The 4 Types of Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

Picture this: You’ve connected with a potential customer that sounds like they would be a great fit for your product. You know that your product can solve their pain points and deliver an amazing ROI, but when it comes time to move the deal forward, they are quick to say no.

You’ve just run into a sales objection.

Sales objections can be frustrating, but they’re almost always a part of the sales process, so if you want to close more deals, you’re going to want to learn what they are and how to overcome them.

The 4 Types of Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

8 min. read

Whether you’re selling software, services, or anything else, every customer interaction is different. One day you might find yourself trying to secure the buy-in from a receptionist, and the next, pitching your product to a boardroom of c-suites and other high-level decision makers. But regardless of your audience, you’ve probably noticed that some deals move as smooth as butter, while others feel like pulling teeth.

No matter who your point of contact is, they’re bound to have questions and concerns about your pitch and product. But don’t take it personally. Large purchases – like the ones you’re involved in as a b2b sales rep – often require a huge commitment involving multiple stakeholders, so these sales objections are just a part of the sales process.

Some reps argue with their prospects or try to pressure them to back down, but that’s not going to get you anywhere. If you brush off their concerns, you throw away all of the rapport you’ve built up to that point, so don’t be surprised if your prospect ends up even more convinced about their position or abandons the deal entirely.

The key to overcoming sales objections is understanding your prospect and tailoring your approach to address their concerns. After all, the way you handle your prospect’s sales objections can be the difference between gaining a new customer and losing an opportunity. If you want to keep your deals moving and win more business, you’ll need to become an expert at objection handling – learning the different types of sales objections, what they sound like, and how to overcome them.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a sales objection?

When you think of the word "objection," you might get flashbacks of a heated courtroom scene from your favorite law show. In a legal setting, an objection is an expression of opposition to something. A statement of protest.

It’s no different in the sales world.

A sales objection is a reason why your prospect won’t or can’t move forward with your deal. It’s a way of saying "No" to whatever product, service, or project you’re pitching them. It suggests that they aren't ready to buy from you.

But the key word here is suggests. Receiving a sales objection to your pitch, proposal, or project doesn’t mean that your deal is doomed, it just means that your prospect needs a bit more information or convincing before they’re ready to move forward.

Which brings up the next question:

What is objection handling?

As you already know, working in sales isn't always easy. In fact, it almost never is. If every proposal was met with an excited "Yes!," a lot of sales reps would be out of work. Your job as a sales rep isn’t just to connect with prospects and pitch them your product, it’s to help them see the value in your offering and get them excited about working together.

A big part of that is objection handling. Objection handling is the process of understanding and addressing your prospects' concerns that are preventing your deal from moving forward. You’ve definitely heard the phrase “never take no for an answer,” but this is not that. Objection handling is knowing how to respond to their “no”, and knowing when to back off and give them some time to think on it.

Types of sales objections

In your time as a sales rep, you’ve probably been met with all sorts of sales objections ranging from concerns about price to product fit and everything in between. If you want to become an expert at objection handling, you’ll need to learn the different types of sales objections and how to address them.

1. Lack of budget

2. Lack of need

3. Lack of trust

4. Lack of urgency

    1. Lack of budget

      What they say

      “It’s too expensive”
      “We don’t have the budget for this”

        What they mean

        The first (and most common) type of sales objection is the lack of budget. Which makes sense, because every purchase comes with at least some level of financial risk. Especially in b2b sales, where products and services often come with substantial price tags.

        But pricing is almost never the issue. In fact, it’s the best objection to receive, because it indicates intent to buy. All this objection means is that your prospect doesn't have (or doesn’t think they have) the budget to afford your product or service. But that’s not always true. In many cases, they just don’t see the value that your offering provides, or they don’t think the cost outweighs the benefits.

        What to do

        If you focus on price as a selling point, your conversation becomes purely transactional, and your prospect might have trouble seeing beyond the price tag. Instead, focus on the value and benefits that your product or service can provide. By identifying their pain points and how much money those problems are costing them, you can highlight how much you could save them. If you do this properly, there’s a good chance they’ll find a way to make it work.

