Objection handling: 10 steps to turn 'no' into 'yes'

Posted June 28, 2024

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Every seller encounters objections: "Not now." "It's too expensive." "We're happy with our current solution." They're a natural part of the sales process, reflecting prospects' hesitation before committing to a purchase.

But here's the good news: objections don't have to be deal breakers. Consider them a chance to address concerns, showcase your product's value, and build stronger relationships with potential customers.

In this guide, we'll walk you through 10 proven steps to master objection handling across the sales cycle — whether you’re cold-calling, email prospecting, or in a meeting. You'll learn how to uncover the root of each objection, respond with empathy and confidence, and ultimately turn a “no” into a “yes.”

Objection handling 10 steps to turn no into yes Cover

What is objection handling? 

Objection handling is a crucial part of the sales process, where sales professionals address and overcome potential customers' concerns or hesitations. As a sales rep, it’s your chance to directly address their worries and explain how your product or service can benefit them. While it may seem challenging, successful objection handling can transform a hesitant prospect into a loyal customer. 

But it’s not an innate skill — effective objection handling requires an understanding of the most common sales objections and the best objection handling techniques. With practice and the proper techniques, you can turn objections into opportunities.

Anatomy of a perfect sales pitch: Examples and tips

If you’re looking for an example of a best practice pitch, this one’s for you. Take a page from the winner of Outreach’s annual sales pitch competition. 

Why is objection handling so important in 2024? 

Proper objection-handling skills are critical for sales reps to master the sales process. Objections are inevitable in sales. But how you handle them can make or break a deal. Skillful objection handling shows prospects you're not just another pushy salesperson but a trusted advisor who listens and provides real solutions.

Remember, you’re the expert. You're teaching your customers something they don't know, and you get to step into that trusted advisor role by being excellent at what you already do.
David Ruggiero, President of GTM

What are the most common types of objections?

Knowing the common objections is like having a cheat sheet for your next sales call. Here are the nine main culprits:

List of 9 types of sales objections

Price objections

When prospects balk at the cost, they're usually not seeing the value. Address these by highlighting the value and ROI they can expect and if possible, offering flexible pricing options.

Timing objections

Timing objections occur when prospects believe it's not the right time to purchase. Counter these by highlighting the benefits of acting immediately and showing how your product solves their problems right now. Procrastination is the enemy of progress! Handling objections in sales often means creating urgency.

Authority objections

Authority objections happen when the prospect isn't the decision-maker. In these cases, work to identify and engage the actual decision-makers’s department or role, or provide the prospect with the information they need to champion your solution internally. This is a key aspect of handling customer objections and navigating the sales process.

Need objections

If a prospect says they don't need your product, they probably just don't see how it fits their needs. Dig deep to understand their pain points and tailor your pitch to show how your solution could be the missing piece of their puzzle. This is where active listening and open-ended questions come in handy.

Competitor objections

When prospects compare you to the competition, it's time to shine. Highlight what makes your offering unique and why it's the superior choice. Remember, in the land of business, it's the standout features that reign supreme. Using social proof and case studies can effectively address these objections.

Product objections

Product objections often stem from concerns about the product's features, functionality, or value. When prospects voice these doubts, it's your chance to showcase your product's strengths and turn skepticism into enthusiasm. Show them the platform, give them insight into your product roadmap, and share relevant social proof, certifications, or ratings related to your product. Consider your customer base, too. If you have users who previously used competitor’s products, ask if they’d be willing to speak to your prospect as a reference.

Trust objections

Trust objections reflect a lack of confidence in your company or product. Remember, trust isn't given; it's earned. To build trust, consider sharing success stories via case studies or customer references, offering contractual guarantees, and sharing third-party awards or industry-related certifications. In other words, look for ways to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Indifference objections

When prospects don't see any significant difference between your solution and others, it's time to flex your unique value propositions. Make it clear why your solution is the game-changer they didn't know they needed. Take a similar trust-building approach here through case studies, customer references, third-party awards, or certifications.

Risk objections

Effective objection handling often involves reducing perceived risk. Risk aversion is one of the most common reasons for delays in active or late-stage deals — even if your prospects don’t state this explicitly. As companies scale back on spending, freeze hiring, and double down on efficiency and sales performance, more buyers are hesitant to make changes that could put their jobs on the line. 

CEO Manny Medina explains why more buyers are stuck in a cycle of indecision and why identifying the root problems in your buyers' processes is the key to gaining influence, overcoming objections, and closing deals in this new era of sales.
Decision makers aren’t saying ‘no,’ or ‘let’s circle back next quarter,’ or ‘if we could just get it at a lower cost, we’re in,’ they’re left saying nothing, and time kills the deal.
Manny Medina, CEO

Identifying your buyer’s problems and how your solution can plug in their current process. By dissecting your buyer’s processes, identifying inefficiencies, and plugging in the right technology, sellers can show buyers how integral their solution is to solving their buyer’s problems. 

