Mastering Sales Objections in Sales Calls: How to Turn 'No' into 'Yes'
Nothing defeats an inexperienced salesperson faster than unexpected sales objections on a sales call. Most salespeople invest hours perfecting their sales pitch without a second thought about what comes afterward. But even a perfect pitch can be ruined by poor objection handling.
If you’re tired of losing deals to responses like, “Your price is too high,” “Now isn’t a good time,” or, “We’ll buy if you add these features,” it’s time to get serious about overcoming objections. Instead of hoping your prospects won’t have objections in sales conversations (they always will), spend some time preparing for them in advance.
Use our list below to start overcoming sales objections and closing more deals. Let’s begin with some of the basics of sales objections and the most common types.
What Are Sales Objections and How Can You Overcome Them?
Here’s one important thing every seasoned salesperson understands:
Getting an objection during a sales call is a good thing! It means the prospect has enough interest to at least engage with you, rather than flat-out dismissing you. For you, the salesperson, a sales objection is an opportunity to learn more about your prospect’s needs and pain points and find better ways to communicate the value your solution has to offer to them.
10 Proven Strategies to Handle Sales Objections on Sales Calls
To handle sales objections, you must be prepared for what is coming at you, listen attentively to what they're saying, and demonstrate that you truly understand the prospect's concerns. To master handling objections, you must prepare responses to common rebuttals from your leads to regain the upper hand.
Salespeople often struggle with objections because of the surprise factor—you weren’t expecting it! If you need to know how to manage any sales objection, these strategies can help take the shock value out of the conversation, and get you back on track to close.
- Really listen to the objection: You might think jumping in with a quick response is the best tactic, but it’s much better to listen carefully to what they are saying so you don’t make assumptions about what they want or what they mean. Practice active listening during calls, and don't let yourself be distracted by what you will say next.
- Take the time to understand the objection: Asking more questions about what they mean will help reveal the root of the issue that's holding them back. Opt for open-ended questions that get them talking to find out the real objection.
- Craft a response addressing their biggest objection: Once you understand it, provide a rebuttal to their concerns. If you can overcome this barrier, the call can likely continue with less resistance.
- Try to resolve their objection in real-time: The better you can satisfy their concerns right away, the more likely they will proceed further in the sales process. For example, can you show social proof that highlights the value of your product and how it can solve their business problems? Or can you offer them a lower price? While you're on a call with them, work to satisfy their objections.
- Keep responses clear and to the point: A long response where you go on and on isn’t likely to be well-received, but instead, seen as more ‘selling’ and less like addressing their concerns. Keep it short.
- Don’t wing it: Making up things on the spot is likely to get you in trouble; buyers can sense this and it will create a level of distrust that—in all likelihood—will end the sales call. If you need more information, ask for it, or look it up.
- Confirm you’ve satisfied the objection: Don’t assume you have just because they accept what you say. Ask your potential buyer how they feel about what you’ve said, or if you’ve alleviated their concerns. This can help you move in for the close, or if necessary, move on to addressing further concerns they have.
- Create an objection management document: This document should list the top 25 most common objections your sales team faces, and a short response for each. Ask your reps to log objections into your CRM, and find the ones that come up most often. Then, collaborate with the sales professionals on your team to develop responses that work for your ideal customer profile. This will make it easier to respond on sales calls because you'll know exactly what to say.
- Practice the objection responses and commit them to memory: You don’t have to recite them word-for-word, but you should at least have them in the back of your mind so you have a strong foundation and can deliver confident, compelling responses every time.
- PRO TIP: Customize your objection list to market: Each market has its own objections, and if you aren’t prepared for those, you’re going to lose deals to someone that is. Sort your objections into groups by market, and add objections you get from only certain areas.
The best way to become a master of these strategies is to practice them while selling. But you want to be prepared for these objections so you aren’t losing sales while mastering your objection handling. Here are the objections you’ll see in sales on a regular basis.
The 7 Most Common Sales Objections
Different salespeople face completely different objections, right? Wrong. What you’re selling will clearly affect the minor details of the objections that come your way, but the truth is, most salespeople face the same objections from their leads.
