Rebuttals in Sales Negotiation: What You Need to Know

7 min read

To prepare sales pitches, most sales reps will put considerable time and effort into refining what they will say. It's important for managers to coach reps to identify and find the best way to present the product or service they are selling. The goal is for the pitch to be concise, attractive, and engaging.

The initial contact and pitch reps make is very important; however, it is also important to prepare for conversation further down the sales funnel. As reps engage with customers, they will certainly meet objections from both prospects and existing customers. For most reps, this requires mastering the art of sales rebuttals.

How Rebuttals can Throw a Sales off Track

Understandably, many sales reps consider rebuttals the worst part of a sales role. The prospective customer puts reps on their back foot, and they can be left stumbling to answer questions or scrambling to try to convince the prospect otherwise. The result can be demoralization which can hurt a reps' confidence and quota attainment, and ultimately, impact overall sales performance. 

Reps Must Change Their Mindset

Mastering sales rebuttals requires reps to change their mindset on the sales process. It's important for reps to avoid thinking about rebuttals in a negative way. After all, at the rebuttal stage, the customer is engaging with the rep, meaning their interest has been caught in one way or another. Rather than getting trapped by a rebuttal, this stage should deepen conversation and become a negotiation. 

Prepare for Rebuttals Beforehand

Reps may never perfectly predict every rebuttal you will receive, but if reps prepare for rebuttals beforehand, they can be ready for rebuttals that may arise. Many rebuttals fall into four broad categories–price, trust in the company or the product, the quality of the product or service being sold, or a response to feeling pressured into a sale. Understanding the causes and the best ways to combat these rebuttals will help reps handle the situation smoothly and turn the conversation to negotiation.

For example, reps know about the quality of the products and services they're selling, and as part of their training and coaching, managers can prepare facts and information tidbits which answer the most common rebuttals. In most cases, experience plays a key role–the longer reps have been in a sales role, the more they will able to dissuade rebuttals common to specific product and service offerings. 

Sales managers should work together to build sales enablement materials that document the most common questions and rebuttals reps often face for each product or service offering. Each question and rebuttal should then give reps the necessary information to handle rebuttal situations more easily.

Listen. Don't Bulldoze Prospects with Information

When talking to potential customers, it is crucial for sales reps to listen and absorb what customers and prospects have to say. Often times, initial sales conversations are a great way to get to know more about a prospective customer and their pain points, which allows sales reps to personalize their pitch as a solution that alleviates the prospect's biggest challenges. 

It's important for reps to listen to prospects' concerns and address those worries.As they get to know the prospect, reps may also begin to identify which rebuttals a company is likely to have. For example, it can sometimes be beneficial to bring in c-level executives or other product specialists that can help further explain product and service offerings and the opportunities they offer the prospect.

Different Roles Present Different Rebuttals

When approaching a sales negotiation and rebuttals conversation with a customer, reps must bear in mind the person they are talking to. Different products and services will target different individuals, usually in similar roles. However, although the prospects reps talk may have similar roles, every individual you interact with has a unique personal background, job responsibilities, and needs specific to their line of business.

Sales reps can never prepare 100 percent for every turn the negotiation may take. Nonetheless, having a clear understanding of the prospect will help reps make well-informed pitches and provide the appropriate responses to any rebuttals.

Final Thoughts

Handling rebuttals in sales starts with confident sales reps. This means reps must be well-educated on their product and service offerings and do their research on prospects prior to making the first communication.

Reps that take the time to prepare and take a customized approach to their selling will handle rebuttals more easily, and with experience, they'll begin to navigate through the sales process more smoothly. It all comes down to planning, preparation, a personalized pitch, and listening to prospects to develop the best approach.