This assessment may be disconfirming at first glance, and if you are like most clients we work with, there is a far more favorable view internally about your business’s value-add, trust building, and differentiation. However, this enthusiasm and perspective is often not shared by your target clients. Unlike you, their reality is the few dozen businesses who are seeking their attention daily. Given they don’t have the same, fulltime exposure to your business that your internal team does, their viewpoint is a direct function of their perspective, understanding, and initial impression when engaging your business.
Instead of figuring out immediate rebuttals, it’s critical you sit with these a little, marinate in them and recognize the world your target client lives in. Seek to understand their thinking, their needs, their biases, their decision making criteria, and the fact that they are totally NOT aligned on the following five deal terms. It’s their reality and you won’t win by making them wrong. It’s all about having a real understanding, empathy, and owning it all. What if you own the full set of objections? What if you build your sales collateral with all this in mind, and become far more on the client’s side instead of trying to “close” them? What if you are viewed as experts looking to partner with them, because they are the hero in their journey and you are a trusted guide/expert helping them fulfil their goal? We’ll discuss more on this later, but first let’s first look at the classic sales objections many of you face daily.
The following objections are the most frequent ones we experience with from working with our clients. Instead of figuring out immediate rebuttals, it’s critical you sit with these a little, marinate in them and recognize the world your target client lives in. Seek to understand their thinking, their needs, their biases, their decision making criteria, and the fact that they are totally NOT aligned on the following five deal terms. It’s their reality and you won’t win by making them wrong. It’s all about having a real understanding, empathy, and owning it all. What if you own the full set of objections? What if you build your sales collateral with all this in mind, and become far more on the client’s side instead of trying to “close” them? What if you are viewed as experts looking to partner with them, because they are the hero in their journey and you are a trusted guide/expert helping them fulfil their goal? We’ll discuss more on this later, but first let’s first look at the classic sales objections many of you face daily:
Price is too high – This is where the fee that you set for your product/services is viewed as far higher than what the prospective client wants to pay and this prevents the deal from going through. This fee objection could be a function of the client’s budget, a competitor bid, the perception that your pricing is too high regardless of any other factor, or a combination of these. Many sales executives have limited flexibility on this key sales motivator and thus have to disqualify the lead.
Timing- not ready right now – This is when the prospective client moves through the sales funnel and even goes to the point of contract review, and then tells you that, “you know, the timing is not good right now for this. We recently had X/Y/Z happen, so let me get back to you when the timing is better.” This is usually painful to hear as it all looked so promising up to this point and then boom, the deal is on hold indefinitely.
Competitors are better – This happens when a prospective client either stops you at the first sales conversation or later in the process, and tells you that they just really feel good about a competitor and have decided to work with them instead. The deal is then deemed lost to competition.
In-sourcing this capability – This mainly applies to B2B professional services where a prospective client determines they want to internalize this capability. This may be an internal hire or an entire department set up to work off a methodology. This deal is deemed lost, as there is no longer a need.
We already are working with someone – This is one of the most common scenarios, as many people already have the businesses they work with assigned and have many years of product/service history. Fear of change and the risk to switch to another resource is simply not in the cards. When you compound that with the risk of internal politics and responsibility if things go wrong, they often feel it too high of a risk and prefer the status quo, as they do not see a value in switching.
Do these sound familiar? Beyond a reactive rebuttal, what can be done institutionally to your sales approach, infrastructure, collateral, and overall sales story to account for these common objections? Even when applying our recommended strategies, these may never go away completely, but the frequency of these objections and their dominance, when they do arise, decreases.
1. Establish High Value
Do you believe what you are offering the prospective client has significant value to them? If so, distill and define this core value and ensure you connect it to the pain point they are feeling. It’s important to keep everything in context to the prospective client’s reality. The ability to effectively communicate value is an absolute must in any sales conversation. This is more than talking about the typical unique value propositions, but instead featuring those from the perspective of the prospective client and how they directly solve the pain points they care about.
The best way to build high value is to deeply understand what the client cares about and what the core pain attached to their immediate need is. What are their external AND internal problems? How is not having a solution causing them pain? Can you quantify that pain in terms of time and dollars lost? Can you check in with them and ask if they also agree with your assessment of the exact cost to them in terms of time and money lost due to this pain? And how much will it continue to cost them if they don’t resolve this immediately?
