Why Better Objection Handling Leads to Less Friction in the Sales Process

September 20, 2018 Chris Orlob

Your initial conversations went well and you did an amazing demo. But when you check in on your prospect, it all comes to a screeching halt.

We’re not interested. I’m not the decision maker. We’re too busy now to make a decision - let’s talk about in x months. I need more information. It’s too expensive. And the list goes on. 

Instead of sulking in the corner, consider what you can do to address their objections and if you can help get them to a “yes”. At the end of the day, an objection is better than a definite “no” because it gives you a place to begin your next conversation. 

Be Gracious

When your prospect responds with an objection, try saying “thank you!” This may seem counterintuitive, but an objection can actually be an opportunity to address all of their concerns right up front. 

Take Your Time to Respond

Another technique to overcoming objections is never immediately respond with an answer. Instead, pause. In fact, you should pause for much longer than feels comfortable. Let their objection put you into slow-motion.

Just look at what top reps do...

They pause 5 times longer (!) than their average performing peers. Further, low performing peers hardly pause at all, and in many cases, interrupt the customer upon receiving an objection. So instead of pouncing on an objection, chill out, listen, and then reply.

Slow Down and Talk Less

When you’re too eager to overcome an objection, you’re not thinking clearly -- you’re in panic mode. You know what else happens in panic mode?

You talk faster.

Up to 188 words per minute, instead of maintaining a standard 173-176 like a star rep:

Talking in panic mode also makes you highly likely to launch into a “knee-jerk” monologue for up to 21.45 seconds. This long, uninterrupted spiel is not the way to go. It reeks of insecurity and it’s ineffective:

What’s more, reps who respond too quickly to objections often address the wrong issue. This makes it seem like they weren’t paying attention, which frustrates the prospect. They jump in to save the day and end up only making things worse. 

Remember to slow down and keep a healthy back-and-forth conversation.  

Ask More Questions

Instead of being overly eager to solve the problem at hand, take a step back, and try to understand every possible angle of your prospect’s point of view. Ask questions. It seems simple, but not everyone does it well. 

Top reps follow up an objection with a question 23.3% more than their average performing peers:

However, you can’t just ask any old “yes” or “no” questions. In order to discover the root of a problem, ask open-ended questions. If the customer can respond with only one word, then you need to rephrase your question. If you get stuck, just do what the average preschooler does and ask “why?” -- you’ll be amazed at how powerful that little question can be.

Keep Things Fluid

Once your prospect responds, your follow up is important. If your response is both thoughtful and inquisitive, you will have a more productive conversation. 

Furthermore, you’ll have a healthier back-and-forth flow between you and your prospect, even when though an objection has been raised:

Once you’ve handled the objection appropriately, ask, “Does that make sense?”  Top-performing reps don’t use that phrase more often than anyone else, but they do use it at three points in the conversation: agenda setting, scheduling next steps, and objection handling. Doing this can help you close the loop and move to the next phase of the sales process.

Have Backup Ready

When addressing any objection, you may need additional industry research or customer success stories to back your statements and illustrate the value of your product or service. You can start by finding out what analyst firms say about your industry and product or service and incorporate this information into your conversations. Customer references are a great resource because their stories often represent a pain or objection that was overcome with success. 

And if you still need extra backup, pull your team into the conversation. Team selling makes you up to 258% more likely to close a deal than flying solo.

I’m not kidding. It’s a huge game changer:

Having just one call in your sales cycle with multiple participants moves you closer to that 258% stat. 

Pro Tip: Don’t have more than four on your side of the call (after 4 is where the benefits start to drop off). And don’t have multiple participants during a discovery call (doing so means your success rate will likely drop). 

While there’s no exact combination of words to say to overcome any and every objection, these data-based tips will help drive the conversation.

Need help with other areas in your sales process? Check out our 12 best sales process tips of all time! (It’s the best list you’ll ever read!) 

Featured Image Source: Young team of coworkers making great business decision in modern coworking office by SFIO CRACHO Shutterstock

About the Author

Chris Orlob

Chris Orlob is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Gong.io. - the #1 conversation intelligence platform for B2B sales teams. Gong helps you convert more of your pipeline into revenue by shining the light on your sales conversations. It records, transcribes, and analyzes every sales call so you can drive sales effectiveness, figure out what’s working and what’s not, and ramp new hires faster.

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