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Handling Client Objections - The First Step

By Susan Hall

Handling Client Objections - The First Step
  • You’ve done your due diligence and discovered what’s most important to your client and why.
  • You’ve come up with a solution that you know is right for your client.
  • You’ve spent days, weeks, months or longer working with your team to put together the best proposal, only to hear:

“Your price is too high.”

“I’m not comfortable with that approach.”

“We can’t agree to these terms.”

"Your competitor is offering this for free."

Ugh. No one likes objections. After all the time and effort you put into your proposal, it can feel like a gut punch. When hit with an objection, what is your first reaction? Do you:

A. Get defensive?

B. Start explaining and justifying all the reasons why your solution is right?

C. Get angry or defensive?

D. Jump to problem solving?

Many salespeople choose answer "D."

After all, the best sales professionals are excellent at solving problems. However, while it’s perfectly natural to want to jump to solution, there’s actually something important we need to address first.

Let’s look at what an objection really is:

An Objection is a Concern or a Question – with Tension.

Yep, it’s the tension that makes an objection feel like a gut punch. And, as with any moments of tension, it’s important to diffuse that tension before we jump to problem solving. If we jump too quickly, the client may feel like we aren’t listening and don’t understand their concerns. This can result in frustration, protracted negotiations, and the erosion of trust.

So what should you do?

Instead of jumping to telling the client what you can do to address the objection, try asking and listening first. In other words, when the client shares their objection – STOP, BE QUIET and LISTEN.

Start by acknowledging their concern and asking an open question:

“I’d like to be sure we’re comparing apples to apples. Would it be okay if we reviewed the proposal together?”

“What is it about the terms that you have a concern with?”

Or the always effective, “Can you tell me more about that?”

By engaging the client in conversation, we have a higher probability of addressing their real, underlying concerns, rather than making false assumptions. By listening and empathizing, we also demonstrate that we care about their concerns.

There’s also something far worse than a client who objects.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and
never come back.

With that in mind, it really does pay to thank our customers and reduce tension first by listening and empathizing. This way, both parties are in a neutral/positive place, and can move more quickly and effectively to resolve the issue and strengthen the relationship.

Published: April 5, 2022

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Susan Hall

Vice President - Business Development & Performance Improvement

Susan brings over 20 years of experience working with global markets and organizations, helping them navigate through tough economic challenges while maintaining their margins. Since joining SEG in 1995, she has had the privilege of working with organizations that truly value the development of their employees and recognize the impact their people have on their bottom line results. Susan graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a double major in business management and speech communication. She has also completed course work toward her master's degree at Johns Hopkins University.

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