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Objection handling 101: Top CI strategies for sales teams to identify & take action

Objections are an all too common part of the sales process. Does your sales team know how to identify and handle those questions effectively?



4 steps to identifying common objectionsHow to handle objections more effectivelyPreparation Leads to More Sales

You know a lead matches your persona. They’ve clearly shown an interest in your product and maybe they’ve even already made it to sales-qualified lead status. But at some point in the process of researching and considering your product—hesitation enters the process. You’ve encountered that most dreaded of things: an objection.

Objections are an all too common part of the sales process. Customers want to make the right decision. They don’t want to commit to your product and then regret it. For that matter, you don’t want them to either! You want to genuinely win every lead over to the cause of buying your product. 

To do that, every good salesperson needs a strategy for identifying the common objections a prospect may have. And just as importantly, you need to have a compelling, persuasive response prepared for handling them.


4 steps to identifying common objections

You don’t want to be taken by surprise when a prospect expresses an objection. The first step to handling an objection effectively is knowing what to expect, so you can properly prepare. There are four good strategies for identifying all the objections leads are likely to have,


1. Review interactions with past leads.

Get the whole sales team together to discuss the feedback you’ve heard from past leads you’ve worked with. Try to get a comprehensive list of all the concerns they’ve expressed, and particularly any issues they cited as their reason for not choosing to buy a product. In a lot of cases, your sales team will have heard all of the most common objections directly from past prospects you’ve dealt with. Tapping into and recording the knowledge you already have can go a long way.


2. Look at customer reviews.

Customer reviews are a treasure trove of information on what your customers are thinking. If there’s something about your product that doesn’t deliver on what they expected or that makes it hard for them to use, someone has probably talked about it in a customer review. 

And there’s a high likelihood that your current and future leads will encounter those reviews. 93% of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Some of the objections you encounter will come straight from the reviews they’ve read. So read them yourself so you know what to expect.


3. Do win/loss interviews.

Win/loss interviews are a powerful way to gain insights into what your leads and customers think. Without them, there’s a decent chance you’ll never know why certain customers chose a competitor, or opted not to buy a product in your space at all. With them, you can get the nitty gritty on their decision process.

For those who do become customers, you’ll still learn if there was anything about your product that gave them pause in the course of the decision. For those that didn’t, you learn exactly what it was about your product that made them decide it wasn’t worth it. In both cases, you’ll gain useful knowledge about common customer objections.


4. Do a competitive analysis.

Some of the leads that decide not to buy from you may not buy anything. But many will decline to choose your product because they decided another one works better for their needs. Objections that relate to what a competitor does differently are one of the most important categories to identify.

Make sure you know who your competitors are and what makes their products different from yours. Analyze how they position themselves in the industry. And to the best of your ability, find out what they’re telling leads about you. When you know what other products your leads are considering, you’ll have a better idea of what objections are most likely to come up.

How to handle objections more effectively

Once you’ve completed the objection identification process, you’ll have a pretty good list of the issues leads sometimes have. Now you’re in a good position to make sure your sales team is equipped to handle them all.


1. Create objection battle cards.

Battle cards are a handy way to package the information your sales team needs in a format that makes it quick and easy to learn. Identify the top few objections you know they’ll probably hear, and distill them down into the main points they need to know. Even the busiest sales reps can skim a battle card within a few minutes and walk away from it with an understanding of the main issues leads may bring up.


2. Write response templates.

Now go a step further and figure out the best response for each objection. Think carefully about what matters most to the audience so you’re centering them—their feelings and needs—in your response.

Write out a script with wording a sales rep could use to provide an effective response. Include any relevant data or customer stories that help make your case. Your sales reps likely won’t use the script exactly, but having a template helps them figure out the best way to frame their response. With it, they’ll have an easier time finding their own wording to communicate the same thing.


3. Create content targeting common objections.

Let your list of objections be a guide when planning out blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers—any type of content your audience might want to consume. You’ll make the job of your sales team easier if you put together pieces of content specifically devoted to responding to customer objections. You’ll also give your marketing team a lot of valuable content ideas, so it’s a win-win for both departments.

When your sales team hears an objection, if they can send over a pre-written blog post that lays out a persuasive case for why the prospect doesn’t need to worry about it, it makes the sale easier. And it shows your leads you’ve put serious thought into their needs.


4. Measure success and evolve.

You may not figure out the absolute best way to respond to every objection on the first try. But that’s OK, because you can track how well leads respond to the tact you do take. Do prospects with one of your objections tend to convert once you deliver the prepared response, while those with another don’t? The data you measure will reveal which responses you need to work on, and which are doing their job as is.

You’ll also find that the details of common objections change as your industry evolves and your competitors change things up. So make this an ongoing process. Pay attention to any differences in the way your prospects talk about your product and their concerns. And revisit your objection responses based on what you learn as you go.


Preparation Leads to More Sales

By equipping your sales team with the knowledge they need about common objections and how to effectively handle them, you’re setting them up for greater success. That’s good for them, good for your customers-to-be, and good for the company’s bottom line. Embarking on a project to identify common objections and prepare the best responses to them takes time, but it’s time well spent.


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Liana Calicchia

Liana Calicchia

Product Marketing Director


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