How to Coach Sales for Rebuttals and Counter Offers

8 min read

In a perfect sales world, every deal would close without objections, payment issues, or any hassles at all. Unfortunately, no sale is perfect. It can often feel like every sale comes with its own unique challenges, and closing can be the most difficult part of the process.

However, sales objections aren't always a bad thing. As a sales manager, it's important to express to reps (especially those starting their sales career) that sales objections, while sometimes difficult to handle, make them stronger sales reps.

In all reality, if a customer is asking questions and presenting objections, but has indicated that they are interested in your products and services, then they’re simply going through the buying process. Their hesitation will give reps a chance to negotiate.

Nonetheless, objections shouldn’t be something sales reps dread. If anything, they should be welcomed. At the very least, an objection presents an opportunity to continue the conversation truly showing how your company can be a solution to the prospect's biggest pain points. With the right rebuttals, or perhaps more accurately, “answers” you can keep customers talking while also soothing their unease. 

Keep Your Eye on The Prize

It’s easy to get lost in the details, but in the long run, sales reps must look at the big picture. Objections come in many forms, yet most of them fall into one of four simple categories. Managers should coach reps to identify common rebuttals and have responses prepared to alleviate objections. 

1. Price: Price is often one of the biggest objections sales reps face in any industry. In this case, reps have to show that the cost is worth the prospect's money. To do so, they must establish the true value of the product or service being sold and relay why this is a smart investment for the prospect. 

2. Trust: Trust is extremely important is closing a deal. First and foremost, prospects need to trust that your company is a trustworthy company. This is where a close relationship between sales and marketing is important. These two teams must work together to utilize existing customer relationships (e.g., customer quotes, webinars, etc.) to use customers as advocates for your brand. 

When reps reach out to prospects, they must reinforce this trustworthy message by building a relationship with their customers and prospects. Strong relationships make prospects more likely to trust that the information coming from the sales rep is reliable and in their best interest. Part of this relies authenticity, which is key in sales. When reps believe in the products and services they are selling and are passionate about the opportunities they provide, it's contagious. Reps that come across as authentic, it grows trust and helps builds stronger customer  and prospect relationships.

3. Quality of products and services: Just like prospects need to be able to trust your company and sales reps, they need to feel confident that any products or services will live up to the quality they were sold on. Essentially, this means "put your money where your mouth is." Prospects and customers want to ensure the investment will truly benefit them, and that they aren't just wasting budget money on products and services that don't work as promised.

4. Don't Understand the Need: Occasionally, reps will come across prospects that don't yet see the need for the products and services your company offers. These sales can be particularly challenging because prospects might be hesitant to have an initial conversation. In these instances, reps must open prospect's eyes to certain issues and solutions prospects may not be aware of. Doing so successfully means they must do their research so they are prepared. While the prospect may be suffering from certain pain points, they may not realize there is a solution that can alleviate it. 

Use Objections to Gain Insight and Feedback

Objections and rebuttals can yield a lot of valuable information. In fact, rebuttals may allow you to discover what customers value most. If a buyer is raising concerns regarding maintenance, then you know that maintenance is very important to them. If a customer is fixed on price, then you know they want to ensure the investment is worth it.

These insights give you the opportunity to craft a targeted sales approach. The more you know about a customer or prospect, the more the sale can be tailored to them. Moreover, a skilled negotiator is a knowledgeable negotiator. With objections come knowledge, which can then be used to fine-tune your sales presentation directly to the customer’s needs.

Get to Know Your Target

It's important for reps to do their research in order to anticipate potential objections and to formulate rebuttals that are more likely to be convincing. When reps get to know their prospects before engaging with them, it can go a long way. Before the first call, reps should gather (at the minimum) the following information about prospects (and should refresh themselves on existing customers before a call): 

  • Job role at the company
  • Background information
  • Purchase and order history
  • Potential opportunities, pain points, and challenges
  • Role in decision-making process
  • Demographic data

Keep in Mind that Bigger Sales Usually Mean More Objections

The bigger the sale, the more complex the sales process will be. Higher ticket items usually come with a long sales cycle as customers tend to do a lot of due diligence. They will compare products, services, price points, read reviews, and more. Anyone making a big purchase would do the same. So, put yourself in their shoes.  

The knowledge reps gain from fielding objections can be very valuable as the sales cycle lengthens. In addition, with the right rebuttals, reps can build trust, resolve potential roadblocks, and ultimately, help your company stand out from competition and close deals.