“Your price is too high.”
“We don’t have a budget.”
“Send me some information.”
Objections like this can really throw you off balance.
Why? Because your gut tells you to “counter” or “overcome” the objection.
But when you go into convince mode, you create sales pressure. And nothing makes people retreat more than sales pressure (it’s why you tell retail sales associates that you’re just browsing).
So rather than launching into convince mode, top performing sales people use a different approach: they view objections as an opportunity to uncover the truth and to determine if there’s a fit.
Notice I said, “determine IF there’s a fit.” It’s possible that your potential customer isn’t a fit for your product. Or that they really don’t have money. Both of which are perfectly reasonable outcomes.
When you see objections through this lens, sales pressure is eliminated because you’re focused on determining IF there’s a fit NOT selling.
The mindset is to help your potential customer achieve their desired outcome EVEN IF that has nothing to do with you.
Let’s look at how to apply this approach to a common objection (no budget) using a 5 step framework.
[Prospect] “We don’t have a budget.”
Step 1: Shut your mouth
Often times if you wait a beat or two your prospect will tell you more. Further pausing before responding helps you avoid slipping into “convince mode”.
- Take a breath (or two) after your prospect voices their concern. This will help you respond in a calmer, more peaceful way.
[Sales] (Counts 1 . . . 2 . . )
Step 2: Acknowledge
[Sales] “That’s not a problem Lisa. Not having a budget can certainly put the brakes on things. Why not just put this on your personal credit card? We take American Express and Visa . . what’s the problem?
- Validate that you heard your prospect’s concern.
- Next make them smile. Humor can help diffuse sales pressure.
Step 3: Isolate
[Sales] “Lisa, other than budget is there anything else that you’re concerned with?”
- You want to understand all your prospect’s concerns so you can see the big picture.
[Prospect] “Nope, just budget.”
Step 4: Understand
“Got it. Just budget. So Lisa, is this a cash flow thing or do you folks literally have a zero bank balance?”
- Get to the real concern or truth. If it’s a cash flow thing, perhaps you can split up the payments.
[Prospect]: “It’s a zero bank balance thing.”
- Now that you’ve uncovered their real concern, it’s finally time to respond.
Step 5: Respond
“Got it, no cash. Ok, let me back up a second, is generating more sales leads (their desired outcome) one of your top 3 priorities?”
- What I’m doing here is trying to determine if what I’m offering is aligned with an outcome that’s a top priority. If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes,” then part ways, because you have a nearly insurmountable wall to climb. If the answer is “yes”, then help your prospect align their budget with their desired outcome. Let’s take a look at what this sounds like . . .
[Prospect] “Yes, it’s a top priority.”
[Sales] “Got it. Lisa, feel free to say no, but allow me to ask: would you be open to exploring how we’ve helped other VP’s of Sales align their budgets with their most important outcomes? Not for now, but just so you have it in your back pocket in the future.”
- Giving people permission to say no increases your chances of your prospect saying yes.
- Referencing a “peer” that’s been in their situation helps make things more relatable while building credibility.
- “In the future” diffuses sales pressure because it removes the urgency of “now”.
[Prospect] “Yeah, OK. Let’s do that.”
If you can apply this approach when you hear an objection, you’ll not only reduce sales pressure but your stress level as well.
Pro tip: make a list of your common objections. Then write out responses to each objection using the framework above. Next practice, practice, practice. Practicing will help you feel more confident and in control when objections come up.