Let’s face it. When it comes to sales conversations, hearing an objection from your prospect is inevitable. They'll disagree with you on things like price, the size of your team, or whether you're fit for the project.
Clients almost always have some form of “no” rolled up their sleeve. Finding what motivates their objections, though, is a mystery we have to solve in the sales cycle.
It’s hard to confront objections, especially if you’re trying to grow your business and land better clients. But not every “no” is concrete. In fact, you can turn it around. You just have to learn the communication tactics and negotiation strategies to make it happen.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to deal with the most common client objections. You’ll learn how to anticipate, embrace, and respond to every one you hear.
There are plenty of objections you’ll come across in your sales conversations, but the three you’ll encounter the most are:
Every hesitation has its reason. Maybe the client’s spent too much money before. They could have had a sour experience. Maybe they worked with someone who didn’t do their research.
You have to expect the client’s concerns. When you hear an objection, that’s not your cue to convince or persuade them into working with you. Your goal is to get to the root of their doubts and guide the client from their point of view to see yours.
Some objections can leave you feeling pretty paralyzed. So how do you effectively move the conversation forward?
Embrace the moment. Now, this may take some getting used to, but it’s a vital step to understanding your prospect’s position.
Listening—specifically active listening—is one of the strongest skills you can bring to the table. Listen more than you speak. As you listen intently, you’ll slowly start to pick up the clues in the client’s concerns.
When it’s your time to speak, repeat the client’s own words back to them in the form of a question. This shows them that you’re invested not just in the conversation, but in their worries as well.
Clients want to feel heard. Put simply, they want to know that someone gets them. Empathize and reassure them that any concerns they may have are valid.
For a more specific example of acknowledging objections, check out the video below. Chris acts as a freelance videographer negotiating with a client who won’t budge. You’ll see exactly how Chris embraces the client’s concerns, and eventually negotiates to get the win:
Questions will serve as your guiding light when navigating through objections. You should always ask more than you tell. Try to understand the client’s point before introducing your own.
On top of asking questions, here are three ways to respond when clients say “no":
To turn something negative to positive, you have to embrace the objection (which we covered above) and pivot. This is your chance to turn the conversation around.
Pivoting is the hard part. To do it successfully, you have to change the conversation, not the subject. Flip the opposition on its head once you’ve dug deeper into the client’s concern.
If the client’s told you that you’re too expensive, for example, embrace and pivot by saying, “I understand you have a certain budget in mind, and maybe we are too expensive. It’s true: you can get this done for less elsewhere. If you're searching for the cheapest price, I'm probably not the best choice. But if you're looking for a specific result, I'd be happy to help.”
Price bracketing, or price anchoring, gives the client an idea of how much they’ll potentially spend if they hire you. Instead of estimating one number, say a range of numbers, and follow that with, “does a figure in this range work for you?”
Let’s say the client is looking to have a website designed. They have a certain budget in mind, so they’d ask, “How much will this cost?”
“For a custom website design, I typically charge anywhere between $10,000 to $60,000. Does something in this range work for you?”
Say the price before you show a price. The client’s reaction will reveal where their budget stands.
In this video, Chris briefly explains the concept of Price Bracketing, and how to deliver it in a client-facing setting:
In his highly-acclaimed book, The Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns introduces us to the concept of killing the opportunity first. In other words: act like you don’t want the job.
This technique of playing hard to get is a bit more advanced, but if you’re confident in your delivery, it can work in your favor. The dynamic between you and the client shifts, and suddenly, they’ll try to get you to work with them.
These are just a few techniques to respond to objections. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our How to Negotiate course. It’s an in-depth guide to dealing with the most challenging client questions.
How to Negotiate covers Chris’s go-to selling technique: The Socratic Six framework. He’ll teach you how to know what clients want, how to sell without selling, and how to win more business, without being more aggressive. Want in? Click here to learn more and enroll in How to Negotiate.
Role-playing is one of the best exercises you can do to get comfortable negotiating with clients. The more you practice responding to different objections, the more ingrained the techniques become. Dealing with objections can become second-nature.
In sales conversations, confidence is everything. When you believe in yourself and can speak emphatically, clients will take note immediately. Practice role-playing with friends or people in your network, and see how much more approachable negotiating can be.
Here's an example of a role-play scenario where Chris responds to the "vendor's" objection that Chris's price is too high:
If you need a little guidance, support, or even mentoring on how to handle objections, our Business Bootcamp program may be just what you need.
Business Bootcamp is an entirely self-paced masterclass on attracting, landing, and keeping better clients. With multiple in-depth modules on negotiating, pricing, marketing, delegating, and so much more, you’ll learn what steps you need to take to bring your dream business to life.
Bootcamp is open year-round for entrepreneurs looking to take their business to the next level. You can go through the module material at your own pace, and participate in the community for life.
Dealing with objections from clients is hardly half of the battle. If you’ve been trying to grow your business, but feel like you’ve hit a wall, join us in Business Bootcamp.
It’s worth noting that sometimes things just don’t work out. If you and the client realize a partnership isn’t feasible, provide value to them anyway. Refer them to someone who can do the job. When you genuinely help others, it will come back to you.
Know that objections are inevitable throughout the sales cycle, but how you deal with them is the difference between winning more business and staying exactly where you are.
Freelancing is tough. Here are 9 lessons to take note of to avoid mistakes.