Objections are a part of life in sales, but they can be especially difficult to deal with in B2B sales. Unlike B2C, you’re not always speaking directly with a decision maker, and you have the added difficulty of needing to align your offering with the long-term goals, strategies, and budgets of your prospects.
This upfront work pays off. Companies that excel at lead nurturing have 9% more sales reps making quota. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you prepare, you’re still likely to face a few objections when it comes time to present your offer.
To help, in this article, I’m going to give you the top five most common sales objections you’ll face in B2B sales, tips on how to overcome them, and then I’ll give you a few bonus tips to take with you.
- The Price Isn’t Right
- Passing up the Chain
- What’s the Rush?
- Meh, Don’t Need it
- We’re Already Using a Competitor
- Bonus Tips for Any Objection
Let’s dig in.
#1: The Price Isn’t Right
Price objections are probably the most common objection you’ll run into, and can include anything from the flat cost of your product to your payment terms (i.e., big deposits, weekly payments, etc.).
In B2B sales, your audience is particularly concerned with return on investment. They’ll spend a lot of time weighing your price against the perceived value they get in return. Be alert though, because price is such a common objection, it’s sometimes used as a decoy. Clarify your prospect’s real concerns as you work with them.
One way to handle price objections is to further demonstrate the value of your offerings. If your product has enough value, then the price will almost never be a real issue. Ensure that your prospects are aware of each of the services and specific benefits that you offer.
You can also put a value on individual services to demonstrate how buying them separately would be even more costly, or frame your service as a cost-saving opportunity. Demonstrate that despite the upfront cost of your service, it will ultimately pay for itself in X number of months.
Finally, if they ask if there are discounts available, don’t just throw out a number. Ask them what price they would see as acceptable, and see if you have offerings that make sense for their budget. If you throw out too low a price, you might end up leaving money on the table.
#2: Passing Up the Chain
In B2B sales, your prospect might say they need to discuss with their peers or a superior before purchasing.
If this happens, try to learn more about what their colleagues might want to know and possible objections they might have. Either handle those objections then and there, before it gets passed up the chain, or schedule a meeting and come prepared with responses.
Alex Birkett, growth marketer at HubSpot and co-founder of Omniscient Digital, has this to say:
“I learned this from the great book ‘Never Split the Difference’: always learn who may be making decisions behind the scenes. Ask questions like, ‘How will this affect the rest of the team?’ and ‘Who else may be impacted by this project?’ The more you know, the better.”
Encourage your prospect to bring this information to their superior, and offer to send it by email as well.
#3: What’s the Rush?
Businesses often go through cycles of need for certain products and services. If you catch them at the wrong time, there might not be a need or urgency to purchase your service.
Ben Johnson, Head of Content at Proof, explains how your business, and your customer’s industry, affect you during different times of the year:
“It’s important to be aware of seasonal fluctuations that affect your sales cycle — and how they differ by who you’re selling to. For instance, if you’re selling live chat software to e-commerce businesses, they’re unlikely to want to try it out in November, right before their big end of year Black Friday and Holiday traffic spike. Whereas an accounting software website might want to try out your software at that exact point in time, before their tax season traffic spike.”
Your two options on how to deal with this kind of objection, either time your offer well or show how the value of your offer is timeless.
To perfectly time your offer, you need to begin in the nurturing and prospecting phase. Learn when your product or service is most relevant. For example, if you offer meeting-planning services, see if you can figure out when big annual meetings or conferences are. This will make your offer more compelling.
To show the value of your product is timeless, restate the benefits your service provides throughout the year. If we stick with the meeting-planning example, you can explain how your service also manages email contacts, RSVPs, and customer satisfaction surveys, which are all needed before and after meetings occur.
#4: Meh, Don’t Need It
This objection can often be the hardest to swallow and deal with. Sometimes prospects would rather just keep doing things the old way, or they don’t see the benefit of changing — so they’ll say no to your entire product.
In B2B sales, the hurdle of changing systems or processes can be a big deal. To handle this objection, learn what aspects of your offering they like and what aspects they feel they could do without. Then see if you have a package that matches those preferences so they’re only paying for what they want and nothing else.
Use this opportunity to restate case studies of similar companies and the benefits they received from using your product or service. If you can, use a case study that involves the prospect’s competitor, so you can also tackle the objection, “This might work for some other company, but not a company like ours.”
You want to prove that you can help your prospect without disrupting their process.
#5: We’re Already Using a Competitor of Yours
Your prospect might tell you that they’re already in a contract with a competitor of yours.
If this happens, learn more about what the competitor is offering and what the prospect is getting. Then you can make an argument for better value over price (bigger results, benefits more relevant to their needs, etc.)
Using customer reviews and social proof can help showcase your product’s value as Levi Olmstead, Director of Marketing at 2ndKitchen, explains:
“Customer reviews are the ultimate weapon — especially in times of comparing products. Ask the client what their biggest issues and complaints are with their current product, and showcase how much better this feature is with your product by having real-user reviews ready to go. Many review sites even offer side-by-side comparisons of certain products. Set yourself up for success by ensuring your product looks better than your main competitors in those side-by-sides by encouraging all customers to reviews your product.”
You can also try to position your services as an “and” instead of an “either/or.” If you have a standalone product or service that addresses a need that their current service doesn’t offer, then you have a way in.
Bonus: Tips on Handling Any Objection
The key to overcoming objections: Don’t let them see you sweat.
Here are some final tips on how to leave this impression.
First, listen carefully to objections. Avoid interrupting or becoming defensive.
Be calm, friendly, and empathize with their concerns. Show that you’re an active listener by repeating their concerns to them to confirm you have everything right. Ask them open-ended, clarifying questions so you can learn more about their concerns, and so you don’t waste time handling the wrong objection.
Don’t wing it. If you’re not sure you have something that fits their needs, don’t guess. Let them know you’ll need to talk to someone higher up to design a customized offering to meet their needs.
Build a long-term relationship. Even if you don’t close the sale this time, leave the impression that you want to be of value to them in the future. Make sure they know where to reach you if they change their minds in the future, or need your help on something else.
Get to the heart of the problem. Objections are a natural part of the sales process, so try to learn about possible objections early and work to minimize or overcome them.
Sometimes when a prospect names one of these basic objections it’s a polite way to cover up for a different objection. Stay patient, be an active listener, uncover the real concern, and then address each concern directly.
Now, once you’ve identified the objections, use the tips above to minimize and overcome those barriers.
What hurdles have you encountered (or overcome) in B2B sales? Share your experiences in the comments below: