Overcoming objections in sales is one of the most valuable sales skills you can learn. No matter how amazing your product is, how good your initial pitch is, or how good of a fit your client is, there’s a chance your momentum will come crashing to a halt—all because of one or more pesky sales objections that stand in your way.
Some sales objections can be overcome with a simple counterargument. Others require a more delicate form of persuasion (see this list of the top persuasion techniques). But if you can learn to anticipate and address the most common sales objections, you can instantly make yourself a better salesperson—and increase your close rate dramatically.
Table of Contents
- General Strategies for Overcoming Objections in Sales
- The Most Common Sales Objections
- 1. It’s too expensive.
- 2. We don’t have the budget for it.
- 3. We’ve already allocated this budget.
- 4. The contract is too long.
- 5. The contract is too stifling.
- 6. We’re choosing a competitor.
- 7. We’re already working with a competitor.
- 8. I can get this less expensively.
- 9. I’m already satisfied with what I have.
- 10. I heard that (untrue statement).
- 11. I don’t have the authority to buy.
- 12. I can’t persuade my boss.
- 13. We’re about to go through a major transition.
- 14. We’re too busy.
- 15. I’ve never heard of your brand.
- 16. I don’t trust your brand.
- 17. We’re already seeing the results you want.
- 18. This isn’t a current priority.
- 19. I don’t see the need for this.
- 20. I’ve seen too many complaints about your business.
- 21. I’ve had a bad experience with something similar.
- 22. We don’t have the resources to get started now.
- 23. Your product is too complex.
- 24. You don’t understand my business.
- 25. Your product is missing a key feature.
- 26. There’s no real ROI.
- 27. This product is a fad.
- 28. We have too much existing infrastructure in place.
- 29. I just want a quote/more information.
- 30. Call me again next year/quarter.
- 31. I’m too busy to talk.
- 32. How did you get this number?
- 33. I’m just not interested.
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General Strategies for Overcoming Objections in Sales
Before we look into the specific sales objections you’re most likely to see, let’s talk about some general strategies you can use to overcome objections.
First, always remain patient. Some salespeople treat overcoming sales objections as a desperate race; they’re eager to shut down the objection as quickly as possible. You’ll likely find more success with a more patient and understanding approach. If you’re too reactive or if you seem impatient, your prospect will feel pressure, and they may stop talking to you altogether.
One of the best ways to address an objection is to call it out before your prospect does; this shows that you understand the weaknesses of your product, or the possible position your prospect is in. Either way, your prospect will be impressed, and your response to the objection will seem both more sincere and less argumentative.
Active listening is an important tool in all forms of sales and customer service. If you simply pay attention to what the other person is saying, you’ll be seen as more respectful and friendlier—plus you’ll learn more about their position. This allows you to craft a more persuasive response, and form a closer bond with your prospect.
Too many salespeople attempt to refute sales objections immediately; instead, it’s often better to validate them. A simple statement like “I understand our product is outside of your usual budget,” or “I totally get you’re busy, and I don’t want to waste your time,” shows compassion and will be much more likely to keep the conversation going.
When your prospect explains an objection to you, repeat it back to them in your own words. It’s an effective way to show that you’re listening and taking their thoughts seriously. It’s also an opportunity for reflection; absorb what they’ve said and incorporate that idea into your next pitch.
It’s incredibly hard to argue with objective evidence. If you can disprove the premise of your prospect’s objection, you can almost instantly remove it from the conversation. For example, if they claim your product won’t yield a positive ROI, you can tell them how much your customers earn, on average, from using the product.
Most professionals understand that salespeople are persuaders, so they’re inclined to take everything you say with a grain of salt. However, if someone else praises your product or your business, they’ll be more likely to take it seriously. This is the idea behind social proof; provide your prospects with good reviews, testimonials, and experiences from other customers.
Most objections start as a single sentence, or a short description of a given problem. If you want to address the objection in a more effective way, consider asking more questions and learning more about the situation. They believe the product is too expensive, but what would be a fair price point? The additional knowledge can help you come up with a better solution.
A follow-up meeting.