There is nothing more sobering than quantifying the client’s pain together, so you both are on the same page in terms of its magnitude in a tangible sense. The reason this establishes value is because the prospective client is now aware of the cost in real time and dollars from not having a solution in place. Assuming your solution is a fraction of the cost of their issue, then it has tangible value, objectively speaking. This is to balance out pricing objections, but also for them to value who you are, what your company stands for, and your commitment to their success. There are always hard value points (e.g. price) and soft value points (relationship, service, reliability, efficacy, etc.) Understand what these are for your client, and navigate accordingly.
Value is perceptual and circumstantial, and thus subjective. Your ability to effectively build high value for your product/service also does wonders to eliminate competition concerns. Once they are aligned with the value of what you offer both on a hard and soft points, then the deal is yours. If they don’t view your solution in this way, then yes, competition is something to be concerned with.
We have also seen how an effective value creation strategy that results in a high perceived value from your client actually overrides their desire to internalize that function. The reason is because if indeed you deliver at a world-class level with multiple hard and soft benefits that they simply cannot replicate, then you have yourself a client for life.
Finally, establishing a highly superior value in the minds and hearts of potential clients creates a new spark of enthusiasm and excitement, where even if they have a pre-existing relationship/solution, they simply can’t deny the value your company brings to the table. If this value is perceived as a higher order of magnitude than what they are currently using, then for them to consider changing to your solution may not be too far-fetched.
Effectively communicating value changes everything, master this one skill and your sales will skyrocket.
2. Build Trust
Trust is often a binary thing where you either trust someone or you simply do not. Many times, this happens subconsciously on many hidden layers that are not easily accessible.
Like most things, your internal world reflects outwardly on your external reality. Do you trust yourself? Are you confident in your decisions? Do you have a strong sense of self? Are you honest with yourself? Do you have integrity – not selective integrity when others are looking, but true, deep integrity?
If not, then it should be no surprise why trust issues show up in business, with friends, and in your personal life. This is an important area to work on in terms of personal development.
If you do, then building trust is not an issue, as you have a rich inner relationship with yourself. When speaking from that place, others can just feel it and know you are trustworthy and honest.
Trust impacts all five of the objections above . When there is mutual trust then so much goodness flows from sales conversation. It’s as if it’s no longer about an offense and defense role between the two, but more about the expert/guide looking to add value and the hero on their journey assessing if it’s a right fit. Having trust changes everything.
Establishing trust is first established with your genuine expertise, past results, and showing authority via others, in terms of testimonials and client references. When engaging in conversation with a potential client, it’s imperative you establish sales rules of extreme honesty, integrity, reliability, and a direct, service-minded approach. These do much to help the prospective client feel comfortable and understand you are seeking is to add value,. And if you do, then it makes sense to start a new working relationship. This is not a sales tactic. It is a deep personal development practice where the rewards of self-growth are multiple, including building trust easily with others.
3. Differentiate [please do]
Many industries, especially technical ones, fail to differentiate themselves in a superior way. Why are many of the presentation decks of wealth managers and their closing processes virtually identical? Not only in terms of content, but even down to the navy-blue brand colors? This is the same with medical groups, insurance companies, industrial engineering, and real estate investment firms. This is true for the majority of cases, but there are always stand-outs who recognize this and they want to seize the opportunity to effectively differentiate themselves.
Differentiating means that you present ourselves and your offerings in a highly different way than the competition. Various aspects this differentiation can apply to include:
When your business is highly differentiated, by definition, you stand out and have your own unique voice that’s been calibrated to attract the exact kind of client you want to work with. In a highly differentiated setting where, superior branding, sales know-how, and company culture are apparent, magic happens. Many of the top five objections fall to the background as you have intrigued and compelled clients to see you differently, as a highly relevant and attractive option.
It’s exceedingly difficult to sell when you are very comparable, and maybe even seen as inferior, to the competition. This weighs heavily in sales conversations. We have seen backlashes when companies are lower priced than their competition and offering very comparable products/services, because of their poor branding, messaging, and differentiation. They are suddenly deemed a lesser option, as they are cheaper and don’t look as reliable as a competitor. This is an example when price is not the winning factor in the deal.
There are many other sales objections, and respective strategies to combat them. Get in touch with us to set up a free consultation about your exact situation and we’ll be happy to offer highly customized insights and support.