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From Obstacle To Opportunity: How To Handle Proposal Objections

By March 26, 2024No Comments

You finished delivering a fantastic sales presentation (live, of course) detailing how you can solve your prospective client’s challenges. Then you hear it: “I’m not sure” or “that’s more than we wanted to spend” or just plain “No.” Objections—ugh. What do you do?

First, don’t panic. And forget about telling yourself stories about why you’re not good enough and all that toxic self-talk. (You are totally good enough, by the way.) Instead, assess the reason behind the objection.

There are three main reasons why objections happen.

1. The client isn’t a good fit for you.

And that’s okay. Ideally, you would have figured this out during a discovery call, but hey, a few are bound to sneak through.

Regardless, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later that they:

  • Couldn’t afford you in the first place
  • Haven’t accepted that their issue is a big-ticket problem
  • Aren’t in enough pain to commit to making an investment (I’m not talking literal pain here—well, most of the time anyway),
  • Want you to do it their way and not the way you know will get optimal results
  • Have some other unnamed issue that’s really not worth focusing on

You don’t have to prove that you can do the job. You sell brown shoes, but they need someone who sells black shoes—and that’s OK! It’s better to walk away than risk disappointing the client or wasting your time pushing a boulder up a hill. Trust me, that’s not a sword you want to fall on, so move on. Next please!

2. You haven’t established enough value versus cost.

When value exceeds cost, people will buy all day long. But if cost exceeds perceived value, then no one is buying anything. So, how do you amp up the value? There are oh so many ways, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Show them what is has cost them thus far to not solve the problem and what it will cost them to do something only halfway.
  • Quantify how much time they’ve wasted trying to solve the problem themselves. People can forget that time is money, so ask them what their time is worth and then multiply that by the number of hours they’ve spent.
  • Ask how much money they’ve already invested on less expensive solutions that didn’t solve the problem. (This can be rhetorical; make sure they don’t think they have to actually disclose the dollar amount or they could get defensive, and that’s not going to help close the deal.)
  • Ask how many people, both inside and outside the company, have tried to solve the issues. Talent can be expensive, and wasting it even more so. It’s an undeniable truth, even when hard to face.
  • Deliver a readiness assessment that clearly defines the exact issues (which often isn’t what they think it is) and offers actionable direction on how to solve them. Do a workshop with the team. Or find other ways to raise the impact you’re having on their outcome.

3. You haven’t done enough risk mitigation.

Clients need to feel safe enough to invest what’s needed—time, money, resources, etc. Your job is to get them to take the next safe step. That could mean offering to do a bite-sized portion of the proposed plan to validate that it’s the right direction. Or making them consider the larger picture by asking something like this: If you do nothing because you can’t afford to take the next step, how much money are you leaving on the table? What’s it going to cost you in a year (e.g., missed revenue, clients, etc.)?

Now that you know WHY objections happen, let’s prepare you for some common objections and how to respond to them.

Objection: “No.” If you think the client is a right fit, have established value, and did proper risk mitigation, and the answer is still a flat-out no, it is what it is. Square peg, round hole.

Objection: “Not right now.” This is a signal to put the prospective client into a holding pen by maintaining the connection so you can nurture them and reengage when it’s time.

Objection: “Can we do it for less?” The answer to this question is “Yes, IF …” Yes, if we take away this, this, and that. Never discount. Just offer to take away. Ultimately, you want them to decide to move forward with the whole package. So, verbalize their two options strategically to neuro-hack their decision-making process. Our brains have an eight second attention span at best. That means we recall the last thing someone says more than the first.

So instead of saying this: “Do you want the best balance of the right fit at the right price, or do you want me to take that away?”

Say this: “Do you want me to take that away or leave it in to give you the best balance of the right fit at the right price?”

Whatever objection you encounter, know that we all get them. Love it or loathe it, it’s just part of the process. But if you can stay cool and get to the core of the issue, you can act in the best interest of your prospective client AND yourself.

Learn more about being prepared for pushback. Schedule your discovery call today!

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Nikkie Achartz

CEO of SNAP Savvy Strategies LLC, Nikkie Achartz is a well-known Branding Consultant, Business Growth Strategist, transformational speaker and workshop facilitator who has extensive experience in marketing strategy, sales psychology and image based branding.