These are the types of objections in sales that most people see on a regular basis. Jump down to the one that you deal with most, or start working your way through the list.
- Price objections: No budget, no money, the price is too high, need a discount to buy
- Not a good fit: The product doesn’t make sense, too hard to integrate, not for me
- Not interested: Giving you the brush-off, we don’t need this, “It’s not you, it’s me”
- Too busy: Can’t talk right now, maybe later, send the information in an email
- Gatekeepers: Passing the buck, you need to talk to someone else, “I don’t have authority”
- Competition: We’re going with a competitor, [X] product is better, we’re already locked into a contract
- Hard NO: Not interested, “How did you get my information,” “I hate you,” *click*
We’re going to jump into one of the most common sales objections that salespeople deal with: a price that doesn’t seem to work.
Overcoming Pricing Objections in the Sales Process
These objections will range anywhere from “We simply think your product is too expensive” to “I need a discount to buy” to “We already allocated all of our budget for this type of things.” To overcome these, you need to assure the potential customer that the value they’re getting from your product is worth the price.
Often, people use price as a defense mechanism to hide what their real concerns are—or they’re just feeling you out to see if you’ll offer a discount. Make sure you get to the root of what’s really going on with a price objection.
1. "Your product/service is too expensive."
When a prospect says your product is too expensive, it isn’t always about price. In many cases, they have the budget for your product, but you haven’t demonstrated enough value to justify your price.
But sometimes it isn’t about price or value. Sometimes your prospects will use the pricing objection to hide their real concerns. The first thing you need to do when you hear the pricing objection is find out what’s really going on.
2. “We have no money.”
When your lead throws this one out there, it’s hard to press further because it’s likely true that they simply can’t afford you—right now. The best way to counter this is with strategically-placed follow-ups based on their growth.
Track what’s going on over there, and pounce again when you see some growth that might allow for you to sneak into the budget.
3. “We’ve already spent our budget.”
This is very similar to the no money objection listed above, yet it differs in one key way you can utilize to change your prospect’s mind: funding will return eventually.
You can counter this problem in 2 ways:
- Ask your lead when the cash flow will return to them, and follow-up then
- Work with your prospect to brainstorm ways you can allocate some of the budget to your product or service—especially if your service is something that will help them save money
4. “I need to allocate this budget elsewhere.”
This objection means that the potential is there to spend money on what you’re offering, but your prospect just doesn’t see it as a priority compared to other things, so they’re putting the money elsewhere.
The best way to counter this is with specific testimonials or case studies showing companies that mirror your prospect's business and how they benefitted from implementing your solution. Bonus points if you can show them how they’ll actually save money using you. That will make it awfully hard for your lead to object to when it comes to budgeting and resource allocation.
5. "Your product looks great, but the price is too high."
Whenever a prospect throws out the idea of getting a discount before they even try your product, don't give in. Instead, refocus the conversation on what matters most: your product, and even more importantly, the value it will create for your prospect.
Instead of engaging in cumbersome discount negotiations, use this technique to weed out bad fits, and demonstrate value to prospective customers.
6. “I don’t want to be stuck in a contract.”
Many people don’t want to get tied into a contract, especially if it’s for up to a year. This puts their cash flow availability at risk, and makes the commitment they make to you today a lot more serious than signing up for one month, or one quarter.
Another thing they might be saying is “I need to think this over”, because they need to make sure it will be worth the commitment. To counter this type of sales objection, see if you can offer shorter terms, or allow an option for them to leave the contract after 6 months. That safety net might mean the world to them, but if your product is good enough, they probably won’t exercise that right down the road.
7. “The ROI potential just isn’t there.”
If your prospect is telling you that what you’re offering won’t give them the Return on Investment they’re looking for, you need to show them exactly how it will. A case study of a similar business seeing ROI from your solution is the best way to counter this.
Don’t make the mistake of just repeating key features—they heard you the first time, and saying it again won’t convince them the ROI is there. You need to figure out how your prospect’s company is making money, and give them a concrete example of how your service, product, or solution will make them more—or save them more money than what they’ll spend on you in the process. Having your value proposition clear in your mind will help you think in terms of benefits, not features.
