Overcoming objections: 5 methods you need to know

Once you’ve had a conversation with a sales lead, every salesperson wants a smooth journey to a conversion. Unfortunately, objections often slow the process down, or can derail it completely.

Winning a new customer is another step towards hitting targets. Whether those are metrics-based (such as the number of new clients), or the value of the contract, every win is worth celebrating.

However, objections can get in the way of achieving those goals. Can objections be overcome?

Yes, they can. Not all of them every single time, but they can be overcome.

Some of the most common objections come down to this common sales acronym: BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing). For the purposes of this article, we’ve also taken a look at how you overcome the objection that a company is already working with a competitor.

One of the most effective ways is to overcome objections before they come up. You can do this during the qualification process. But if they come up later, during an initial conversation or after you’ve sent a proposal, then there are ways to overcome them.

5 methods for overcoming objections

#1: Budget

“We don’t have the budget right now.”

Always a tricky one, since without a budget you can’t work with new customers. Unless you’re giving them a free trial for a limited period; which is still meant to come to an end when a company starts to spend money to keep working with you.

So, how do you overcome this one?

Approach the problem from a series of angles: What can you afford? If the total quoted is too much, can they manage a lower amount. See if you can come to an arrangement that delivers what the client needs. Maybe not everything originally quoted, but a lower value package of services for a lower rate.

Budget is the only one that’s somewhat more difficult to overcome. If a client has the money, and you’ve ticked every other box, and they like/need what you’re offering then they should go ahead. However, if not, then it might be insurmountable.

From questions on price and budget, you might find cost isn’t the only factor. In which case, it could be one of the following options:

Is it a question of timing? Does something else need to happen before they can go ahead.

Does someone higher-up need to be convinced? In which case, it’s a question of authority. We cover that below.

Has the need not been identified correctly? If they don’t understand the need, then this issue should be addressed.

How urgently does this problem need addressing? Timing is everything in sales. It makes a big difference between when targets are hit. Unfortunately, you can’t get clients to say yes depending on sales targets. But this is an objection that can be overcome.

A company already working with a competitor. Yet again, this can be overcome if other requirements are met.

#2: Authority

“I need to get approval from my [manager].”

During the qualification process, salespeople need to find who gets to make a decision.

Are you already talking to the decision maker?

If not: Ask them who decides and who controls the budget?

Hopefully this is the same person, and you only need to convince one budget holder/decision maker. However, generally speaking the more money is being spent, the more people are involved. A small software expenditure, maybe below $100 a month, might only need one decision maker, whereas spending $100,000 will involve a small team.

Use smart questions to find what the budget holder(s) needs to know before they will approve the spending. It might involve putting together a detailed proposal, or you might need to do a call/demo with them, alongside sending over a proposal, probably with case studies.

#3: Need

“I understand the value, I’m just not sure we need this right now.”

Need is specific, and means different things to different companies, and timing is everything.

Say something needs fixing, a mechanical problem and it’s time-sensitive. It could be costing a company $50,000 a day the longer the problem goes unfixed. How valuable does that make the solution? Very, and there would be an urgent need to solve the problem.

We can say the same of the container ship stuck in the Suez Canal, the MV Ever Given. The cost to world trade was around $9.6 billion. Hence there being an urgent need to solve the problem.

Most business needs for a new product or service aren’t that urgent, or that needed, but a clear need should be established. That should happen during the discovery phase, or demo, when asking smart questions to determine what a potential client needs, why they need something, and how exactly your product/service solves a particular problem.

#4: Timing

“Now’s not a good time; but you can call me back next quarter.”

Is it a question of timing, or does the budget not exist, or do they not need it enough?

If a problem needs a solution, but it’s not urgent, then time is a key factor.

Ask smart questions to identify this. And if not actually timing, then seek to identify whether it’s a question of money, or a decision maker being too busy with other things to make a decision.

#5: “We already work with [competitor]”

Is this an objection you can’t get over? Not necessarily. It depends what your competitor does.

If you do the exact same things, then yes, it makes sense that a competitor means you can’t work with a potential client.

However, if you do things that complement one another, rather than directly compete, then your services should align. Providing a timely need is established, and a budget holder is happy with the idea, then you can deliver another service, alongside a competitor.

When you need to overcome objections, here are the most common covered in this article:

  • Is it a question of timing? Does something else need to happen before they can go ahead?
  • Does someone higher-up need to be convinced? In which case, it’s a question of authority. Aim to convince the budget holder or decision maker, or both.
  • Has the need not been identified correctly? If they don’t understand the need, then there are several ways to address this issue.
  • How urgently does this problem need addressing? Timing is everything in sales. It makes a big difference between when targets are hit. This is an objection that can be overcome.
  • A company already working with a competitor. Yet again, this can be overcome if other requirements are met.

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