The following guest post is from TechnologyAdvice, an Inc. 5000 company based in Nashville, Tenn. that is dedicated to connecting buyers and sellers of business technology.
Plenty of leads make it to the sales accepted stage, but that doesn’t guarantee they’re ready to buy, or that they’re even receptive to a conversation. Any outbound agent or sales development rep (SDR) will probably tell you they’ve lost count of the unproductive phone calls they make.
About 73 percent of B2B leads are not sales-ready, and only 5-10 percent of qualified leads convert into business opportunities. Those figures are devastating, considering the whole purpose of sales development is to move leads toward a decision.
Let’s take a closer look at your prospective buyers. For the most part, they’ll fall into one of three camps:
They have no objections to buying your product or service: This kind of buyer is a veritable unicorn — pretty much not a real thing.
They have real objections to your product or service: While not impossible to win over, this buyer has serious reservations. They may require concessions before considering your product, or may not be a good fit in the first place.
They use objections as a smokescreen to avoid the sales conversation: This kind of buyer is evasive, but may actually be a good fit for your product. If you know how to handle the conversation, you may have a new customer on your hands.
As a salesperson, your job is to discern which kind of lead is which, and then work around objections to keep the conversation moving. The first half of that will come out of the lead qualification process. How are you defining and scoring qualified leads? Ideally, marketing and sales teams will work from a shared definition. This keeps sales reps from wasting their time chasing bad leads and helps marketers align their efforts with revenue.
Even so, there’s a lot at stake in a B2B purchase, and buyers don’t want to make a mistake. You will still encounter objections. Keep reading for our top tips for salespeople about overcoming objections.
Here are five of the most common sales objections, followed by tips for overcoming them.
1. We’re already using Competitor X’s product
Classic scenario. You call to talk to a prospect about the benefits of your solution, and they tell you they already have a contract with your competitor. Don’t let this shut you down.
First, ask them how satisfied they are. Are their needs met? Do they have access to all of the features they want? Have they ever considered other providers?
But don’t stop there. Be prepared to talk about specific advantages your product offers that others don’t. E.g., Our marketing solution is the only platform on the market with a free, built-in CRM. Ideally, you’ll also have a working knowledge of your competitor’s product and the ability to point out its weaknesses.
2. The timing isn’t right
When a lead tells you the timing isn’t right, they’re not just saying, “We aren’t ready.” They’re also saying, “We aren’t sure yet.” This can be tricky because you don’t want to lose the sale over a timeline issue, but you also don’t want to be forceful. If the lead isn’t ready to make a decision, a hard sell might be just enough to turn them off for good.
Show respect for their timeline (“I completely understand” is always nice), but keep your foot in the door: tell them you’d like to set up an appointment to follow up, say, in 30-60 days. In the meantime, give them something to chew on. Send over some sales development material, like a case study, a features and pricing guide, or a free demo. You never know. They might change their timeline if they discover a pressing need or an overwhelming benefit.
3. [Your product/service] isn’t in our budget
Another tough one. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to offer a price discount, but that’s a bad choice for two reasons. First, a price discount isn’t always possible. Second, a price discount cheapens the perceived value of your product. If you so quickly agreed to reduce the price, was it really worth the sticker price to begin with?
Instead, focus on showing the prospect the unique value of your product and explaining why the price is set at its current level. E.g., In addition to our free, built-in CRM, we also offer round-the-clock customer support, a dedicated account manager, and unlimited data storage. A lot of what you can offer will depend on the flexibility of your pricing structure. You may be able to “bundle” products or offer a lower pricing tier to shave off some of the costs.
4. Uncertainty: We need to think about it
Your lead says things like, “We’re not sure it’s the right move” or “We need to discuss it with our leadership team.” If the buyer is still uncertain after you’ve discussed how your product aligns with their needs, you’ve got a couple options.
The first is, again, to emphasize the unique value of your product — and not just from a feature standpoint, but the from the standpoint of how it will improve the way they conduct business. Part of this discussion may involve some kind of brand promise or “guarantee” to alleviate concerns. E.g., We guarantee ROI within 90 days.
Second, you can offer a sample or trial period during which they can try your product/service for free without risking a lost investment.
5. Lack of authority
Sometimes, you don’t start out with the right contact. Maybe you’re talking to an email marketing specialist, but you need to reach the program manager or the CMO. In some cases, the first contact may use this as an opportunity to evade your inquiry.
“Well, I don’t really make those kinds of decisions, but I know we aren’t looking for a new platform,” they might say.
With the right amount of tact, you can use this as a chance to connect with the right decision-maker instead of losing the lead completely. Try to set up an appointment or get the desired contact’s direct line, since this gives you the power to initiate. You can’t expect a busy executive to return your (unsolicited) call.
It’s important to keep in mind that no matter what you say, some prospects truly have no interest in your product. So don’t be too pushy. Overcoming objections isn’t about winning an argument. It’s about keeping the conversation flowing and giving leads the opportunity and the information to make an informed decision.
For more information about handling sales objections or improving your prospecting efforts, contact ZoomInfo today. Our business database is the tool you need to achieve ultimate sales success.
Aleksandr Peterson is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, CRM, project management, human resources, and other emerging business technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.