When you meet a new client who’s facing similar problems and obstacles to your previous clients, it’s easy to assume that you know how your product or service will be able to help solve their dilemma. So you schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss taking the next steps together professionally. You do your homework and prepare for all the questions you’re anticipating being asked, and all the objections you’ve heard from tire-kickers before.
However, while you’re radiating confidence during your meeting, your potential client throws you a curveball objection like you’ve never heard before. And despite your hard work preparing for this meeting, you have no idea how to tackle this particular criticism.
Now, your gut reaction may be to furiously dig through your notes for an answer you know full well isn’t hiding beneath the mound of notes you took with you. So now you’re flustered and hoping this stumper doesn’t cost you the deal.
If you’ve ever gone through this painful ordeal, just know that you’re not the first. But let’s make sure it’s the last time a client rattles you with an objection you can’t resolve. With the help of today’s article, we’ll show you how to handle any objection like it’s second nature. And this advice will hold true for even the toughest objections that arise, including all the ones you haven’t yet prepared for.
Step 1: Uncover the (Real) Underlying Issue(s)
Chances are, the objection that initially threw you off was probably not all that different than the ones you’ve received in the past. Yes, it came across as a “new objection”, but in reality, it’s just disguised as a new one.
See, objections fall into four major categories. And once you organize them accordingly, you’ll know just how to react even when an objection is presented in a slightly different way.
Here’s a list of four of the most common objections by type:
- Price: “I’m just not sure we have the budget for this.” Or, “This seems great, but also expensive.”
- Need: “I’m not sure we really need this.” Or, “I just don’t think this will help us.”
- Time: “My team is super busy. I don’t think we have the time to learn something new right now.” Or, “This will take up too much time, which we already don’t have much of.”
- Features: “This seems complicated.” Or, “Does it do X? I really need it to tackle X and it doesn’t seem like it does that.”
Besides being able to categorize these objections, you’ll also have a clue as to what’s really going on in your prospect’s head when they use one of them. In fact, you’ll know which is most important to them (price, time, need, etc.) based on which objection type they spit out first.
Step 2: Practice Empathy
Your first step is to identify which category their rebuttal, or objection, falls under. Next, you’ll need to put yourself in their shoes to understand where it’s coming from.
Think about how their problem is affecting their job and their stress level. Maybe your product or service could replace the employee they don’t have the funds to hire. Or maybe they’re plagued by rising costs and decreasing profits and your team can provide the exact strategy they need to thrive.
How would you feel if one (or more) of your biggest stressors was suddenly solved thanks to this one simple (and maybe not so cheap) tool? You’d probably feel excited, but also hesitant. Well, that’s how your prospect feels. They want to make sure that what you’re telling them is not too good to be true. Because if it turns out to be too good, they’ll be left looking like a fool around the office, which is not something anyone is willing to sacrifice.
One last thing to keep in mind with empathy: This step goes further than just saying, “I understand where you’re coming from.” Or, “Most of our customers have felt this way too.” Avoid these generalizations since they come across as inauthentic.
Instead, use specific examples that relate as closely as possible to their unique situation. Pay attention to the clues they mention in their initial objection and use this to tie in your example. This shows your prospect that you’re not only listening, but offering a tailored solution based on your experience with the issue. By doing this, you’ll establish your credibility and earn their trust at the same time.
Step 3: Minimize Risks for Your Client (& Use Examples)
Each objection type can be matched with a corresponding risk for your potential client. If they decide to go with you, these are the real factors that must be considered.
Here’s an example of what that looks like using price:
- Price: “If we go with you (the more expensive option), I’ll be adding to our already growing list of expenses. And if it doesn’t help, I’ll have wasted all of that money.”
You can see that price isn’t really the biggest concern. It’s actually the feeling of wasting money that’s the real risk. A good way to combat this is to offer a free trial of your services so that they won’t have to “waste” a dime trying to see if you're a good match.
Keep in mind, you shouldn’t offer your services at a discount since this will lower the perceived value of them moving forward. By offering your entire service for free and for a limited time, they’ll understand the value of your product once they’ve tried it out. See the difference?
The more you can minimize their risks for choosing you, the better chance you’ll have at closing the deal.
Here’s another example, but let’s use time as our objection now.
- Time: “If we go with you, our whole team needs to learn a new system, which will take more time out of the day that we don’t have.”
A good way to combat this is to ask your client to walk you through how long it takes them (plus their team) to accomplish the specific task they’re struggling with. Don’t be afraid to probe for more details here.
You need to uncover a rough estimate of how long (from start to finish) it takes to knock this task out. Chances are, if it’s a real problem, it will take far too much of their time. Once you add up the rough estimate, compare that to how long it takes to learn and implement your product or service. Explain to your client that they’re spending far too much time on the problem, which is nothing compared to the small learning curve to transition to your service.
In this case, you’re minimizing their risk of spending too much time. Right now, they’re spending it on the problem when they could be spending their time wisely by focusing on the solution.
Again, as long as you can minimize their risks, you’ll be able to tackle any objection like a pro.
Now that you understand the four types of objections, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes before spewing out your rebuttal. Imagine how you’d feel given their problems and really try to understand what your prospective client is going through.
Once you do that, explain (and show) your potential client how your product or service can help solve their dilemmas while also minimizing their risks. This will make it very hard to say no to you and you’ll be in good shape to close the deal.