11.3. Types of Objections

Prospects may object for any reason, but there are four major categories into which most objections fall. When you are prepared for all these types of objections, you will be able to successfully handle them.

  • Product objection
  • Source objection
  • Price objection
  • Stalling objection

Product Objection

Sometimes prospects voice an objection as it relates to the product, called a product objection. Comments such as “This isn’t as good as your competitor’s product” or “The colour is all wrong” are a reflection of a concern about the performance of the product. For complex purchases, prospects may not fully understand all the functions of the product due to lack of familiarity. Listening is an important skill to use, especially when a prospect voices a product objection. It’s a good idea to handle product objections by describing warranties, using testimonials, getting the prospect engaged in a product demonstration, or presenting industry or third-party research to support your claims (Futrell, 2008).  For example, consider if the prospect says “This is not as good as the competitor”. Using the method in the previous section, you handle this objection by: 1.rephrase the objection as a question: “What aspects of our product do you feel is not as good”    and then once the prospect has clarified,  2. you  can move onto reiterating the  FAB  (features, advantages and benefits) that address the prospect’s objection followed by 3.  A trial close to ensure you have answered this objection.

Source Objection

Some prospects voice objections about the company or about doing business with you as a salesperson. This is called a source objection and usually tie to the concern of a customer about the quality/image of the company or your training, service that you will deliver, or the relationship with you as their sales contact.  This is an opportunity for you to help your prospect understand your company’s strengths. Your prospect may say something like “You are way too young to handle this size of an order!”  Reply by clarifying the objection   and then perhaps using a testimonial or reference to dispel the objection.

Price Objection

One of the most common objections is the price objection and it usually refers to risk. It is important to ask probing questions to really understand the nature of this objection. Many prospects use the price objection as a negotiating ploy to determine how much flexibility there is in the pricing, while others use it as a way to object due to budget constraints. It’s best to always be prepared for the price objection. The bottom line on the price objection is that people buy when they see the value. Cost (or price) is what the customer actually pays for the product or service. Value is the benefit that the customer receives from the product or service. It is value that customers assign to a product or service that determines the price. For example, value is what dictates that a shack on the beach in Vancouver, is worth more than a similar home in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Or in another example, value is what causes customers to pay more for Lulu Lemon leggings than a comparable pair. This is the essence of value. Even when budgets are tight, companies make adjustments to purchase the products or services that they find compelling and can help them profitably grow their business. If you think about it, the same is probably true for your personal purchasing; when you want something bad enough, you are able to somehow find the money for it. So be prepared for the price objection. Preparation will make you look at the product or service through the eyes of the prospect and will help you establish the value. A price objection example would be “Your prices are much higher than anyone else I have looked at”.  Again, clarify “So what you are saying is that you think are prices are too high?”   Then provide a response based on value “Certainly, price is part of the equation, but it’s also important to look at the value for the price. You mentioned that real-time inventory information was an important strategic issue for your business. Ours is the only product on the market that provides real-time inventory information without any integration costs. Our system is a true plug-and-play application so you can begin getting real- time inventory the day we sign the deal. In fact, one of my customers was concerned about the same thing, and now we provide their entire backend logistics. The price may be higher upfront, but it pays for itself in as little as 6 months.”   Another alternative is to prove the value “Can I show you how the product will reduce your costs by 20% in a year so that you can see the value in the higher price?”

Hidden (or stalling) Objection

A hidden objection is an objection that is not openly stated by the prospect but is an obstacle in the way of making the sale. In this situation, a prospect doesn’t state their concern about making the purchase. Instead, they might ask trivial questions to avoid the issue or they might not ask any questions at all and simply state that they do not have a need for the product or service (Futrell, 2008).  If a customer feels pressure or anxiety about the purchase, they may try to stall (especially if you have not demonstrated the value. A common hidden objection looks like “I have to think about it” statement.  While the “I have to think about it” objection might sound like an objection, it is actually a stall. This “objection” usually occurs when a prospect isn’t completely comfortable with you and your product or service. This is the classic stall tactic and is a signal for you to build your relationship. Prospects usually use this objection when they are trying to mask some fear or risk that they have about committing to the sale. Your challenge is to uncover the risk that the prospect sees and build your relationship with them build a deeper trust (Gitomer, 2009).  Just as with other objections, asking questions is important to understand why the prospect is stalling and what kind of information will help them feel more comfortable. In reality, this objection is one that is a signal for you to work on improving your relationship with the prospect.


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The Power of Selling Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Michelle Clement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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