8. “Another option is cheaper.”
Well, it’s difficult to argue with that logic—if your service is completely identical to another but costs more. But is that usually the case? No! If it was, you wouldn’t be in business for very long. With this objection, you need to convince your lead that cheaper isn’t always better.
Show they exactly why your service costs more—and show them why that actually means it’s better. Demonstrate how some of your advanced features that they would be paying for will help them increase their own sales and make more money, or how it will streamline processes, saving time for employees. Show how this small investment now will pay off in the long run, and you'll be in a better position to overcome objections like this.
Master the cheaper option objection: Another agency can do it cheaper: Sales objections part 5 of 5 [+video]
Handling Customer Objections Around "Not a Good Fit"
When someone tells you you’re just “not a good fit”—it hurts! But what are people actually saying when they say this to you? “It’s not you, it’s me” is a little cliché, but these objections are often the polite way of saying “I’m not engaged with what you’re selling right now.”
To get to the bottom of these objections, use critical questions to better understand what’s holding your prospect back, and have your responses prepped when you feel them trying to push you off the sales call.
9. “We don’t have the ability to implement this solution.”
This one can be a deal-breaker in some cases. If your prospect looks at your product and realizes it would require them hiring another person or would take their current employees away from their regular duties, they may write you off altogether.
Try to find some ways that your product could make things more efficient for your prospect’s employees to help them see a long-term benefit of adding your product to their workplace.
10. “This product doesn’t work with our [X].”
If your prospect is committed to their existing system/tools and your product isn’t compatible, you’ll have a hard time getting them to switch. However, if you know a workaround, or if your product would eliminate the need for whatever their current setup is, explain the benefits of making the switch.
11. “I’ve never heard of you and your company is too small.”
Though this may sound quite negative at first, what they’re indirectly asking for is more information about your company. Give them some key points about your company, what you do, and how you can help them. Use testimonials and social proof to show that you can deliver on what you promise.
12. “I don’t understand this product/service.”
When you get one of these responses, you should consider whether you want to keep pursuing this prospect, as you don’t want to waste your time trying to explain your product's function to someone who ultimately isn’t likely to move forward with a sale.
If you want to keep trying to land the sale, ask them to clarify what part of your product’s description is unclear to them, then phrase your explanation in a different way to see if it makes more sense to them.
13. “I’ve heard negative feedback about your company.”
It’s nice to know that people are talking about your company with their peers, but when the information or opinions shared about you are negative, it can be hard to come back from.
Instead of scrambling to defend your company against whatever claims are presented to you, let the prospect know that you’ll pass the feedback on to the appropriate person or department. Then, offer them information on how you can improve or add value to their company with your product/service.
Your goal is to change how they view your company without directly combating the negative claims they’ve heard. You also want to steer away from saying negative things about the competitor/customer, as bad-mouthing them isn’t what’s going to keep your sales call on track.
14. “Your product is too complicated for me.”
In these cases, the first thing you should determine is whether the prospect is confused about what your product is/does, if they’re struggling to understand some of the features, or if the product itself is too complex. If they see your product as something that would potentially create complications for them, they’ll have no interest in purchasing it.
If the issue is that they need further explanation of your product’s functions and features, try phrasing it differently than you did previously. Also, make sure they know they can contact you and your company’s support team if they need any help with using the product or setting it up.
Overcoming Objections When They're Not Interested
These objections are similar to the “not a good fit” above, but differ in one key way: these objectors aren’t hiding behind a polite excuse. When someone tells you outright that they aren’t interested, it means they’ve thought of at least one good reason why they know they don’t need to buy what you’re selling.
To overcome sales objections from the apathetic or uninterested, you have to have some real, concrete reasons why they're wrong. Convince them to change their perspective on that one thing they’re fixating on, so the call flows back in your favor.
15. “We’ll buy if you add these features.”
Feature demands are common when selling to enterprise customers. They’re used to getting what they want, and they want you to customize your software to their needs.
When prospects demand features that aren’t aligned with your vision, the best thing you can do is walk away. You may lose some accounts over this, but that’s better than compromising the integrity of your product. Besides, you’ll be surprised how often taking the deal away is all it takes to close on your terms.
