There are often several roadblocks to overcome in the course of the sales pipeline, from scheduling to project or product delivery, to the management of client expectations. Despite this, handling objections in sales is most likely the biggest challenge that graduate and early-career salespeople will face.
When salespeople are able to satisfy buyers’ questions, their success rate increases to 64%, according to Inbound Marketing and Sales Development experts WebStrategies. Whilst the average number of objections a salesperson will have to handle will vary depending on the industry they’re working within, as well as the product or service they’re selling, how you go about handling objections in sales is often the deciding factor in whether or not that customer or business will make a purchase.
This guide explores how to handle the various kinds of objections you’re likely to encounter in jobs in sales, especially if you’re new to the industry or have entered via a graduate recruitment pathway. Sales confidence is crucial to career success, so we’ll offer some pragmatic advice on how to enhance your self-assurance and cool-headedness before we explore how sales training courses in the UK can help you quickly gain the skills you need to achieve your career ambitions.
Handling Objections in Sales: Common Challenges and Solutions
When it comes to handling objections in sales, the kinds of challenges you’ll face will often be dictated not only by the product or service that you’re selling, but also the industry you’re working within—as well as your general approach to sales.
Building your confidence can be an effective way to nip objections in the bud early, but you might have some questions about the most common objections encountered in jobs in sales, and how to respond to them.
If these doubts are running through your mind, this is the section for you. We’ll offer some pragmatic advice on how you might respond to these challenges, and why leveraging these responses can help to improve your sales technique and clinch that deal.
Developing Your Skillset to Build Resilience and Sales Confidence
From overcoming objections to building rapport, jobs in sales often require candidates who can leverage their confidence to achieve a mutually beneficial result for all involved in the deal.
Fortunately, whilst this level of confidence might not come naturally to all of us—especially those of us who came into a sales career from a graduate recruitment scheme or similar initiative—building sales confidence is something that everyone can do.
So, how can you develop your skillset into a toolkit that you can rely on in difficult situations, and build your sales confidence simultaneously?
Prioritise the process. By building the right questions into your personal sales process, you’ll be able to set and manage your customers’ expectations and inspire trust in your abilities—whilst also enabling you to build rapport with key accounts by leveraging a consultative approach. As a result, you’ll build sales confidence while ensuring every lead is high-quality.
A growth mindset is everything in sales. Confidence isn’t cockiness or the ability to pressure customers into purchasing—it’s being assured by your own knowledge and competencies and knowing that you’re the expert on that product and its unique values and benefits. Practising, training, and committing to professional learning and development are crucial to building confidence and enhancing career prospects.
Don’t discount healthy emotional strategies. Handling objections in sales can be a struggle, and you’ll likely lose a few deals over the course of your career. The important thing is how you react to these losses. To thrive in your graduate recruitment scheme or sales career, you need to reframe failures as opportunities for learning, which can help you build sales confidence and bounce back from rejections with renewed enthusiasm.
Running from conflict is wrong. It’s a fact of life for jobs in sales: customers will come to you with demands. Sometimes, it’s important to remember to say, “no, we can’t do that, I’m afraid”, and set expectations. Your clients will respect you more if you let them know why you won’t be able to meet a deadline, instead of lying to them to rush to close the deal and failing to deliver on time. In short, sales confidence won’t just help you close deals but also enable you to manage relationships with key accounts more effectively.
Believe in the brand or business. Whatever industry you might find yourself in, or whatever product or service you’re likely to be selling, it’s vital to remember that salespeople that believe in the unique value of their brand show higher sales confidence, perform better, and are more committed to—and satisfied with—their jobs in sales. Whether you’re on a graduate recruitment scheme or you’ve already begun your career in sales, make sure that you understand your product inside and out, and familiarise yourself with the pain points that it helps your customers to resolve.
Whilst jobs in sales can be competitive and demanding, these challenges are often experienced in equal measure with how lucrative they can be for high-performing salespeople. By developing your confidence, handling objections in sales processes will become easier—allowing you to build the resilience and perseverance required to stay motivated and persistent when pursuing sales opportunities.
Common Sales Objections
As predictive sales and forecasting platform Clari has reported, handling objections in sales isn’t a sign that a deal is close to being lost—quite the opposite, in fact. Analysing data from over 200,000 sales calls, Clari’s experts found that whenever a lead or customer raised an objection, the rate at which salespeople were able to close went up by 30%.
Objections present early-career salespeople with a great way to develop their understanding of prospects and key accounts, enhance the way that they communicate the unique benefits and value proposition of their product or service, and build a robust professional relationship.
Now that we’ve seen how you can start to build your sales confidence, let’s look more closely at the ten most common objections encountered in the sales cycle, and some example responses you might offer:
1. “We lack the budget”
Handling objections in sales will often see you discussing the price of your proposed solution. It’s important to remember that if you’re offering a premium brand or service, you shouldn’t be drawn into conversations around reducing costs—that’s just a race to the bottom.
