How to Handle Objections in Sales: The A to Z Guide

B2B sales are dynamic and complex. Objections, as they say, are just part of the process. Knowing how to handle objections in sales is the mark of a true pro—one that understands tough conversations don’t mean a sale is off the table, just that a prospect needs some extra information, guidance, and/or support.

But that doesn’t mean sales objections aren’t stressful, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate them. In the sections that follow, we’ll fill you in on why sales objections happen, the most common ones sales reps deal with today, and actionable tips for turning them into opportunities to engage.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Sales objections are a regular part of sales conversations, and can include concerns about everything from cost to relevance to long-term compatibility (and more).
  • Preparing for sales objections should be a core part of sales team training programs.
  • Active listening and empathy show prospects you’re invested in their success (not just making a quick sale).
  • Social proof such as testimonials, reviews, and case studies effectively alleviate sales objections.
  • It’s okay not to have the answer to every sales objection right away—but it’s essential to admit that and arrange for effective follow-up.

What’s a Sales Objection, Anyway?

If you’ve been in sales for any time at all, you know that closing deals requires navigating many kinds of conversations with your prospects. Often, these conversations include sales objections, which are specific concerns or issues raised by prospects signaling hesitation or resistance.

The good news? Sales objections aren’t the same as a flat-out “no”—they’re just indicators that your prospect isn’t quite where they need to be to make a final decision to purchase. A sales objection means the prospect has unmet needs, uncertainties, or roadblocks to final decision.

The reasons behind sales objections vary and may include concerns about cost, solution relevance, or compatibility between your company and the prospect’s. 

Common sales objections that come up in the sales process

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Understanding that objections are an inevitable part of sales conversations and knowing how to navigate them is crucial to winning deals consistently. Moreover, sales objections present valuable opportunities for your sales reps to address concerns, demonstrate value, and build trust.

The Psychology Behind Objections

Behind every sales objection are psychological factors influencing a prospect’s decision-making process. Understanding these underlying reasons is essential for sales reps.

Often, sales objections stem from a prospect’s fear of making a wrong decision, uncertainty about the product’s value, or a lack of trust in the brand. These feelings can also be intensified by past experiences, personal biases, or the pressure of making a significant business decision.

Empathy plays a critical role in navigating these psychological landscapes. By empathetically listening to and acknowledging a prospect’s concerns, sales professionals can create strong rapport and a sense of trust. Active listening goes beyond hearing the words spoken—it requires understanding the emotions and motivations behind the objections.

This approach allows sales representatives to tailor their responses to directly address each prospect’s specific fears or concerns, thereby increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome. In other words, understanding the psychology behind objections and responding with empathy and active listening can transform potential barriers into opportunities for deeper engagement and successful sales.

Preparing for Objections

Effective handling of sales objections begins with thorough preparation. Anticipating common objections is a strategic approach that enables sales teams to respond more confidently and effectively. This involves understanding industry trends, recognizing patterns in customer feedback, and being aware of the competitive landscape.

By identifying the most frequent objections encountered in past interactions, sales professionals can develop tailored responses and solutions.

Equally important is deep product knowledge. A comprehensive understanding of a product’s features, benefits, and potential drawbacks allows sales representatives to address objections with accuracy and authority. This knowledge should be coupled with an understanding of the client’s specific needs.

 By aligning product strengths with client requirements, sales teams can preemptively address concerns and highlight the most relevant benefits.

By preparing thoroughly for sales objections, sales professionals can be empowered to turn objections into constructive conversations that pave the way for successful sales outcomes.

How to Handle Sales Objections Like a Pro

Handling sales objections well requires intentional approaches and proven tactics to keep your prospects engaged, keep conversations going, and alleviate feelings of stress—even when uncertainties exist. These nine tips can help you more effectively address objections as they come up to get your prospect back on track toward purchase.

1. Active Listening

    Always start by listening carefully to the objection. Understand the concern behind the words. Fight the urge to respond quickly before your prospect has completely shared their thoughts. This not only shows respect but also provides crucial information for formulating your response.

    2. Empathize and Validate

      Acknowledge the prospect’s concerns. Empathy builds a connection and shows that you are not just selling a product or service, but are genuinely interested in solving their problem. It represents a deep, authentic understanding of prospect needs—what they see, hear, and feel during the sales process.

      Graphic showing the components of sales empathy, including understanding what the customer sees, hears, and feels

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        3. Clarify and Question

        Sometimes objections are based on misunderstandings. Ask clarifying questions to get to the heart of the concern. This also helps in tailoring your response more effectively.

        For example: If a prospect says something like “Your product doesn’t work with our current tools,” you could ask, “What tools are you currently using?” (rather than quickly responding with reasons why they will work).

        Example of how to respond to a sales objection with a question instead of a rebuttal

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          4. Leverage Product Knowledge

          Be well-versed with your product or service. This allows you to address specific concerns accurately and confidently, demonstrating how your offering aligns with their needs. Be ready to focus on benefits rather than features, so your prospect can gain a clear understanding of why your solutions can be relevant and valuable to their unique business.

          5. Provide Evidence

            Use data, case studies, testimonials, or demos to substantiate your points. For instance, sharing relevant customer success stories from real clients provides social proof and is extremely effective in alleviating concerns about implementation or compatibility. It’s much more effective than simply making promises, as evidenced by the fact that a staggering 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review.

            92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy after reading a trusted review

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              6. Offer Solutions, Not Just Rebuttals

              Instead of just countering objections, offer solutions. If a prospect is worried about cost, discuss flexible pricing options or the long-term ROI of your service. Similarly, if they’re worried about implementation, talk about the ways your customer success team helps clients onboard successfully.

              A solution-oriented mindset reassures prospects that your company is prepared and capable of delivering high-value, effective offerings that address their problems and needs.

              7. Seek Common Ground

                Find areas of agreement to build on. For example, if a prospect agrees that improving their marketing strategy is important but is hesitant about the cost, start by discussing the shared goal of enhancing their marketing efforts.

                This approach shifts the focus from confrontation to collaboration, creating an environment that’s more conducive to addressing specific objections. It also demonstrates your commitment to aligning with the client’s objectives, not just making a sale, fostering a sense of partnership in finding a solution that works for both parties.

                8. Be Honest and Transparent

                  If you don’t have an immediate answer or if your product doesn’t fully meet their needs, admit it. Your prospects will appreciate your honesty, rather than eagerness to placate them. This forthrightness builds trust but also establishes your credibility as a reliable advisor who values their long-term success over a quick sale.

                  It also opens the door for future engagements when your product or service may be a better fit, or when you’ve developed solutions that align more closely with their needs.

                  9. Follow-Up Thoughtfully

                    If objections can’t be resolved in one conversation, arrange a follow-up. Use this time to bring additional information or tailored solutions to their specific concerns. A well-planned follow-up demonstrates your commitment to addressing their needs and can be the key to turning a hesitant prospect into a satisfied client.

                    Navigating Sales Objections Like a Pro

                    Sales objections are just a regular part of sales. Avoiding them is impossible, and sales teams struggle when they try. A better approach is to prepare thoroughly for sales objections, and listen actively and with empathy when they do arise.

                    The best way to reduce sales objections is to be sure you’re reaching the right target audiences for your products and services. RevBoss can help you do it. Our outbound prospecting and sales offerings are custom-built to help SaaS companies, agencies, startups, and other high-growth companies engage their ideal customers to convert more sales.

                    Schedule a call with our team today to learn more about how we can help you grow.