In some cases, objections can’t be addressed with a single meeting. Consider offering a follow-up meeting, where you can come back with more data and have a fuller conversation.
Even if you’re not sure what objections you might face, these tactics can help you stay ahead of them.
The Most Common Sales Objections
It’s even more useful to know the specific sales objections you might encounter, and learn to counter them in a focused way. These are some of the most common sales objections you’ll hear:
1. It’s too expensive.
This is one of the most common objections, because price is a major point of consideration for almost any kind of purchase. If you hear this, you have several options. You could try to justify the price by explaining the objective benefits or ROI of the product. You could try and negotiate, getting the prospect to agree to a lower rate. You could also come up with an idea for other costs to cut.
2. We don’t have the budget for it.
This is a similar objection to the “expensive” angle, though it’s a bit harder to get around. Many departments have a finite budget for certain expenses, and if your product exceeds that allocated budget, your prospect may have little power to overcome it. Consider talking to someone higher up, or justifying the price.
3. We’ve already allocated this budget.
This is a different variation of the above objection, with one key difference; it tells you the budget exists, but is already allocated. This allows you to make a concrete suggestion for rearranging the budget.
4. The contract is too long.
If your product or service depends on a contract, your prospect may argue that the terms of the contract are too long. This is a simple objection; you may be able to win them over with shorter or more flexible terms.
5. The contract is too stifling.
Other terms of the contract may also influence an objection; consider renegotiating the terms if you want to win the sale.
6. We’re choosing a competitor.
Be thankful for the prospects who are honest about their decisions. If they’re going with a competitor, you’ll have a very slim chance of recovering the deal. However, you can learn more about your competitor—including how they were able to steal the sale from under you.
7. We’re already working with a competitor.
If your prospect is currently working with a competitor, you may be able to convince them to make the switch. Figure out what they don’t like about this competitor, and find a way to position your product favorably. What can you do that your competitors can’t?
8. I can get this less expensively.
For budget-conscious prospects, price is everything. If there’s a product like yours that’s much less expensive, you’ll be hard-pressed to counter this objection. Again, try to justify the price or point out why the competing product is inferior.
9. I’m already satisfied with what I have.
If you’re offering an alternative to what your prospect is currently using, you’ll have to identify some kind of weakness or drawback. If they claim to be satisfied, you’ll need to ask critical questions to figure out what the product could be missing that yours can provide.
10. I heard that (untrue statement).
Sometimes, prospects will object to your product because of a misconception or a misunderstanding. This is one of the easiest objections to address; all you have to do is explain the root of the misunderstanding, and (ideally) refute it with hard evidence.
Here, your prospect isn’t in charge of decision making, and therefore can’t make a purchase. If this is the case, ask your prospect to point you to the person who can make the decision.
12. I can’t persuade my boss.
Occasionally, your prospect will serve as a middle man between you and the decision maker. If this is the scenario you face, consider offering to have a meeting together with the group, or provide your prospect with resources (such as sales sheets) they can use to persuade their boss.
13. We’re about to go through a major transition.
If a company is about to undergo a merger, acquisition, or other major transition, they may not be in a place to make a significant purchase or a change to their approach. This is another objection that’s difficult to bend, so try to find out more details about the upcoming change.
14. We’re too busy.
Companies sometimes avoid purchases during especially busy times. If this is the case, you can make the pitch that your product will actually help the company get through this busy period; for example, your product may be able to help them save time, or allow them to delegate more effectively.
15. I’ve never heard of your brand.
If you’re generating new leads through outbound marketing, you’ll encounter prospects who refuse to buy simply because they’re not familiar with your brand. Take this opportunity to introduce yourself, and explain the philosophy and values of your brand.
16. I don’t trust your brand.
Consumer trust is huge. If your prospect doesn’t trust your brand for one reason or another, consider providing them with more social proof, or asking them what it would take to get them to trust you.
17. We’re already seeing the results you want.
Some professionals are complacent with whatever results they’re currently seeing. Sometimes, this is a polite way of pushing you away. Other times, it’s presented because prospects are underestimating the results they could see if they invested in a new product. Try to figure out which is the case with this prospect.