Whilst flexible payment options can be one way to side-step this issue, it isn’t the most effective means of dealing with one of the most common objections encountered by professionals in jobs in sales.
Instead, you’ll want to emphasise the benefits and unique value your product or service offers that justify the price. This is why it’s important to come to all of your client meetings prepared with data to back up what you’re discussing with prospects and key accounts. Many sales training courses in the UK will help you to develop skills in communicating these impactful insights and analytics with your customers, so consider drawing on the expertise of a coaching provider to hone your competencies in handling this kind of objection.
2. “We don’t need this product or service”
Even if you’ve done everything right—highlighting your unique value proposition, asking the right questions, and building a solid rapport—a customer may still come back to you to say they don’t need your product or service. Whilst it’s important not to appear pushy, particularly if you’re working with a key account, there are still techniques for handling this kind of objection.
First and foremost is to tailor your pitch. Ideally, by preparing thoroughly for your conversation with a lead or customer, you can head off these kinds of objections by addressing concerns about needs and requirements in your initial presentation.
Failing that, you will likely have uncovered your customers’ pain points during your touchpoints with them, so relate your negotiation back to how your product or service will help resolve them better than the alternatives available across the market.
3. “It’s not the right time for us”
Whilst creating a sense of urgency can be handled with grace, it’s important to again consider whether you’re being too assertive with a prospect when you discuss matters of timing with them.
Instead, try to schedule follow-ups with your leads and customers. Give them the confidence to know that you’ll call back when you say you do by logging all relevant details in your customer relationship management software, and contact them when you say you will—this allows you to revisit the negotiation when their situation has changed, enabling you to ascertain whether to nurture the lead further or place it on the back-burner.
4. “I need to consult with my manager”
Handling gatekeepers in the sales process can be a challenge for experienced sellers, never mind those early-career professionals who’ve entered the industry through a graduate recruitment scheme. However, knowing how to address this kind of objection is important, since it can certainly be turned to your advantage.
Consultative sales is all about offering solutions to your leads and clients, prioritising a customer-centric growth mindset, rather than an attitude of “closing the deal, no matter what”.
That being the case, when you’re negotiating an appeal to authority, you’ll want to ensure that you’re providing as much information as possible, whether that’s detailed slide decks or product samples, so that your solution can be shared with internal decision-makers. Similarly, make sure that you’re offering to assist in any way necessary to expedite the decision-making process.
5. “We’ve found a better deal elsewhere”
When competition rears its head, knowing how to respond is crucial. Again, getting drawn into a discussion on pricing is often a race to the bottom, especially when you’re selling a premium brand, product, or service.
As a result, it’s important to instead focus on differentiating your product from the competition—and now you know why we said that technical product knowledge is so significant in our last section—so really highlight those unique selling points, and the advantages of your product or service when compared to the competition.
Of course, you’ll want to handle this with finesse—don’t start denigrating other companies and their offerings; instead, let the facts and figures do the talking. Sharing customer testimonials, case studies, or data to evidence your product or service’s superiority is an excellent way to offer proof of why the prospect should go with your organisation.
6. “We’re comfortable with our current product or service”
Your leads may be resistant to change, especially if you’re selling a new technology, service, or platform within an otherwise traditional industry. This is again where technical, in-depth product knowledge can come to your rescue.
You need to illustrate how your proposed solution can help your customer to perform their duties and complete their work more effectively or profitably, with reference to the best practices established by market leaders within the sector.
Alongside this, product demonstrations or a “pilot programme” can be an excellent way to allow your customers to see the benefits of your solution first-hand, which can be more impactful than expecting them to take you at your word.
7. “I’m worried it won’t meet our expectations”
Given the currently uncertain economic climate, encountering and handling objections in sales based on mitigating risk is likely something that all salespeople will become intimately familiar with over the coming weeks and months.
Whilst the product and senior leadership team will often support salespeople in advance by drafting contracts with break clauses and cooldown periods, as an effective salesperson you can also help to alleviate your leads’ concerns by sharing success stories—highlighting how previous customers expressed similar doubts before committing to your product or service, and showing how you or your company were able to resolve real, practical, and business-critical problems to their satisfaction.
8. “I’m not sure about your company’s reputation”
Trust in the professional landscape is all about establishing credibility and taking ownership of not only your successes but your failures, too.
Of course, it would be best if your company’s reputation preceded you, but when it comes to graduate recruitment schemes, you may be tasked with cold-calling or cold-emailing leads, meaning you don’t have that luxury.
So, how can you handle this objection in a way that builds sales confidence?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, is to address the lead’s concerns openly and honestly. By allowing them to illustrate their objections, you’re better positioned as a salesperson to tackle specific pain points, rather than “tilting at windmills”. Similar to objections based on a prospect’s desire to mitigate risk or go with the competition, you may also want to share your company’s track record, reviews, awards, or testimonials, which can prove your reliability, quality, and professionalism.
