you.

Seek to get to the heart of the objection. Use “why” questions to clarify. Questions like:

  • Why do you think that?
  • Why is that important?
  • What caused you to have that concern?

Respond: Address the objections and concerns after you’ve uncovered and understood them. Discuss the most important one first and, if possible, work to resolve the issue immediately. If it’s an objection you need to look into, let them know the next steps you need to take and when you will get back to them.

Don’t let any objection linger longer than necessary and don’t leave any objection untouched or unaddressed.

Confirm: Work to gain commitment from the buyer on the resolution. Ask the buyer if they’re satisfied with the resolution, don’t just assume they are. Ask if there are any other concerns. Don’t move forward until all concerns have been addressed with confirmation.

Some objections require a process to overcome and there won’t be an immediate answer. If this is the case, schedule another time to continue the discussion.

This process is so powerful and effective because it solves the problem most salespeople face: they rush to overcome sales objections too quickly. Buyers don’t like that, and it puts them on the defensive. With these four steps, sales reps are more likely to earn the trust of the prospect in order to then dispell their concerns. before dispelling their concerns.

Planning Ahead for Common Objections

Think about the common objections you hear and write them down. Then ask yourself:

  • How can you respond to this objection? What are the different responses or negotiation options for each situation?
  • Are there any actions you can take in the future to minimize this objection? Addressing objections upfront before a buyer has a chance to articulate it can help move the sale through the process more quickly.

Thinking about objections ahead of time and practicing how you will respond will go a long way toward effectively handling and overcoming objections.

The next time you’re faced with an objection, remember to listen, understand, respond, and confirm. Follow this process and you will not only overcome objections but also win more sales.

Mike Schultz is the bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 73 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential.