As 2020 rolls into the final quarter, sales teams and leaders are looking forward to the new year. Some of the many challenges companies are faced with are closing as many deals as possible and getting revenue in a healthy position for 2021.
Unfortunately, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the year for healthy growth and strong sales pipelines.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a deadly virus that has swept through society, affecting every country, and plunging the global economy into turmoil. Some countries have coped significantly better than others, there’s no denying that. Recovery is going to be uneven across the world, and will take more time in various sectors.
As a result, sales teams are likely encountering far more “now is not a good time,” or worse case, radio silence from prospects. For those who are still talking, we’ve compiled 15 of the most common objections you might be encountering, and how to try and overcome them.
#1: “If you had the budget, would you go ahead today?”
This is a good way to judge whether it’s a budget issue, or something else.
If the answer is yes, then use this as a way of determining when would be a good time.
If the answer is no, then maybe they’re not the best fit. Maybe they don’t understand the product or service, or the value they can get from it. Assuming this question illustrates a problem such as that, then you can work on solving it. We have other examples of similar discovery-related problems that can be overcome when you ask the right questions.
#2: “When do you think would be a good time?”
Prospects can answer this one of two ways. Either a fixed timescale (roughly speaking), such as next month or quarter, or with uncertainty.
If it comes down to, “when this pandemic is over”, then you could be waiting a while. Everyone is adapting to the new normal, and that might mean projects being put on hold, or being cancelled altogether. No one wants to get a firm “No”; but at the same time, it’s better to know where exactly you stand with a prospect.
#3: “What seems to be the roadblock?”
Yet again, this is another way of checking whether it’s a temporary, time-based roadblock, or whether it’s a result of Covid-19 and the economy, or something else.
In cases when it\s something else, then find ways to overcome the challenge.
#4: “Is there someone else on the team who needs to be convinced?”
It could be the case that not everyone is convinced.
This is usually something that’s useful to find out during the discovery process. As budgets have become tighter, more decision makers are getting involved in purchases. So new people may have got involved since you started talking to a prospect.
Find out who needs to be convinced.
#5: “What would help you convince other stakeholders/budget holders?”
Following on from that, find out what would help to convince them.
Do you need to demonstrate ROI?
Would a few case studies be helpful?
What about a demo call with a person or group that still needs convincing?
Do your best to find out the issue, then put steps in-place to overcome it.
#6: “If I call back next month (or quarter), what’s likely to have changed?”
Continuing the theme, the challenge is to understand if the issue is temporary or more permanent.
Temporary challenges, such as waiting on a decision maker to come back from holiday, can be overcome. Whereas, companies waiting on the economy to improve, is a more long-term challenge. It could take some time, perhaps 2 or 3 years, for the global economy to recover to pre-Covid levels.
#7: “What happens if you don’t achieve X goals by [a certain date]?”
You should be able to ask this question based on the discovery process. Assuming this involves asking a prospect about goals. See if the answer points towards when they can make a decision on this purchase.
#8: “Are you clear on how our Product [or service] can add value?”
Great question to understand what a prospect understands about your product or service.
What happens if it sounds like they don’t properly understand?
Now might be a great time to jump on a screen-share or instant demo call. If you can, even give them remote control to try it out for themselves. Whatever it takes: help them understand the value properly, so that they want to go ahead and say yes.
#9: “Is the timing/economy the concern, or is there something else?”
Another way to ask the question about whether it’s what’s going on, or if there’s a specific objection that you need to help them overcome.
#10: “Are there specific factors you need to wait for?”
Often, when it comes to companies making a purchase, they could be waiting for something. Perhaps it’s for revenue to go up, or for some funding to be secured. Maybe a key decision maker is waiting on a specific account/prospect in their own pipeline to say yes.
Whatever is contributing to the delay, it would be helpful to know. If it’s something you can overcome, or put their mind at ease, then it means you can take action.
#11: “If this pandemic (and economic downturn) weren’t happening, would you go ahead?”
Another way of saying, “Is it us/the product or (gestures vaguely at the mess 2020 has become)?”
It’s a question that might be difficult for a prospect to answer. It implies the company may not be doing as well as they want. Hence it’s something you might need to ask every prospect that hesitates, and so it’s useful to have a few different ways to ask it.
#12: “Is the cost a problem?”
Cost may not have been an issue when you started speaking to a prospect. However, if that is an issue they’re now encountering, then see what you can do to help overcome this one.
#13: “If we reduced the cost and added X would that be helpful?”
Reducing costs, and adding other services/features might seem counter-intuitive, but it could help secure numerous clients.
But, at the same time, you need to get more from them. Such as committing to a longer-term contract. Or giving them a discount, but with the same aim in mind, so that if you normally ask for 12 months, they will now sign 18 months, or longer.
#14: “How can we make this process easier for you?”
See what else can be done, and then solve the problem for them.
#15: “Are there other things we can help you with/problems we can help solve?”
Same as the above. Except with a view towards either up-selling, cross-selling, or referring them to others who could help solve separate problems to the ones you can specifically solve. Now is the time to leverage networks, and be more helpful to prospects. With any luck, companies you are working with will be equally collaborative and helpful in return.
CrankWheel: Cut your sales cycle in half with instant screen-sharing. Go from two or more sales calls to one: Become a one call close sales team.
Originally published on the CrankWheel blog.