18. This isn’t a current priority.
This is another polite way to say “I’m not interested.” Your only real hope of resolution here is to make the person see why this topic should be a priority. Use statistics or industry metrics to explain the value of your product, and why this problem is worth solving.
19. I don’t see the need for this.
If your prospect tells you this, you’ve either done a poor job of presenting your product, or you’re very early in the conversation. Try to quantify the benefits of using the product, specifically tailored to this organization.
20. I’ve seen too many complaints about your business.
If your business has a few bad reviews or negative testimonials online, it could harm your sales campaign. Try to point out the number of good reviews that currently exist, or explain what makes the bad reviews negligible. Just don’t push too hard, or you’ll seem desperate to cover up a problem.
21. I’ve had a bad experience with something similar.
Personal histories can sometimes get in your way. If your prospect has used a similar product before and hated it, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince them to try yours. Explain what makes your product different, and highlight your competitive advantages.
22. We don’t have the resources to get started now.
In some cases, prospects are unable to use your product because they don’t have the manpower or other resources necessary to make it work. Here, you have a few options. You could brainstorm with them to figure out a way to get the resources, or make the product more accessible somehow.
23. Your product is too complex.
Does your product seem too hard to use? Show them just how easy it is to learn. Oftentimes, a simple demo, or a link to a simple tutorial can clear up a misunderstanding.
24. You don’t understand my business.
This is more of a combative sales objection that comes up whenever a prospect feels unheard or misunderstood. Try to recap what you do know about their business, and ask what you’re missing. A true dialogue here can resolve any standing issues—but may introduce new types of objections.
25. Your product is missing a key feature.
What if your product is missing an important feature, or a specific integration? The easiest way to counter this objection is to consider building in the new feature—after all, if they want this feature, chances are many other customers will appreciate it as well. Otherwise, you’ll have to explain why this feature isn’t necessary or helpful, which is a harder sell.
26. There’s no real ROI.
Will your product offer a meaningful return on your prospect’s investment? If they’re not convinced, they’re going to need to see more hard data—and possibly some real examples of customers who have seen it.
27. This product is a fad.
Occasionally, faddish products make rounds among popular companies, and some prospects are skeptical of their use. Speak to the long-term benefits of using your product, or explain your roadmap for product updates in the future. Make it obvious that this isn’t a mere short-term play.
28. We have too much existing infrastructure in place.
Here, your prospect will feel like they can’t fit your product into the systems that already exist in their business. You’ll need to get more specific details to help them overcome this challenge.
29. I just want a quote/more information.
Some prospects will stop your pitch short, prompting you to send them a quote or more information. If this is the case, it’s often best to comply with their wishes, but keep pressing them for another conversation in the future.
30. Call me again next year/quarter.
If a prospect is interested, but now isn’t a good time, it may be best to leave them alone and set up an automatic notification to reach out in the future. But before you do this, make a pitch for why now is the perfect time to get started with your product—it’s worth a shot.
31. I’m too busy to talk.
Everyone is busy. If your prospect says they’re too busy to talk to you, try to offer a shorter pitch; convince them you can sell the highlights of your product in 5 minutes or less, then optimize your “lightning round” pitch for such situations. Be sure to check out our post on sales pitch examples you can use!
32. How did you get this number?
Effective lead generation strategies are organic and straightforward, but if you do any cold outreach, you might get pushback from strangers who don’t know anything about you. The best approach here is to be straightforward and sincere; explain how you got the information, show that you understand their business, and convince them this is an opportunity for them to improve.
33. I’m just not interested.
Sometimes, the simplest sales objections are the hardest to overcome. If a prospect hits you with something generic like “I’m not interested,” your best play is to try to find out more. Chances are, there are a few other objections lurking behind this façade, and it’s your job to find out what those objections might be. You might get some non-responses, or some hang-ups in pursuit of this, but don’t let them deter you from asking follow-up questions of other people.
Now that you’re familiar with common sales objections and how to overcome them, are you interested in getting a better handle on your email-based sales strategy?
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.