How to Handle 7 Most Common Sales Objections on the Product Demo
Sales objections can feel like someone just ripped the carpet from under you. Weeks or even months of productive meetings all of the sudden halted by an unexpected roadblock. But the truth is that most sales objections are not barriers, but actually signs of a healthy buying process.
When a prospect objects during the product demo, it means they are seriously thinking through every scenario before they make the purchase. Their comments shed light on their final concerns. As soon as you can help them overcome these issues, you’ll win the sale.
But, there’s a catch! Handling sales objections requires preparation, practice and patience. If you ignore them or turn an objection into an argument, the sale can fall apart.
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to overcome sales objections and tackle the most common ones that might come up during your product demos.
5 Steps to Overcoming Sales Demo Objections
Overcoming sales objections is not about winning an argument or trying to change someone’s mind. Your job is to better understand why there is an objection and work with your prospect to help them solve it.
“Treat objections as requests for further information.” – Brian Tracy
The five steps below are a framework of how you should approach all sales objections. The end goal is to use them as a way to understand your buyer, clarify your value and move closer to a sale.
1. Step One: Receive Objections with Empathy
When you hear an objection, your instinct will be to have a quick rebuttal to shut it down. Resist the temptation, and train yourself how to be empathetic no matter how ridiculous the objection might seem.
Control your body language and tone of your voice to show understanding. Listen to the objections with the intent of helping your prospect identify the root issues. You are not trying to sell, you are trying to solve.
2. Step Two: Ask Probing Questions
If most sales objections are really hidden concerns about your product, then asking the right questions will help both you and your prospect unearth the real reasons they are hesitating to move forward.
It is sometimes hard for people to articulate why they feel a certain way. Get as much information as they will give you. Ask open-ended questions, where the prospect has to explain in detail what is going on in their head. Some example questions include:
- What specifically about X are you struggling with?
- How can we help you resolve X?
- Other than X, what are your other concerns about the product?
3. Step Three: Listen Actively
Active listening is a skill you need to practice. While listening intently is a big part of it, the other part is knowing how to ask follow-up questions that shed light on the specific issue at hand.
Keep an open mind and ask clarifying questions by focusing on what the prospect says, such as “Tell me more about X” or “How does that work?”.
Then, play back what they just told you. Summarize their answers to ensure you are on the same page. You can phrase it like, “So if I’m hearing you right…”.
You want to keep the conversation going until you both agree on the core problem that is driving the sales objection. When you know the specific problem, you’ll be well-positioned to offer a solution.
4. Step Four: Present a Solution
If you’re fielding the objection during the product demo, there’s a good chance you can resolve the issue in real-time. While this is not always possible, the sooner you solve it, the better your chances.
That said, if you don’t have the answer, don’t try to wing it! You’ll end up giving a long response that sounds like a sales pitch. You’ll lose credibility. Instead, let the prospect know that you will find the answer immediately after the demo.
Some objections can’t be answered with a quick response. They require research or other stakeholders to get to the bottom of it. In this case, use your resources and get back to your prospect with a solution ASAP.
5. Step Five: Confirm You Satisfied the Objection
Sometimes you might feel like you helped your prospect get past their objection, only to have it come up again after the demo.
Prospects can agree with what you are saying without feeling like the issues are resolved. How do you know for sure?
Ask your potential buyer if what you are proposing is directly answering their objection. For example, you can say, “Before I showed you this last feature, you said you were concerned with X. Do you think this solved the issue, or do you still have questions? I am happy to walk through it again.”
Without this kind of confirmation, you may just be stalling. Your goal is to move the sale forward. When they verbally tell you they are happy with your proposed solutions, you have the assurance you are back on track.
7 Common Sales Objections During a Product Demo
1. Price: “It’s too expensive.”
How do you overcome sales objections to price?
Even though you qualified your prospects before the demo to ensure they had the right budget expectations, the price will still come up during your demo.
Potential buyers bring up price or lack of budget this late in the process because they are not seeing the value you provide. At this point, you should help them to quantify their pain points in terms of financial and labor costs.
If you get them talking about the challenges that have the largest cost implications and then show them how your product addresses these tangible costs, this will enable you to discuss ROI (return on investment).
In many cases, the prospect needs this information to present to their own teams. They need to understand the cost-benefit for their budget approvals.
When a prospect brings up lower competitive pricing, be prepared to explain your product’s key differences and how your superior benefits directly relate to pricing.
2. Competitors: “We are also talking with so-and-so.”
How do you talk about your competitors?
Similar to the pricing objection, comments about your competitors are usually rooted in your value proposition. Are you differentiating yourself clearly from your competitors?
The good news when you hear this objection is that you know for certain that the prospect is serious about buying a solution. Now, you have to show them why your product fits their needs better than the competitor they mentioned.
Instead of putting the competitor down, focus on your product differences and why they matter. Highlight your one ‘wow’ feature that directly addresses their largest pain point.