16. “Your product/service is a fad and won’t last.”
If your company is selling a product that’s the first of its kind, you’ll need to prove that you're setting a lasting trend, and not just a fad that will fade away as quickly as it came (so long, fidget spinners).
To change their mind, tell them about some of the positive feedback you’ve received from other customers, and give any stats you have about how your product can improve their metrics; convince them that you’re worth a shot.
17. “I’m happy with the way things are.”
You’ll find that many people are hesitant to change anything when things seem to be going well. However, if you can get them to spill the beans about any issues they’re experiencing that you may be able to solve, then you have an in. If they really think everything is perfect as is, you might want to give up on that prospect and move on.
18. “[X] problem isn’t important to me currently.”
Find out why this problem that your product would solve isn’t a priority for them right now. Are there real reasons for it not to be a priority, or are they just making excuses? Try to create a sense of urgency, so they treat the problem more seriously and are more likely to consider moving forward.
19. “I don’t see how your product will help me.”
This is another time where the prospect is indirectly asking for more information. The simple strategy here is to explain how your product can solve problems they may be experiencing in their line of business. Use your knowledge of the problems experienced by other similar prospects to guess what their main issues might be.
20. “You don’t understand my needs: I need [X] not [Y].”
This typically happens when you didn’t qualify a prospect properly, and instead made assumptions about them. Let them know what your understanding of their situation was, apologize for any misunderstanding, and ask them to explain their needs to you again.
After you are sure you understand, paraphrase their needs so they feel heard, understood, and validated. Move forward from there by explaining how your product can fulfill their needs now that you’re on the same page.
How to Respond When They're Too Busy
Yes, we’re all busy, so why are your leads always telling you they don’t have time to talk right now? Many of these objections are also polite excuses veiling the real reason your prospect isn’t interested in sitting down and having a real conversation.
To deal with these, you once again need to ask more detailed questions to get them to express the real concerns they’re having. You also need to be open to following up, and learn not to leave things open-ended for too long.
21. “Your solution isn’t a priority right now.”
When a prospect says your product isn’t a priority, one of three things is true:
- You’re selling to the wrong customer
- You aren’t pitching to your prospect’s priorities
- Your prospect is masking their real concerns
First things first: uncover what’s really going on. Then you can customize your approach based on their situation. In most cases, you just misunderstood what was really important to them.
22. “Just email me more information and I’ll get back to you.”
Your prospect may have good intentions when they promise to get back to you, but you’ll probably never hear from them again. When you leave the responsibility of follow-up to your prospects, you’re basically surrendering the deal.
Agree to send them more information, but don’t hang up yet. Ask them an open-ended follow-up question like, “Just so I know what to include in my email, can you tell me…” Usually that will lower their guard enough to start a conversation, and you won’t end up needing that email after all.
23. “I don’t have time to talk right now.”
If you your prospects say they don't have time early in the sales cycle (such as while cold calling), your prospect is just trying to get you off the phone. Your response needs to convey that you only need a few moments of their time to provide a ton of value.
If you hear it later in the sales cycle, it means you’ve dropped the ball; they were interested, and now they aren’t. Your price has exceeded your perceived value and, until you tip the scales, you won’t close the deal.
24. “We’ll buy soon.”
This objection is another example of good intentions. The prospect may want to buy from you next week, but something’s going to come up. Next week turns into next month, and next month into next year.
When a prospect says they’ll buy sometime soon, find out if there’s anything that could happen to derail the deal. If there is, create a mutual action plan. If there isn’t, walk them through the virtual close so you both understand exactly what needs to happen next.
25. “I'll think about it.”
When a prospective buyer tells you they have to "think about it, " it means you haven't done your job well enough yet—they still don't know whether to buy.
And when you let them think about it... the result will almost always be a "no", or the prospect will just go MIA and never respond to any of your follow-up attempts again.
Here's a response to this sales objection:
“When someone tells me that they have to think about it, they're telling me that for one of these two reasons: They're not interested in us, or they are interested, but not sure. Which is it in your case?”