        Alternatively, you can adjust your offering to meet their needs. If budget really is the issue, you could remove some features to reduce the price, offer a payment plan that fits their budget, or offer a discount/rebate for referring you to another customer.

        2. Lack of need

          What they say

          "I don't see how this can help me."
          “I’m not interested”

            What they mean

            This next one might come across as a hard no, but more often than not, it comes up when the prospect doesn't know there's a problem, doesn't see the need to solve a problem, or doesn't understand your offering. Your business proposal and website can only say so much about your product, and it’s easy to say no if they don’t see the full picture.

            What to do

            If you want to be a great sales rep, you need to know your prospect’s industry and company inside and out. Doing so will give you a better idea of the challenges they face day-to-day, or at least the knowledge to ask questions that reveal their pain points. You can do this by asking open-ended questions, digging deep into their answers, and selling the results that your product can provide, so that they can draw the line between problem and solution.

            When faced with this sales objection, it's important to empathize with your prospect to understand the problems they perceive they are having, bring up issues they didn't know they had, and explain how your solution can help overcome them. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to offer to show or give them a demo so that they can experience your product first hand.

            3. Lack of trust

              What they say

              "I’ve never heard of your company"
              "What's so special about your offering?"

                What they mean

                People work with people or companies that they know and trust. If a buyer feels uncertain about your company or solution, there's a good chance they'll be hesitant to move forward. Even if they have a problem that your solution can address, they might not believe that you can deliver.

                What to do

                Whether you’re new to the market, hold a smaller market share, or your prospect has been living under a rock, the best ways to overcome this sales objection are to develop a deeper connection with your prospect and prove to them that you can walk the walk. There are three main ways you can do this:

                1. Sell the results. Numbers don’t lie. If you can show your prospect the results your product or service can deliver, they’ll be hard pressed to ignore them. This approach is even more effective if you can quantify the cost of their problems and show them the potential return on investment.

                2. Provide social proof. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell any product or service. If your prospect isn’t familiar with your company, show them what other customers have to say about you. Bonus points if any of your customers are competitors of your prospect – if you can show your prospect how similar companies benefit from your offering, they’ll be more inclined to see what all the buzz is about.

                3. Engage in conversation. Nobody likes a pushy salesperson, especially if they don't have a reputation to back them up. Instead of trying to hard sell your prospect, take the time to get to know them and understand their needs. Ask questions about their business, show interest in their activities, and communicate why you think you'd be a good fit together.

                4.Lack of urgency

                What they say

                "[problem] isn't important for me right now."
                “Call me back next quarter”

                  What they mean

                  Sometimes, the timing just isn't right. Whether your prospect has substantial expenses on the horizon, other pressing priorities, or they just don't feel the need to get started immediately, this sales objection is not uncommon. But it's also used as a way to brush you off without actually saying no, most likely because they don't see the value in your solution.

                  What to do

                  In order to overcome this sales objection, you need to understand why they brought it up in the first place. You can do this by digging into their current pain points, priorities, goals, and timeline for the potential purchase. Start by asking questions like:

                  • “What competing priorities currently have your attention?”

                  • “If I call back next quarter, what will have changed?”

                  • “What are your current pain points and how much are they costing you?”

                  • “Do you have a fix for the problem in the short term? What about long-term?”

                  • “If we could offer you [feature/discount/incentive], would you commit to moving forward?”

                  By speaking to your prospect’s problems (especially if you can highlight the costs), you can create a sense of urgency for solving them. And by telling your prospect exactly what they’ll gain from signing on with you now – whether that’s a discount that saves them money, the results they can achieve, or a great return on investment – you demonstrate that they have nothing to gain by pushing back the conversation.

                  Final thoughts

                  As a sales rep, you’re bound to run into some hiccups as you move through the sales process, but don’t get discouraged. Sales objections are a normal part of the process, so rather than trying to avoid them, learn to embrace them; if you can master the art of objection handling, you’ll be able to deepen connections with prospects, get them excited about the opportunity to work together, and ultimately, close more deals.

                  The 4 Types of Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

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