Handling objections: tips for business development
Handling objections is a skill you have to learn early on in your business development role. Learn some tips to become better at handling objections!
All of us working in business development had to face some down moments. After all, can everything always go smoothly? Nope. We can’t always get a yes in business. Even our most successful deals, usually require a lot of time and effort before winning them!
The most challenging moments we face in business development are certainly those of friction when we strive away from our interlocutor’s position to a certain extent.
These are the moments in which our potential customers or partners seem to come up with any reason not to do business with us. In other words, when they have so many objections that it becomes very hard to keep focus and stay motivated.
But guess what? You can’t escape objections. In fact, they are part of the process. Your leads will always have something to say about your product or service that doesn’t convince them 100%.
As business developers, our job is to make sure that our interlocutor feels comfortable with our offer. Sometimes this is not an easy task, because, for as much effort as you put in, there seems to always be something new to fix. But, if you pay attention, you may notice that in fact, these arguments are always the same.
You’re too expensive. This feature doesn’t work. Your service misses this or that item. I don’t have time now.
As a matter of fact, no matter what business you work for, objections always come down to a few, very old ones. Typically money, time, or decision power.
So, if that’s the case, do you have the same old replies for those objections, or do you wing it with every other prospect hoping it will work out this time?
I recently read “The tipping point”, by Max Gladwell and one sentence really stuck with me. He says:
What separates a great salesman from an average one is the number and quality of answers they have to the objections commonly raised by potential clients.
I couldn’t agree more and I would add that the real secret to getting that big, fat “yes” is getting many, smaller, tiny “yes’s” during the process. And this is not valid only in sales but in partnerships, negotiations, with colleagues, with family, in life!
So how can we become better at handling objections and becoming more successful business developers? My secret weapon is having an objection playbook!
It’s a sort of wiki to store all the objections you find along the way and that you can use to be more prepared during your next meetings.
Check out these steps and download our template to start practicing!
Step 1: Start taking notes during your meetings
The first very important thing to do starts recording any objection you hear from your interlocutor. Keep track of them on a spreadsheet or doc. To make it easy, you can download our template here.
Once you start writing things down, you will notice that there are certain questions and doubts that always come up.
Step 2: Write down your answers
Right after recording the objections, go through your notes, and start working on your answers. Try to write in the most comprehensive, trustworthy but short way possible.
It doesn’t have to be the last version, but at least that will give you a starting point. With time, you can improve your answers and handle objections in a more effective way.
The good thing is that if you do it during your own time, you can think without the pressure of having someone on the phone waiting for your answer.
Step 3: Learn and practice your objections
Now that you have your objections and answers written down, you have to make sure to learn them by heart. After all, practice makes perfect so start rehearsing your answers.
A good way to go with it is to do some role-plays with your colleagues. You can pretend to be in a meeting and one of you plays a very picky interlocutor.
The more role plays you make, the more confident you’ll be when real-life discomfort happens.
Related article: Adaptability in business development: a core skill.
Step 4: Anticipate objections
So now that you have your own objections playbook and hopefully had some time to practice, you are ready to take objections handling to the next level.
Your potential clients will love to see a prepared business developer. But there is something more you can do to really wow them. You can anticipate objections!
We have to realize that everyone is scared they are doing something stupid when they’re buying something or are in a transaction of some kind.
Especially if there is a high price tag on it. So sometimes people say “no” just because they mean “there’s probably some good reason why I’m not the right fit for it. So I’m just gonna say no as a precaution”.
This, at the end of the day, is the deep reason why some leads are diffident at the beginning. However, If we can materialize doubts and fears before clients can even think of them, they will feel understood.
They will know you didn’t leave anything to the case and genuinely want to help them solve a challenge.
What happens usually is that they will trust you! And as we know, trust is the basis of any functional relationship.
A good way to anticipate objections even before you get in touch with your leads is by making your most common objections public on your website! In this way, you can sweep away all doubts even before the client makes the first contact with you.
Important note: beware that this doesn’t mean deliberately lying to them. In fact, you should be very honest, about everything, including your weak spots.
Related article: Cold calling is a competitive advantage
The #1 Objection Handling pro secret: Focus on the fears
I kept the most important piece of information for the end of this post. Really, what is the root of all objections? Fear.
When elaborating your replies, instead of tackling objections superficially, try to reach the source of the fears they come from and defeat them.
What about creating blog posts on each objection? Clients can read them by themselves when they have time. If they are introverts and normally feel scared when talking to a salesperson, they will love these posts even more.
Extra tip: In case of doubt, be honest!
And last, what if we can’t answer an unexpected objection?
Easy: again, be honest.
If you sincerely don’t know the answer to a question, you can say “That’s a very good question. Let me look into that with my team so we can provide the best solution for you in this case”.
You can’t get a “yes” here, but at least you’ll get a “thank you” instead of a “no”. Plus, honesty always looks good on a company.
And finally, keep in mind that whenever a potential customer is asking so many questions, is actually a good sign. It means s/he is interested in what you have to offer, so don’t give up!
Download the Objection Handling Playbook and start winning more deals!
Martina Di Pasquale
Business Developer at The BD School
My energy comes from working for companies that meet the values I live by. I want to see them reach their full potential and virtuously influence the marketplace.
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