During the sales process, a prospective customer or client may be pushing back on reasons to invest in your product or service. Listening to these customer objections—regardless of what they are or how they are expressed—is incredibly important and can serve as a learning tool for you and your sales team.
Below, Forbes Business Development Council members share some tips for handling clients who like to push back. Follow their recommended strategies to help your company move forward in a positive direction to better serve future clients and prospects.
1. Be Honest
As they say, “The fastest way to it, is through it,” the “to it” in this case being a joint solution. Address your weaknesses and strengths. This will inherently build more rapport and confidence in knowing your solution or service is the right one for the company, as well as future culture fit. – Zachary Troyer, Sliderule
2. See It As An Opportunity
Proactively addressing customer objections is part of marketing 101 techniques and when done right, objections shouldn’t be the salesperson’s “problem,” but instead their greatest opportunity. By the time an objection hits a salesperson, the customer should ideally have formed those objections because of marketing efforts upstreamed to educate. A customer with objections is one who is engaged and eager to know more. – Jack Borie, Ubix
3. Listen To Customer Wants And Needs
Always be open and listen to what your customers and partners want to share with you, whether it’s feedback, a complaint, a good review or any other sort of commentary. Nobody wants to feel like they are just part of a transaction, and it should never be that way. We are all human beings. Work together to achieve the desired goal. Strive to be more. – Laura Vidiella del Blanco, LedgerPrime
4. Help Customers Make Smart Decisions
Most sales professionals handle an objection with pre-canned answers, but the true underlying reason is that the customer doesn’t see the value of your offering. The best way to resolve this is to proactively provide every piece of information possible to help the customer make a solid, objective, quantifiable ROI-driven decision. Become a trusted advisor and help them with their decision-making. – Gautam Vij, FEITIAN Technologies
5. Know When To Hand Off Customers
Know that not every customer is a good fit. You should be leading with value and a problem-solving mentality and not just looking to make the sale. Know your support structure in your network and be willing to hand off customers to those that can better serve their needs and solve their problems. People will return to those who helped them when they needed it and put their interests first. – Jethro Hopkins, Fulcrum HR Consulting LLC
6. Ask Follow-Up Questions
One way to handle customer objections is to not only address immediate concerns but to ask follow-up questions to better understand their needs. These should be open-ended to keep the dialogue going in a natural way while also garnering deeper insights into the product or the service. These insights open the door to better serve customers and also proactively address similar issues with prospects. – Annu Baral, LatentView Analytics
7. Rephrase Their Position To Show Understanding
We strongly recommend not handling objections but resolving objections. Make sure you can “steelman” what the prospect has said to demonstrate your understanding of their position. “It sounds like…” or “I heard you say…” lets them know you listened to understand, not just to respond. – Lance Tyson, Tyson Group
8. Look Closely At Your Offerings
In my opinion, customer objections are a vital part of the quality control process. If a customer objects to a portion of your services or lack thereof, it’s important to take a close look at your systems and offerings. I am always open to change, reasonably. Even the customer who is loose with his or her words can often have a point, so listen! – Adam Lyons, The SMART Blueprint
9. Offer Options For Rectification
Customer objections are a great way to save a potential lost sale and future sales! Thank them for their objection, accept responsibility if at fault or explain the circumstances if not, and offer two options for rectification. This makes them feel in control and encourages reflection. Without the objection, you miss out on the learnings for improving your products and services for future sales. – Angelica Kopec, She Knows Business
10. See It From Their Point Of View
Listen, listen, listen. Then ask more questions, make sure you understand and try to see it from their side. Usually, there is a missing piece they didn’t hear in your presentation that creates these doubts or objections. Then just answer in a calm manner. But no worries, objections are great as they show there is interest on their side for your company to solve the problem. – Manuel Sordo, Apera AI Inc.
11. Remind Clients Of Their Goals
As a digital agency, we start every customer engagement with a discovery session which includes identifying goals and data-driven KPIs. We handle customer objections by bringing them back to their goals and asking if their objections align with their goals or take away from them. Reminding clients of the goals, and the data that informed our strategy to reach them, re-aligns our engagement. – Janet Waring, ArtForm Business Solutions, Inc.
12. Be Open To Questions
Objections are inevitable but should never be seen as the end of the relationship, but rather as a new beginning on the path to a more meaningful relationship. As you seek to uncover the real concern, empathize and use this interaction as a base for increasing trust and mutual appreciation. Questions always open doors. View it as an opportunity for both parties to learn and engage. – David Fanning, Paralyzed Veterans of America
13. Validate Your Customer’s Concerns
Customer objections should be viewed as an opportunity to differentiate yourself as a trustworthy partner. Start by validating the concerns your customer voiced, ask questions to clarify and better understand where they’re coming from, actively listen and then share a potential solution or alternative route that helps mitigate the objection. Establish trust and the value you provide as a partner. – Reed Carpenter, UpSlide
14. Offer A Robust Solution
I feel an objection is an excellent opportunity to understand the customer’s needs. Try and ask as many questions as possible to understand their concern. Ensure that your demeanor is calm, upbeat and curious. Once you know the root of the problem, give a robust solution to their problem. – Ashu Goel, WinWire
15. Collaborate With The Customer
Objections can be positive as it allows space to identify and address potential issues. It can cultivate honest and valuable dialogue around the client’s needs and how your service or product can potentially solve a customer’s concern. Objections also allow you to collaborate and work with the client on a potential issue together, often resulting in better outcomes and higher customer loyalty. – Quyen Pham, Swoon