Keep reading for more strategies to overcome risk, indecision, and other more explicit objections.

Dig into the data
How I reduced my sales team's objection rate by 254%

Sales leaders and managers can't be everywhere, but they can coach like they are with the right support. Here’s how we coach at scale — and how you can do it, too. 


10 objection handling steps to turn 'no' into 'yes'

1. Active listening

Active listening involves fully focusing, understanding, responding, and remembering what the prospect is saying. It builds trust and rapport, showing prospects that you value their concerns and are genuinely interested in finding a solution for them. 

Spend less time trying to ‘overcome’ objections and more time trying to understand them.
Jamie Yates, Client Account Executive

By giving your full attention and avoiding interruptions, you can pick up on important details and underlying issues that might otherwise be missed. This depth of understanding enables you to address objections more effectively and tailor your responses to meet the prospect's specific needs.

Objection example: "Your pricing seems too high for our budget."

Rebuttal example: "I understand budget constraints are important. Let me break down the value our solution provides and how it can actually save you money in the long run by increasing efficiency and reducing costs in other areas."

Active listening: do's and don'ts
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Do maintain eye contact and nod to show understanding.

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Do paraphrase what the prospect says to ensure clarity.

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Don't interrupt while the prospect is speaking.

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Don't make assumptions about their concerns without hearing them out.

2. Acknowledge and empathize

This technique shows the prospect that you understand and care about their concerns. When you acknowledge their feelings and demonstrate empathy, it helps build trust and makes them feel heard. This is crucial in sales, as it shows you're not just trying to close a deal but that you genuinely want to help address their issues.

Simple acknowledgments pave the way for deeper exploration. By asking insightful questions, we uncover the root cause and steer the conversation back on track.
Craig Pfizenmaier, Commercial Sales Manager

Empathy also allows you to connect on a human level, creating a more positive interaction that can pave the way for a collaborative problem-solving approach.

Objection example: "I'm concerned about the implementation timeline."

Rebuttal example: "I understand. Implementing new solutions can be challenging. Let's discuss how we can streamline the process to fit within your timeline and ensure a smooth transition.”

Acknowledge and empathize: do's and don'ts
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Do use phrases like "I understand how you feel" or "That’s a valid concern."

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Do relate to their experience by sharing a similar situation you’ve encountered.

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Do show genuine concern for their issues.

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Don't brush off their concerns or act dismissively.

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Don't respond with a canned or insincere acknowledgment.

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Don't move on too quickly without properly addressing their concern.

Acknowledge and empathize scenario

3. Clarify the objection

Clarifying the objection helps to understand the root cause of the concern. By asking probing questions, you can get to the heart of the issue and address it directly. This not only shows that you are attentive and committed to resolving the prospect's issues but also prevents misunderstandings that could lead to further objections. Clear and precise communication at this stage ensures that both parties are on the same page and that you can provide a tailored solution.

Objection example: "I'm not sure your solution integrates with our existing systems."

Rebuttal example: "Can you elaborate on the integration challenges you foresee? Our solution is designed to be flexible and compatible with a wide range of systems, and I'd be happy to walk you through some integration examples."

Clarify the objection: do's and don'ts
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Do ask open-ended questions to get more information.

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Do use probing questions like "Can you tell me more about that?" or "What specifically worries you about this?"

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Do confirm your understanding by repeating back what you’ve heard.

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Don't assume you know the reason behind the objection.

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Don't give a solution before fully understanding the problem.

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Don't ignore any new information that comes up during clarification.

4. Respond with confidence

Responding with confidence instills trust and shows that you are knowledgeable about your product and its capabilities. A confident response can often alleviate concerns and demonstrate your expertise. Confidence also reassures the prospect that you believe in the value of what you are offering and that it can truly meet their needs. This assurance can be a decisive factor in overcoming objections and moving the conversation towards a positive outcome.

Objection example: "Your product lacks some features we currently use."

Rebuttal example: "Our product has evolved to include those features, and I can show you how your team can use them..."

Respond with confidence: do's and don'ts
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Do provide clear, concise responses backed by data or case studies.

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Do maintain a positive and assured tone.

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Do use strong, affirmative language.

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Don't sound hesitant or unsure about your responses.

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Don't overwhelm the prospect with too much information.

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Don't appear defensive or confrontational.

