Objection handling is considered by many to be one of the most critical skills in B2B sales. If a prospect has no objections, the prospect either doesn’t care or is not a real prospect. Thus, objections are an opportunity to sell. Sales must be ready with the correct answers and the right tools to take full advantage of the opportunity. Developing and providing the right answers to sales objections is the responsibility of sales, marketing, and management.
Why do prospects create sales objections in the first place?
B2B prospects or leads will bring up concerns if they lack confidence in you or if they fail to see the worth of your offering. Furthermore, prospective customers may have other questions or objections which can allow them to measure product fit, improve their negotiation tactics, and persuade top management or other decision-makers.
Depending on the type of objections you meet, you may also be able to establish your lead’s purchasing purpose, which can aid you in navigating and handling the offer more effectively.
Therefore, as a B2B salesperson, you must learn how to overcome sales objections in order to reduce transaction failure and improve your leads’ pre-sales experience. This is the point that sales and marketing alignment is required.
When working in B2B sales and offering your products and services to businesses operating in extremely competitive industries, your sales communications need to be geared towards overcoming objections and determining a path through customers' skepticism and apprehension.
Importance and difficulty of B2B sales objections
Salespeople must be ready and able to address objections; marketing must enable sales to respond to these objections by providing answers and tools. For any company and product, few complaints exist. We may hear those objections in many different ways, but a high percentage of objections will boil down to a small list.
It is critical to ascertain two aspects of these objections: how important are they to the prospect and how difficult are they to answer effectively.
Overcoming sales objections will move you ahead
The objection is important to the prospect if the answer can move the deal in one direction or the other. An effective sales objection handling strategy will move you ahead; a poor one will lose your ground to the competition.
Therefore, handling objections must be a part of your B2B sales strategy. Some objections are difficult to answer effectively–for example, the answers may be complex or require significant technical knowledge.
Ascertaining the importance and the difficulty of an objection will prepare us to think about different types of sales objections and the responses that will nullify them. Thus, we can divide objections into four main categories.
Most common sales objections
Critical sales objections
The most important and difficult objections require the most attention, as they are critical to your success. A good answer will help your efforts, but doing an excellent job on a difficult question is, by definition, not easy. A company and its salespeople must take these objections seriously. Since the answers are difficult to deliver, a sales tool must be developed to provide a clear and concise explanation.
This sales tool may be a document, a brochure, a technical data sheet or a page on the company website. The sales tool will allow management to confer with sales, marketing, and others to develop the best answer to sales objections. The sales tool will ensure that the best solution is delivered consistently.
It will eliminate the need for individual salespeople to spend a lot of time understanding the issue, crafting an answer, and delivering it — thereby using the company’s resources more efficiently. The sales tool will also enable the individual prospect to share the answer with others in the prospect’s organization in a consistent form.
Important but not difficult objections
If a sales objection is important to the deal, it must be important to the sales process. These objections are not difficult to answer, so a salesperson should address them on the spot effectively. However, since it is important to the deal, the answers should be well thought out.
It is the responsibility of marketing to work with sales and management to craft answers that respond to the objection in the most advantageous manner. Often, these less difficult sales objections are excellent places to score points with a well-crafted answer. Can an answer be developed that sets a trap for the competition? Can we shift the playing field in our direction?
Marketing must develop the answer and communicate it to sales. The salesperson should respect that the answer has been developed to increase sales effectiveness and find ways to maximize this effectiveness. The salesperson should resist the urge to be creative and rather use the standard answer.
Difficult but not important objections
Although this category of sales objections is not very important to the prospect, a danger lies in the difficult answer not being well delivered and the objection becoming an issue. Therefore, sales should be given a standard answer to the question in a way that minimizes the difficulty of delivering the answer.
Not important and not difficult objections
These are the most common sales objections. Sales department should be expected to handle these objections without the assistance of marketing or management. These answers should be part of general knowledge that either the salesperson brought with them to the job or learned as part of meetings or a training process.
Objections may change over time
A key fact is that sales objections change with time. With changes in the market, competition, industry, and other things, yesterday’s objections are now obsolete or have changed. The sales department has an obligation to inform marketing and management about changes in the marketplace, including objections.
Even a company with a set of A+ responses to key objections must revisit the questions and adjust or develop new answers to reflect what has happened in the marketplace.
There is no common formula for sales objections and rebuttals. However, there is a practical pattern for how to handle sales objections. Recognizing why the objection arises is just as critical to persuading your leads as identifying the sort of objection. Oftentimes, the issue stems from a salesperson’s error rather than a prospect’s, and it’s critical to understand when to rectify it.
With a thorough understanding of your prospect and their position, you can design a personalized response using the general tactics outlined above. Properly handling sales objections assures the maximum potential customer conversion rate.