9. “It lacks certain features we want”
Handling objections in sales that are based on features can certainly be a challenge. Luckily, the consultative sales process also encourages salespeople to share customer and prospect feedback on the product or service offering, meaning that new developments and the product roadmap can be guided by concerns raised by the people on the ground, speaking to the clients every day.
This, of course, doesn’t help if there’s a feature that’s in the roadmap for release next year, and you’ve got a potential client saying it lacks the features they want today. Whilst you may work with a product or service that can be quickly customised to include the desired features, creating a bespoke product for each request is not always feasible.
In that case, you can consider focusing on the benefits your product or service currently provides, and how it meets their core requirements and resolves their pain points today—whilst still noting that their suggestion is coming in a future iteration.
10. “We need more time to think about it”
Indecision can derail a deal that was otherwise a sure thing. It’s important to remember that you can do everything right and still face this phrase, so learning how to handle it will set you in good stead for all jobs in sales.
It’s important to reiterate the key benefits and advantages of the product or service that you’re offering, but it’s likely that you’ll do this as part of prioritising the process—as we outlined in our first section.
This means that you’ll need to set a deadline which encourages the customer to come back to you to discuss the matter further, especially if you’re dealing with a product which has limited stock. Setting a deadline doesn’t need to be guided by urgency, though—it can be as simple as providing excellent customer service by offering to check back in for a follow-up conversation at a mutually agreeable time.
Whilst these aren’t all the objections you’re likely to encounter when you’re completing your graduate recruitment scheme, they are some of the ones that our consultants have encountered with regularity—and learning how to respond to them effectively is crucial when building sales confidence.
Building Sales Confidence: Sales Training Courses in the UK
When building sales confidence, you often can’t go wrong in pursuing a training course or apprenticeship qualification with an accredited sales training provider.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the C-suite, either—a report from McKinsey & Company shows that the fastest-growing sales-oriented organisations are 80% more likely to achieve solid results from shifting their internal culture towards a growth mindset built on a foundation of learning and development.
But what will you study on sales training courses in the UK, and how does learning and development prepare you for the challenge of achieving your career ambitions?
The best sales executive apprenticeships and training will set you up with a solid grounding in several methods that are vital to long-term success within a sales career, no matter the industry. From planning and preparation, through data-driven customer needs analysis, to collaboration, negotiation, and time management, sales training courses in the UK give you the on-the-job learning and development opportunities you need to realise your potential.
Training can be an excellent way for you to build sales confidence and prepare for that next touchpoint without the pressure of the need to make that sale. No matter what market sector your employer serves, you’ll always be encouraged to bring your real-world problems to bear on the content and practical techniques you’ll be studying in the physical or virtual classroom.
This means that you’ll be able to present your more challenging deals to a professional training provider and your peers, and practice different methods of closing the deal in a low-risk way.
Similarly, sales training courses in the UK are often focused on ensuring that salespeople are able to keep up with the latest trends in technology. Many sales graduate recruitment schemes are offered by software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprises, meaning that you’ll need to be able to brush up on your technical know-how to ensure that you’re offering the most consultative and valuable customer experience.
These courses will cover the same sales fundamentals as their less tech-focused alternatives, but typically emphasise the impact of social media selling, knowing your industry inside and out, the project and development lifecycle, and the significance of navigating multiple decision-makers and gatekeepers.
If you’re interested in learning more about the impact that sales training courses in the UK can have on your career prospects, see our recent guide to Getting a Job Without Experience for a deep dive into how learning and development can help you to secure lucrative and challenging jobs in sales.
Handling objections in sales is a vital skill to master for those at the early stages of their career within the field, whether they’ve entered via a graduate recruitment scheme or a permanent position.
Jobs in sales demand candidates that can prioritise the sales process, embrace a growth mindset, and learn from their setbacks and failures. Additionally, it’s important to understand how handling objections in sales not only helps you to close the deal, but also enables you to build trust and establish a rapport with your prospects and key accounts.
By following this guidance, developing deep product knowledge, and believing in the brand you’re selling, you can not only handle negotiations effectively, but also enhance your career prospects.
Sales training courses in the UK provide graduates and early-career professionals with valuable opportunities to develop their skill set, offering those studying effective communication, preparation, and technical skills that will allow them to address objections and adapt to the latest industry trends.
By mastering these techniques and continuously investing in their learning and development, early-career professionals and those on graduate recruitment schemes can position themselves for long-term success and seize lucrative opportunities in the competitive world of sales.
Specialist Graduate Recruitment Support for Jobs in Sales
Whether you’re interested in learning about handling objections in sales, or you’ve recently completed your university studies and started looking for a graduate recruitment programme to kick-start your career, Pareto is here to assist you.
We’ve been championing sales success for over 25 years, helping candidates to realise their potential by providing sales qualifications and apprenticeships in the UK and beyond. Contact us to discover how we can help to connect you with exciting jobs in sales, and start working towards your career ambitions today.