And based on how they respond, you can then proceed to address their concern.
26. “There’s too much going on right now—call me back next quarter.”
We’d recommend addressing this objection directly: ask what’s going to be different next quarter. Don’t be too aggressive, but don’t let them just brush you off or make excuses. If there are legitimate reasons why they need to hold off, prepare yourself for a follow-up with them.
What to Say When You Can't Reach the Decision-Maker
How do you get past the gatekeeper when time and time again, they won’t pass you on to the person who is really making the decisions? Many of these objections involve “passing the buck". Your lead will act like the next move is completely out of their control, but we know that just isn’t true.
Use logical reasoning and a clear value proposition to get your prospect to reconsider allowing you to speak to key decision-makers.
27. The Gatekeeper
Gatekeepers are living, breathing objections and, in many cases, they’re the first roadblock you’ll face. How you interact with them determines the direction of the entire deal. The gatekeeper is a unique objection because they can become one of your most valuable assets. If you can convince them to buy into your vision, they’ll become your internal champion and most vocal advocate.
Your best strategy is first, to stop thinking of them as gatekeepers. Develop trust with them over time, and demonstrate the value you have to offer them, or any other members at their company.
28. “I can’t sell this to my team.”
Sales reps can arm their prospect with the information they need to counter any objections they might receive from the team. Rather than giving in to their assessment that they can’t sell you or your product, help them prepare to pitch your product to their team the same way you pitched it to them in the beginning.
29. “We’re downsizing right now.”
This is another situation where it’s better to just let it go—pushing here isn’t the right move. Leave things on a positive note with your contact so that when the coast is clear, they might reach out to you to pick things back up.
30. “I can’t make a commitment until I meet with [other decision-makers].”
The larger the businesses you sell to, the more common stakeholder meetings will be. They slow down the sales process, but can also be a powerful sales tool. The trick is getting an invite.
Next time your prospect says they need to meet with other decision-makers, find out if you can be present (even just over the phone). If this meeting is between all relevant stakeholders, you may be able to close the deal on the spot.
31. “I’m not authorized to sign off on this commitment.”
Easy! Mastering the lack of authority objection simply is about asking them who would be the right person to speak to and get their contact information so you can get in touch. Just make sure that, once you get in touch with them, you ask if they also need to get sign-off on the deal from someone else.
32. [Economic buyer] “I’m not convinced.”
Know when to walk away. Unfortunately, not every prospect is going to lead to a successful sale. If the contact you’ve been communicating with isn’t able to convince their superiors that your product is worth it, don’t waste your time.
33. “I’m part of a buying group.”
If you’re not able to offer the same discounted prices that your prospect is getting when buying in bulk with a group of other companies, this will be a challenge. See what the requirements are for their buying group. Are they allowed to make separate purchases on their own or are they bound by a contract of some sort? Look into becoming one of their approved vendors, or if you don’t think there’s any real opportunity, move on.
Facing Competitor Objections in Sales Calls
These are some of the hardest types of sales objections to combat because it’s entirely possible that your competitor offers more features or cheaper prices—and there’s nothing you can do to change that. What you can change, however, is your lead’s perspective on value.
Step one to overcoming objections about competitors: Maintain a confident stance that your product is actually superior. Don't let yourself be bullied. Step two: Find a concrete example that shows your product is superior, and prove it to your leads.
34. “You've got a great product, but we're going to go with [the industry standard].”
With a failure rate of 90%, it’s no wonder prospects hesitate to commit to startups when they could keep using the proven incumbent. Your product may be better, but the industry standard is safer.
The trick to winning over these prospects is presenting an option they haven’t thought of: using both solutions. Turn an “either-or” situation into an “and” situation, and you can close even the most stubborn prospects.
35. “We’re already working with [X competitor].”
If your prospect is already using a similar product/service from one of your competitors, then they already know they need something that serves that purpose. Your goal here should be to gather information about their experience with your competitor.
Ask them what works well with their current supplier, what doesn’t, why they chose it, and so on. Use that information to your advantage to present your product as the superior option.
36. “I’m already locked into a contract.”
