Quick Guide to Consultative Sales—Part 7:
Answering Different Types of Objections

This table quickly correlates the most common types of objections Buyers make to the best types of answers a Seller can give in reply:

Type of Objection Best Answer
Confidence Objection Proof of Reliability
Need Objection Grow the Need
Benefit Objection Educate with Proven Benefit Statement and proof. Concede and compensate if necessary.
Price Objection Demonstrate total cost or total value advantage.

In a Confidence Objection, the client expresses a lack of confidence in the ability of the seller or the seller's company to deliver the needed benefits. The solution here is quite simple. Describe your capability and then be ready to offer proof of reliability. Testimonials from other satisfied clients are especially effective for this purpose. If the client's doubts are based on previous dealings with you or your company, you may need to apologize or express regret for past incidents and then explain how and why things will be different in the future.

In a Need Objection, the client in effect is denying that he has a need that's big enough to justify the solution you are proposing. In response, the seller should make one more effort to develop the need using ZEHREN♦FRIEDMAN’s probing process..

In a Benefit Objection, the client is rejecting the solution the seller has proposed, or is objecting to the absence of a particular capability or benefit the client is seeking in the seller's proposal or product. If the overall solution is being rejected, the seller should probe to determine why and then attempt to describe the solution in terms of PROVEN BENEFITS the solution will produce.

If the client is objecting that the seller's solution lacks a particular feature or benefit that a competitor can provide, then the seller should respond in one of two ways. If the objection is based on incorrect or outdated information, then the seller must simply educate the client by describing and proving how the proposed solution does, in fact, include the desired benefit or capability. But if the client has correctly identified certain shortcomings in the seller's product, then the seller should “concede and compensate.” The seller does this by conceding that the desired capability is not included, but then compensating for this fact by pointing out the importance of other capabilities and benefits which are included.

In a Price Objection, the seller should convert the objection from price to total cost or total value if the seller can demonstrate superiority in either area. This is easiest to do when the superior value flows directly from the product or service in question. (For example, when lower maintenance costs or longer product life more than offset a higher initial price.) If the high priced vendor is a truly effective seller, she can rely on such intangibles as “long-standing relationship,” “thorough knowledge of client's needs,” and “innovative thinking” to bolster the claim of greater total value.