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How to Resolve and Handle Common Sales Objections

A sales objection is a statement or question posed by a potential client that indicates that they might not be interested in or willing to purchase a product or service. The ability to effectively resolve sales objections is a critical skill for sellers. Richardson’s Resolving Sales Objections model helps sellers develop the skills that they need to engage customers in a needs-based dialogue that helps them understand and respond to customer objections in a way that allows them to better position their solution.

Model for Resolving Sales Objections

There are two critical dimensions of the Richardson Resolving Sales Objections model, especially regarding complex and critical corporate-wide issues.

  1. Technical Knowledge: Technical knowledge about the product or service solution that you are selling enables you to develop a credible and substantive response to potential client objections.
  2. Communication Skills: Even the most thorough response can fail to satisfy the client’s objection if it is not delivered effectively. The key is to create a dialogue, connect, tailor your response — and not lecture your client.

The “right” answer can seem wrong if it is too long, too short, too technical, or positioned inappropriately. What you think is the “right” answer can even reinforce the objection you are trying to dispel.

For example, a client may say, “Your X is not as good as your competitors’.”

Regardless of how technically prepared you are to deal with this (or any other critical objection), unless you understand what the client truly means and what the concern is, your response cannot be as on-target and specific as it could be if you understood more. You must understand what the concern is, whose concern it is (is it your client’s, their colleagues, or something that a competitor has provoked?), etc.

However, to begin your response with your question can seem challenging to the client. By first acknowledging or empathizing before you ask a question to clarify and deal with the objection, you will connect and be able to reframe the negative situation. It is vital to acknowledge the concern — not with a wooden statement but with genuine acknowledgment. Most people mentally acknowledge, but it stops there and so does the connection. For example, you would say,

Karen, I appreciate your telling me your feelings, and I want to understand the concern about our quality vs. our competitors’.

Then, ask your question.

By first acknowledging the client’s objection, you will have paved the way for your response to the sales objection. Even if your experience with the client and your expertise make you confident that you understand what the client means, there are still compelling reasons to acknowledge the client’s question before providing a counterstatement.

By finding out how the client sees the situation, you can avoid making assumptions, learn more, distinguish yourself as someone who listens, and position your response persuasively. In addition, acknowledgment of the objection encourages a more complete response from the client.

How to Effectively Resolve Sales Objections

Only by staying connected and understanding more about the client’s specific issues that are driving the objection can you persuasively position your technical knowledge and help the client be open and receptive, therefore hearing what you have to say.

Sales professionals with superb skills know that there is more to resolving a sales objection than the “answer.”

They know that the client is the key to the solution.

Effective sellers follow these five steps to resolve customer objections:

  • Empathize with or acknowledge the client’s objection to connect with them and demonstrate an understanding of their needs and concerns.
  • Ask clarifying question(s). Listening to the client and drilling down to get to the true motivation behind the client’s objection enables sellers to better craft a relevant and powerful response to the objection.
  • Position a response so that it is concise and targeted. Being able to supply a succinct response demonstrates that you understand the problem and have the ability to offer a simple solution.
  • Check for feedback to confirm understanding and that the response addresses the client’s concerns.
  • Repeat the process until the client’s concerns have been adequately addressed.

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It is crucial for sales reps to be able to handle and recover from objections because they are unavoidable. Richardson's chief marketing officer, Andrea Grodnitzky, shares insight into the importance of utilizing an effective sales objection resolution model.