No matter how prepared you think you are for your presentation, objections can – and will – come up. Perhaps you missed something in your discovery, the prospect’s circumstances have changed, or new people are involved. While it’s impossible to prepare for every potential objection, the overwhelming majority of objections you will get during your presentation will fall into one of 5 common categories.
Preparing for these 5 common objections in your presentation can keep you from being blind-sided and increase your success rate.
5 Common Objections in your presentation
This common objection comes in a variety of forms: “You’re too expensive,” “We don’t have room in the budget,” or “Your competitor is cheaper.” Regardless of the packaging, this objection appears on the surface to be all about price. And if you’re competing on price, you have made yourself a commodity.
The antidote to competing on price is establishing value, however before you leap to respond, you need to dig a little further. Is it really about price? If so, what is your prospect basing his expectations on? Is he comparing apples to apples or apples to aardvarks? Does he have dated or inaccurate information? Get to the real root of the price objection in order to address it effectively.
While the need for your product or service should be part of your qualification process, prospects may surprise you in your presentation with statements like, “I’m not sure we’d really use this” or “I guess it would be nice to have, but I can’t really justify it.” These are signs that you haven’t successfully connected your product or service to your prospect’s needs yet.
A needs-based objection requires you to take a step back and reconfirm your discovery findings with your prospect. If their needs have changed, you’d be wise to devote the remainder of your time to having a discovery session so you can uncover their current status and needs. Once you’ve identified a true need, either adjust your presentation on the fly (if time allows) or reschedule.
Complacent prospects are frustrating. Their reasons for clinging to the status quo usually fall into one of 3 areas: 1) They can’t (or won’t) see how much better their current circumstances could be with your product or service. 2) They do see the potential, but simply don’t care enough (in which case, you are probably talking to the wrong person) Or 3) they are afraid of change.
Status quo buyers need to have a powerful reason to change. You must clearly define − and stress — the consequences of no change versus the positive impact of change.
Prospects who are afraid of change need reassurance that the risk is low and rewards great. People only walk through their fear if they are convinced that the rewards more than outweigh the risks. Fear is an emotional response however, and logic can only go so far. To effectively address fear you need to be able to provide social proof or shift their perspective. Click here for tips on how to sell against the Status Quo.
Feature or functionality
Many times prospects get hung up on the notion that they need a specific feature or capability — one that you don’t offer. Unless you know this feature is critical to their success (in which case, why are you there?) don’t get into a head to head battle about why your prospect doesn’t really need it. Dig deeper to uncover what your prospect thinks this feature will accomplish for him. Make a list of all must-have features with your prospect. If you can establish that the objection isn’t a deal breaker, you can often move past this potential sticking point and on to building a case around the features you do provide.
“This just isn’t the right time for us,” or “maybe next year” are disappointing things to hear any time during a sale, but particularly during your sales presentation. Timing is often a stall, which means you need to narrow down what the real objection is. Did they see value in your proposal? Are there concerns about price or implementation?
The best way to deal with a timing stall is to pre-empt it in discovery. When does the prospect need to have a solution in place? Is there a new regulation, a product sunset, or an internal deadline that your prospect needs to meet? If you’ve found this out and still get this objection during your presentation, stop and reconfirm that the prospect’s deadline still exists. If it does, explore what other solutions they have in mind and what happens if they miss this deadline.
You can’t prepare for every possible objection. Review your discovery notes to make sure you have a full list of potential objections. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and ask yourself what your concerns might be. If you do a little homework and have a strategy around handling these 5 common objections in your presentation (plus any unique to your industry or product) you will improve your chances of a successful outcome dramatically.