One of the greatest challenges in sales is overcoming objections. What most salespeople struggle with is how to interpret the stalls, lies, and misdirection customers use to get out of having to commit to a sale today. The reality is, if customers object in some manner they will not buy, and that is their right.

When we understand that objections come from one of six things that are missing, we are better equipped to fill the appropriate void and move things forward without confrontation or hurt feelings.

The 6 objections in sales are:

  1. Lack of funds
  2. No perceived urgency
  3. Lack of confidence
  4. Conflicting priorities
  5. Lack of value
  6. Bought elsewhere

The real trick is to learn how to read between the lines and find out the root cause of their objection. Once you’ve identified the root cause, it’s infinitely easier to come up with valid rebuttals to close your sale today.

Lack of Funds

There are two types of customers with this objection.

  1. The ones who actually do not have the means to get the money, or
  2. Everyone else.

90% of the potential prospects that salespeople will be engaging have the means to buy whatever they want, within reason. It then becomes about priorities. What the typical customer is saying when they tell you they don’t have the money is that they have not prioritized any money for the thing you are selling. This is particularly true if the salesperson is prospecting, and has approached a client seemingly out of the blue. Leveraging the language of hype is your best chance of getting the customer to come in and buy your thing. Just remember that the more intensely you apply hype, the fast the race you are on to zero profits.

When attempting to close a deal that is more than the customer has either verbalized already or imagined in the theatre of their mind is the second instance when this objection arises. If they have committed to a particular number in their negotiation either internally or externally, they may come to believe it to be a true and fixed rule. Until you find a way to change their belief, you won’t be able to change their behaviour.

There’s a particularly effective way to pull out this objection and determine if it is, in fact, a budget issue, or a lack of value.

No Perceived Urgency

If a customer feels indifferent about buying today, they will not buy. It is always safer, easier, and cheaper to sit home in my pajamas and eat potato chips. We call this the path of least resistance. This is different than the prospective customers who are pretending to not be interested to throw you off their scent. You’ll notice these customers will stay engaged in the conversation, continue to ask buying questions, and linger at the product when left alone.

Urgency starts with how they entered into the sales arena. If you called them, out of the blue, wanting to sell them something, you must come in strong with an offer that’s too good to be true. To lock the customer down, you will need logic hooks and a limited window of opportunity to ignite their fire. This is the language of hype. Just be warned, that when you use hype, you are going to invite in the transactional customer.

If the customer opted-in to your sales arena, their actions were the first demonstration of intent. If you’re receiving signals that they are somewhat passive, apathetic, or indifferent, this is your queue to turn on “the show”. Give them everything you got, and leave it all on the table. When you deliver entertainment, hope, encouragement, and delight, your chances of closing the sale based on pure emotion alone go up significantly.

Normally what happens in a retail environment is that the salesperson quickly becomes disengaged and starts looking for easier fish to fry. This is a mistake, particularly if there are no other customers to talk to at the time. While it takes considerably more energy and effort to persuade this customer, they are very often introverts looking for an overly friendly extrovert to adopt them. These people will be loyal for life if you feed them with love and attention.

Lack of Confidence

If your prospect perceives your product or service to be inferior in relation to other products or services, you not only have to sell the product or service but the supporting brand story to build trust.

Hyundai continues to battle this type of reputation today, even though they are selling a far superior product today than they were when they entered the American marketplace. Often curious customers peek into Hyundai showrooms, appreciating the look and feel of the new models, but then find themselves saying, “yeah but, it’s a Hyundai. They’re cheap cars.” Even though their senses are in full disagreement, their belief system continues to guide their conscience.

Hyundai salespeople today are very skilled at selling not only all the value packed into their vehicles but also in selling them on the transformation of the brand. It is this story of transformation that sway the naysayers.

Conflicting Priorities

When there is more than one decision-maker, there are often conflicting priorities. When different things are important to each individual, it is important to find ways to move the sale forward. Before you can do any deal, you first have to facilitate the negotiation between the decision-makers to settle on a final selection. Without a final selection, all you’re having is a conversation, and conversations don’t make mortgage payments.

Once you have an agreement on selection, you can go about negotiating the deal. Be inclusive in your presentation to ensure you don’t alienate the secondary decision-maker. Gaining small buy-in along the way allows you to keep the second decision-maker on your side when looking to complete negotiations. A second decision-maker is the first person to spoil an otherwise good deal. Be sure to recognize that conflicting priorities could mean that you have a saboteur conspiring to sully the deal at any opportunity. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Lack of Value

People won’t buy if their money is worth more than your thing. Only when the value you are delivering exceeds the value they place on their money, do you get to do tradesies. This means you have to sell the benefits of what your thing delivers, not what your thing has for features. Where salespeople often run into issues is when you attempt to sell something that has an intrinsic value, but the customer doesn’t value it as much as it costs.

For example, if you are trying to sell a car with a sunroof, and the customer doesn’t care if it has a sunroof, all you’re doing is trying to sell them something that is not worth the investment for them. The way to handle this when discounting is to either find them what they want or to discount the value of the thing they don’t want off of the price. When you perceptually remove the barrier, you stand a greater chance of selling the item you have in stock.

Alternatively, if you are attempting to sell a customer a product/service that is missing something that they value, it will be perceived as inferior. Your thing has to become disproportionately cheaper for them to settle for the inferior product. This will often sully the sale, particularly if your client can find the preferred product/service elsewhere.

Bought/buying Elsewhere

Particularly when prospecting, you are going to run into people who have recently purchased, or have committed to purchasing a similar or same product/service you are selling. If the contract has not received consideration on both sides, the contractual obligation has yet to be fulfilled, leaving room for you to sell the client your product/service. In this instance, I always recommend caution as you wade into grey area both legally and ethically. If you do find an opportunity, you may be dealing with the worst type of buyer (the one that would sell their mother for a wooden nickel).

In rare instances, you will come across a very good human being who does not like the buying experience of their current provider, and you can win the sale. This is totally reasonable, but be sure to operate ethically, and with clear and detailed upfront agreements on how and what to expect to ensure you don’t fall victim to the same pitfalls as your competitor. Fair play is a valuable asset in every business arrangement.

Good selling.