This objection implies that while the prospect is interested in your product, they don’t want to take the financial hit to get out of a contract with your competitor. In this case, see if you can offer them a discount to sign with you instead, or find some long-term financial benefit of making the switch that would make up for the loss they’ll have to deal with in the beginning.
37. "Your offer/product/company is not good enough!"
Don't fall into the trap of the bully prospect. Their entire mission is to break your confidence and get what they want from you. You already know they're interested in what you're selling (no matter what objections they may bring to the table), but they don't think you know that.
Stand firm and go into the conversation strong, and you're guaranteed to flip things around and get what you want. You just need to keep one question in the back of your mind the entire time: Why are they still talking to us?
38. “I’m happy with [X competitor].”
Similar to #34, even if your prospect is happy using one of your competitors, you can identify areas where your competitor falls short, and in turn, promote your own product as something that would meet the mark.
39. “[X competitor] told me [false statement] about your product/company.”
Ensure them that those claims are untrue. If they have any further questions about it, offer to provide information/proof that those claims are false. This presents you with an opportunity to follow up with the prospect with further information.
Dealing With a Hard No
If your sales call has gotten to this point, it’s hard to keep pressing on, especially if you’re dealing with rude behavior. However, the sales call isn’t over until it’s over, and even then—it might not be over!
Dealing with hard “No” objections means being persistent, and pushing through the hard questions and concerns your prospects have. It means following up with something convincing that changes their mind. And, it means not letting yourself get discouraged when it seems like all is lost.
40. “No,” “No…” and “No!”
There are three different kinds of “no's” in sales.
- Early in the sales cycle, it means, “You haven’t provided enough value."
- Later in the sales cycle, it means, “Not yet.”
- At the end of the sales cycle, it means, “I'm not interested.”
Each “no” requires a different response, so the trick is learning to differentiate between your prospects’ rejections and responding accordingly.
Master the firm "NO" objection: Learn to love the "no" (and win in sales)
41. “I’m busy right now.”
Make it clear that you won’t take up much of their time and just want to have a quick chat with them about your product. If they still won’t take a few minutes to talk to you, arrange a follow up.
42. “I’m not interested.”
If they’re quick to dismiss you during your first call, arrange to have a follow-up call or send them an email with more information so they can consider your offer more thoroughly later.
Master the firm not interested objection: Six ways to handle the “I’m not interested” blow off
43. “How did you get my information?”
Be honest about where you got their contact info. Maybe they filled out a form on your website, or maybe you met at a networking event—chances are, they just forgot. Give them a gentle reminder that they were the ones who provided their contact information.
If you took their information from a list you found online, their social media profile, or a B2B database, respect their wishes if they don’t want you to contact them.
44. “I hate you.”
If your prospect just doesn’t seem to be getting along with you for whatever reason, consider passing them off to another sales rep. This isn’t necessarily your fault at all, so if you think one of your teammates would be better suited to deal with the prospect’s personality, try to save the sale by passing the prospect to them.
Getting a hang-up can ruin your day as a sales rep—but only if you let it. When a prospect hangs up on you, try calling them back a few minutes later, and say this:
“Sorry, I think we lost the connection. Where were we?”
Never assume they hung up on you purposely. For all you know, they just hit the wrong button! Try to continue the conversation with confidence and a smile. If you're relaxed rather than angry, the prospect may decide to keep talking—even if they did mean to hang up on you!
More Resources for Overcoming Different Types of Sales Objections
No deal worth closing will come easily, but that doesn’t mean you should make it harder than it needs to be. Remember these key tips to turn objections into sales:
- Next time you practice your pitch, practice your objection-handling skills
- Every time you successfully overcome an objection, make a note of what you did
- Talk with other salespeople about the responses that work for them
- Aim to build trust with prospects so they believe you have their best interests in mind
The next time you get frustrated by your prospect’s sales objections, remember: anyone can sell to eager prospects. Salespeople exist for the difficult customers, the ones who say, “No,” “Maybe next month,” and, “Yes, but …”
So start overcoming objections, and stop letting them overcome you. Create your objection management document, practice your responses, then get out there and crush it.
Here's our simple framework for overcoming any sales objection: