Overcoming sales objections is an essential part of the sales process, but it seems a topic that people I speak to either neglect or are fearful of.
It can be straightforward to counter customer objections, but before we get into that, I should describe what I mean by objections and what I mean by overcoming them.
What Are Sales Objections?
Sales Objections Definition: In sales, objections are anything that stops a customer from buying from you.
Note I said, “From you“. Although we are interested in what stops a customer from buying at all, we are mainly interested in why someone doesn’t buy from you.
Overcoming Objections Meaning
When I say to “overcome” the objections, I am not describing a process where you battle, cajole, or manipulate the customer into buying.
What does overcoming objections mean?
Overcoming Objections Definition: In sales copywriting, to overcome objections means that your sales copy prevents an objection from being raised or you satisfy the prospect’s questions and concerns well enough that they have full confidence to buy from you.
Nobody appreciates being coerced. I would say once you are in a position where you have to go into an argument and counter-argument situation, you have already pretty much lost the sale.
So how do you overcome objections? When publishing content we have a brilliant solution built right into our practices; we inform the customer.
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Overcome Sales Objections Before They Are Raised
Seems simple, doesn’t it? Common sense?
Well, it is simple and common sense, but as I say over and over, common sense is seldom common practice, and the tricky part is knowing what the objections will be.
We will be using our sales copywriting for overcoming objections meaning we need to know in advance what the objections will be.
Our goal is to research and plan from every angle so that our visitor or prospect is reassured and informed enough that they will continue confidently and with less resistance.
Common Sales Objections
The obvious starting point is to think through what the objections will be by brainstorming.
Common objections to any sale would be:
- Price/Value/Cost – The price is too high against the perceived value.
- Risk – What happens if I spend all this money and don’t get value?
- Comparison – I can buy something else with this, why spend it on your solution?
- Time/Logistics – How is it delivered? Does it fit around our planning? I need it sooner or it will take too long.
- Lack of Urgency – Not ready yet. I have other more pressing matters to deal with.
- Credibility/Trust – The solution seems right, just don’t trust you to deliver, or the solution is unproven.
- Perception or Politics – What will my boss or partner think if I buy this? Is this something I can approve? What happens if it goes wrong? Is it uncool or shameful?
- Knowledge – Confusion! I don’t know enough about this stuff! Is this true or are you BS’ing me?
Price is the famous one, but is surprisingly one of the easiest to overcome.
What Are Objections Really?
Many objections are really about fear. Fear in sales objections is a cry for reassurance.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your customers are cheap. They might prize their time above the money, and your process including sales and delivery might be perceived as a huge time waster.
Do not underestimate the fear of looking foolish, either, that is a huge risk also for the decision-maker.
Sales Objections Discovery
The next step is to ask. Ask past customers, current customers, and potential customers.
- “What concerns did you have?”
- “Is there anything that troubled you that might have stopped you from buying?”
- “Was there anything we said that convinced you to go ahead?”
- “Do you have any questions or issues that concern you?”
- “Sorry to hear you are not going with us this time, was there anything in particular that prevented you from taking up our offer right now?”
The “right now” can give you a LOT of insight, by the way.
Questions Are Objections
Objections in sales are often expressed as questions. Inviting questions will help you understand and then work to overcome those objections meaning finding more ways to discover or get asked questions as a routine part of your work is a very good idea.
I love webinars with a Q&A period, especially if that webinar has an offer or other call to action because people will ask you questions directly before they decide if to take action.
Social media is also a great source of questions if you can get people to interact with you. Otherwise, you will need to monitor social media for more generic questions people ask, not specifically directed at you.
Overcoming Sales Objections
The whole point of this exercise is to get to the point where there are no objections because the customer is happy and secure in their decision to buy from you.
That’s the dream scenario, but we can get closer by incrementally improving our approach.
What does overcoming objections mean?
Take a look over those example objections (or risks) and you will see each has a way to overcome them built right in.
Sometimes it takes some creativity and flexibility in your offer, and sometimes just some more explanation. Sometimes it is a question of your credibility with that audience or market.
With price, the best solution is to increase the perceived value rather than to drop prices. This is where “bonuses” and “bundling” comes in.
Price is also closely related to trust. Build your credibility to match your price. Also, keep in mind a low price can raise red flags (“Why is this so cheap?).
A Word on Price Objections and Discounting
The answer for a lot of businesses to the question of price objections is to discount. Discounting is a risky game.
What is a price objection really?
- Can they not afford what you are charging?
- Have they already a set budget in mind that you exceeded?
- Do they believe they can haggle for a discount?
- Are you not explaining your true value clearly?
- Did you make a mistake in your estimates?
A lot of these are questions that are arrived at through interactive discussion. Overcoming price objections means drilling down to get the real issue.
While in the process of moving home, we solicited a bunch of removals estimates. One offered the least value but had the highest price so we went back and questioned the estimate. They answered that we could pay the project price or the hourly rate. We could not figure out how they came to the price they quoted and being armed with their hourly rate just confused us even more – all we can think is they based it on what they incorrectly perceived was our ability and willingness to pay.
Don’t Just Go Directly to the Discount
Once you get into discounting and competing on price you are pretty well doomed.
Instinctively saying you will cut your price is missing the overcoming objections in sales meaning and substituting it with “getting the sale at all costs“.
Don’t get me wrong, prices should be movable and something you control rather than fixed in stone, but not your main point of differentiation, and never go down the road of communicating “cheaper” as your brand.
I do discount, but based on my business principles, not to make a sale.
For example, customers who work with me on long-term commitments pay a lower rate than one-off, but they have to make the commitment (ie. not just a verbal promise) before they get the rate.
Your Biggest Obstacle When You Start Out
What is the biggest obstacle to overcoming objections?
I would say the biggest obstacle when you start is not knowing enough about what makes your prospect decide yes or no, and what helps them choose yes with complete confidence.
Highly related to this is misidentifying the decision-maker, because you could have a person 100% convinced and still get a no because they were overruled.
After a while, your biggest obstacle becomes a stubborn refusal to find out more information, iterate and optimize.
How to Overcome Sales Objections with Proof
For some customers, they can express questions that lead to the same thing with a different sales objection meaning.
- Have you got any reviews?
- Have you got any testimonials?
- Have you got any case studies?
- Do you have a portfolio?
- Do you have a demonstration?
- Can we have a trial?
- Do you have a refund policy?
What are all these people really asking? They want you to help them overcome objections meaning we want to buy, we just do not have the confidence yet!
They want to know if what you do and offer will work for them. In their specific situation. Your prospect is scared if they go ahead they will regret their purchase, get into trouble, or lose their investment.
Back when I was marketing my Authority Blogger course I had testimonials that made huge claims. True claims. I discovered they implied results that potential customers didn’t believe were possible for them. Toning down the testimonials increased conversions!
How to Overcome Objections with Sales Copywriting Risk-Reversal
As risk is a huge issue in objections, it is good to have “introductory” or “sample” products where you can demonstrate your value and reliability. Gain trust through the experience of delivery.
That is why most of my services are short-term packages that are easy to agree to. My customers take me for a test drive on, say, a one-hour call, then that leads to longer-term projects when they get more value from my advice.
Remove financial risk with a guarantee. Guarantees can also remove some of the internal reputation risks for the customer. However, again credibility has a big part to play here, eg. “No one ever got fired for choosing IBM”.
The sneaky way to create a solution to overcome an objection is to talk through with customers what might make them happier in their decision (other than dropping the price). You won’t implement all their suggestions but it might give you some unique ideas.
Finally, put a contact form right where the customer can find it so they can ask questions, and keep a log of the most common questions and objections so that you can go back and answer them in your content.
Finally: How to Overcome Objections in Sales
Overcoming objections means making a case where you answer customer questions before they are raised or even thought of.
While many people do not like long sales pages, if you artificially cut down the information just to keep it short you are going to find you have more objections dangling than you or your prospect would like. You might even get more refunds through people misunderstanding exactly what you are offering.
Provide all the information the customer needs so they can make an informed purchase.
Next time you are considering a purchase, list all the things you are thinking about and any concerns you have, some of them might well be applicable to your own product or service.
Also, next time you are “just looking”, think about why you are not in the market right now and what would put you from looking into buying mode.
You will truly get the meaning of “overcoming objections” when you experience it for yourself, firsthand.
Sales copywriting is all about psychology, and your existing customers or even yourself can often be your best test subjects.