10 objection handling techniques every B2B salesperson should know

by Steli Efti

Nothing defeats an inexperienced salesperson faster than an unexpected objection.

Most salespeople invest hours perfecting their pitch without a second thought to what comes afterwards. But even a perfect pitch can be ruined by poor objection handling.

If you’re tired of losing deals to responses like, “Your price is too high,” “Now isn’t a good time,” or, “We’ll buy if you add these features,” it’s time to get serious about overcoming objections.

Instead of hoping your prospects won’t have objections (they always will), spend some time preparing for them in advance.

Use our list below to start overcoming sales objections and closing more deals.

1. "Your product/service is too expensive."

When a prospect says your product is too expensive, it isn’t always about price. In many cases, they have the budget for your product, but you haven’t demonstrated enough value to justify your price.

But sometimes it isn’t about price or value. Sometimes your prospects will use the pricing objection to hide their real concerns. The first thing you need to do when you hear the pricing objection is find out what’s really going on.

2. “We’ll buy if you add these features.”

Feature demands are common when selling to enterprise customers. They’re used to getting what they want, and what they want is for you to customize your software to their needs.

When prospects demand features that aren’t aligned with your vision, the best thing you can do is walk away. You may lose some accounts over this, but that’s better than compromising the integrity of your product. Besides, you’ll be surprised how often taking the deal away is all it takes to close on your terms.

3. “Your solution isn’t a priority right now.”

When a prospect says your product isn’t a priority, one of three things is true. You’re either selling to the wrong customer, you aren’t pitching to your prospect’s priorities, or your prospect is masking their real concerns.

First things first: Uncover what’s really going on. Then you can customize your approach based on their situation. In most cases, you just misunderstood what was really important to them.

4. “You’ve got a great product, but we’re going to go with [the industry standard].”

With a failure rate of 90%, it’s no wonder prospects hesitate to commit to startups when they could keep using the proven incumbent. Your product may be better, but the industry standard is safer.

The trick to winning over these prospects is presenting an option they haven’t thought of: Using both solutions. Turn an “either-or” situation into an “and” situation and you can close even the most stubborn prospects.

5. “Just email me more information and I’ll get back to you.”

Your prospect may have good intentions when they promise to get back to you, but you’ll probably never hear from them again. When you leave the responsibility of follow-up to your prospects, you’re basically surrendering the deal.

Agree to send them more information, but don’t hang up yet. Ask them an open-ended follow-up question like, “Just so I know what to include in my email, can you tell me …”

Usually that’ll lower their guard enough to start a conversation, and you won’t end up needing that email afterall.

6. “I don’t have time to talk right now.”

If you hear this objection early in the sales cycle, your prospect is just trying to get you off the phone. Your response needs to convey that you only need a few moments of their time to provide a ton of value.

If you hear it later in the sales cycle, it means you’ve dropped the ball. They were interested, and now they aren’t. Your price has exceeded your perceived value and, until you tip the scales, you won’t close the deal.

7. “I can’t make a commitment until I meet with [other decision-makers].”

The larger the businesses you sell to, the more common stakeholder meetings will be. They slow down the sales process, but can also be powerful sales tools. The trick is getting an invite.

Next time your prospect says they need to meet with other decision-makers, find out if you can be present (even just over the phone). If this meeting is between all relevant stakeholders, you may be able to close the deal on the spot.

8. “We’ll buy soon.”

This objection is another example of good intentions. The prospect may want to buy from you next week, but something’s going to come up. Next week turns into next month, and next month into next year.

When a prospect says they’ll buy sometime soon, find out if there’s anything that could happen to derail the deal. If there is, create an action plan. If there isn’t, walk them through the virtual close so you both understand exactly what needs to happen next.

9. The gatekeeper

Gatekeepers are living, breathing objections and, in many cases, they’re the first roadblock you’ll face. How you interact with them determines the direction of the entire deal.

The gatekeeper is a unique objection because they can become one of your most valuable assets. If you can convince them to buy into your vision, they’ll become your internal champion and most vocal advocate.

10. “No,” “No…” and “No!”

There are three different kinds of “no's” in sales. Early in the sales cycle, it means, “You haven’t provided enough value,” later in the sales cycle, it means, “Not yet,” and at the end of the sales cycle, it means, “I'm not interested.”

Each “no” requires a different response, so the trick is learning to differentiate between your prospects’ rejections and responding accordingly.

Create your own objection handling plan

These 10 sales objections are some of the most common you’ll encounter, but they aren’t the only ones.

Each market has its own objections. If you aren’t prepared for those, you’re going to lose deals to someone that is.

Create an objection management document for your market. This document should be a list of the top 25 objections you face, along with a 1–3 sentence response for each. If you work with a team, collaborate on this project together.

You don’t have to recite these responses word-for-word, but you should at least have them in the back of your mind. That way, when you hear one of those 25 objections, you have a strong foundation and can deliver confident, compelling responses every time.

Anyone can close the easy deals

No deal worth closing will come easily, but that doesn’t mean you should make it harder than it needs to be. Here are a few tips to turn objections into sales:

  • Next time you practice your pitch, practice your objection handling skills.
  • Every time you successfully overcome an objection, make a note of what you did.
  • Talk with other salespeople about the responses that work for them.

And the next time you get frustrated by your prospect’s sales objections, remember: Anyone can sell to eager prospects. Salespeople exist for the difficult customers, the ones who say, “No,” “Maybe next month,” and, “Yes, but …”

So start overcoming objections, and stop letting them overcome you. Create your objection management document, practice your responses, then get out there and crush it.

Recommended reading:

Manage any sales objection successfully!
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