Example response when addressing competitors:
“That’s great. It’s important to do your due diligence and (competitive company) is certainly a reputable company. We both have different strengths. I think (company) is strong at X,Y and Z. Our product is different in these areas (A,B,C), and for your specific business needs, this feature in particular does a nice job of solving (biggest pain point). Let me walk you through (feature name) so you can see for yourself.”
Know your competitors better than your prospect, so you can stay one step ahead of their objections.
3. Authority: “My manager needs to sign off on this.”
What happens when your prospect doesn’t have the authority to buy?
Again, it’s late in the sales process to get a comment like this, but it happens. Maybe they presented themselves as the main buyer throughout qualifying but reveal later that they need further approval.
Don’t discount this person and immediately ask to meet with the decision-makers. The person you are talking to is leading the project and has been given authority to gather all the relevant information to present to their superiors.
When you hear this objection, your goal is not to ask to talk to someone else, but rather to make them your mouthpiece. The person you are presenting to is your influencer. Win them over and make them your biggest advocate.
4. Product lacks something: “I didn’t see X feature.”
What if the product lacks a feature or integration?
Your sales product demo is your opportunity to show how you solve the buyer’s business issues, which means that you’ve already identified their needs. You know that your product will help them.
So when you hear a sales objection that your solution is lacking something, it might take you by surprise. There are a few reasons for this type of comment.
- They want a feature that they actually don’t need. Maybe a competitor showed them a really neat feature that plays well in a demo, but it’s really a vanity feature.
- They want an integration you don’t have. Your solution solves their problems, but you didn’t know that they needed it to integrate with another software.
In both of these situations, your mindset is to help them find an approach that works for them and also includes your product.
Ask clarifying questions about the feature that is missing to see if they do need it, or you might also come to realize that you have a similar feature that you did not cover in the demo. Or, if you don’t have the feature and it is important, find a secondary tool that can augment your solution and show why it’s better.
Regarding integrations, there is always a workaround. Most technologies have integrations and it’s also likely your team can build an integration if necessary. The key is to not get stuck on one missing feature or integration, but to keep their eyes on the big challenges you are solving.
5. Timing isn’t right: “We’ll get back to you next quarter.”
What if they say they are not ready to buy at this time?
After spending weeks or even months qualifying your prospects, going through discovery and giving a great demo, it can be frustrating to hear that they like the solution, but the timing isn’t right for them to buy.
Think back to the early stages. Did you ask if this challenge they are facing was a priority for them in the beginning? The reality is that they probably would not have gone through all the trouble of multiple phone calls and meetings and then wait until the end to tell you timing isn’t right.
Revisit early conversations you had together and remind them of their concerns. What changed along the way? Again, ask deeper questions to find out the real reason. Explore things like, “How much time and money will it cost your business if you wait?”
After you’ve exhausted other possibilities, keep the relationship strong and schedule a meeting in the coming months when you determine they will be ready.
6. Trust: “It looks good, but I’m not sure your team has the experience.”
How do you overcome trust or credibility objections?
Trust objections during the product demo usually mean that your prospect needs some extra assurances that you’ll get the job done. You can’t build trust in one call. Hopefully, you’ve established a strong relationship throughout the sales process, and this last comment is simply a request for more proof points.
Always have references and other types of testimonials on hand to provide. Case studies of other clients are very effective tools to show credibility and success. These types of tangible evidence will boost the prospect’s confidence in you and your company.
7. No Objections: “______________________”
What if there are zero sales objections during the demo?
Imagine you are going through your demo hitting every main point and your prospect just keeps smiling and nodding throughout the entire meeting. Feels good, right?
A silent prospect should be cause for alarm. Why aren’t they fully engaging with the demo? At this point, you should proactively identify objections. Throughout the presentation, try asking questions like:
- “Do you have any concerns around X?”
- “Are there any obstacles that would stop you from buying?”
- “How confident do you feel you’d see success from [product]? Why?”
- “I could imagine you being a little worried about X. What are your thoughts?”
Sales objections are a sign that the prospect is interested enough to raise concerns. When nothing happens, do your best to get them re-engaged in the demo.
Use Sales Objections to Your Advantage
The way you handle sales objections can be the difference-maker in your sales performance. When so many products have similar features and benefits, putting the prospect at ease could be your competitive advantage.
Overcoming objections is a skill. The key to success in handling sales objections is diligent preparation, including:
- Researching the most common sales objections
- Crafting a clear and concise answer
- Role-playing and practicing
- Keeping track of the objections you receive most often and learning from them
Eventually, you will hear the same objections over and over again with different prospects. If you have a natural and compelling response for each one, you’ll actually start hoping for objections so you can confirm your product’s value.
Of course you don’t want too many sales objections. To limit the amount you receive during a product demo, make sure you are gathering the right information and setting expectations in the Discovery phase. Learn More About Discovery for Product Demos.
How you handle objections could be the deciding factor in winning or losing a deal. The better you are at satisfying a prospect’s concerns, the more likely they are to sign the deal.