5. Provide evidence or proof

Providing evidence or proof substantiates your claims and reassures the customer. This can include case studies, testimonials, or data that supports your argument. By presenting tangible examples and real-world success stories, you help the prospect visualize the benefits of your solution. This approach builds credibility and reduces skepticism, making it easier for the prospect to trust in your product or service.

Objection example: "I'm not sure if your solution can handle our scale."

Rebuttal example: "Here are case studies of similar organizations achieving impressive results with our solution. These examples highlight our scalability and effectiveness in handling large volumes and complex requirements."

Provide evidence or proof: do's and don'ts
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Do share relevant case studies or success stories.

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Do use specific metrics and data points to back up your claims.

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Do offer to provide a demo or trial if possible.

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Don't use outdated or irrelevant examples.

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Don't provide evidence that doesn’t directly address the prospect’s concern.

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Don't assume that verbal assurances alone will be convincing.

Provide evidence or proof scenario

6. Offer alternatives

Offering alternatives demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to collaborate with the customer to find a suitable solution. This can turn a potential roadblock into an opportunity for cooperation. By presenting different options, you show that you are committed to finding a solution that works for the prospect, rather than pushing a one-size-fits-all approach. This adaptability makes the prospect feel valued and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Objection example: "We don't have the resources to manage another tool."

Rebuttal example: "I understand. We offer managed services and support options that can help alleviate the burden on your team and ensure smooth operation without adding extra workload."

If you’re getting objections like 'not now' then you either have the wrong person, or your pitch didn’t touch on their priorities or challenges enough for them to hear you out more.
Jordan Freedman, Sr. Account Executive
Offer alternatives: do's and don'ts
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Do suggest different packages, payment plans, or trial periods.

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Do customize solutions based on the prospect’s needs.

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Do be open to negotiating terms that can satisfy both parties.

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Don't push a one-size-fits-all solution.

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Don't refuse to consider the prospect’s suggestions.

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Don't offer alternatives that don’t actually address the core objection.

Offer alternatives scenario

7. Use stories or examples

Using stories or examples helps to illustrate your points in a relatable way. Sharing how other clients overcame similar objections can make your rebuttal more convincing. Stories make your message more memorable and relatable, helping the prospect to see how your solution can be applied in their own situation. This approach both humanizes your interaction and provides a practical context for your claims.

Objection example: "We're unsure if your solution can integrate seamlessly with our current systems."

Rebuttal example: "Here's a case study of a client with a similar system integration challenge. We were able to achieve seamless integration and improved their overall efficiency by 30%. This could be a similar outcome for your company."

Use stories or examples: do's and don'ts
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Do share specific, relevant examples that mirror the prospect’s situation.

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Do highlight the positive outcomes achieved by other customers.

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Do make the story engaging and easy to understand.

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Don't use generic or irrelevant anecdotes.

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Don't make up stories or exaggerate outcomes.

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Don't skip over important details that make the story credible.

8. Handle objections proactively

Proactive objection handling involves anticipating common concerns and addressing them before they arise. This approach can prevent objections from becoming major roadblocks. By bringing up potential issues and resolving them early in the conversation, you show that you understand the prospect’s concerns and are prepared to address them. This foresight can build confidence and demonstrate your thorough understanding of both the product and the prospect's needs.

Objection example: "We're looking for something with a simple onboarding process.”

Rebuttal example: "Many clients initially had similar concerns, but our onboarding process includes comprehensive training to ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, our support team is always available to assist with any questions."

Proactive objection handling: do's and don'ts
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Do tailor your pitch or presentation to speak to your buyer persona’s common needs or concerns.

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Do prepare responses to frequently encountered objections.

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Do qualify the opportunity to pinpoint relevant information to help maintain momentum.

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Don't wait for the prospect to raise every objection.

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Don't ignore obvious concerns hoping they won’t come up.

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Don't be unprepared for common objections.

Handle objections proactively scenario

9. Seek agreement

Seeking agreement involves confirming with the customer that your solution meets their needs and expectations. This collaborative approach helps to align both parties towards a common goal. By regularly checking in and ensuring that the prospect is on board with your suggestions, you can create a sense of partnership and mutual understanding. This not only makes the prospect feel more involved in the decision-making process but also helps to build consensus and reduce the likelihood of future objections.

Objection example: "We're not convinced about the ROI of your solution."

Rebuttal example: "Based on our calculations, our solution typically delivers ROI within six months. Do you agree this aligns with your expectations and investment goals?"

Seek agreement: do's and don'ts
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Do ask for confirmation after addressing an objection, e.g., "Does that resolve your concern?"

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Do use trial closes like "Does this make sense?" or "Can you see how this would work for you?"

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Do ensure mutual understanding before moving forward.

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Don't assume agreement without asking.

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Don't move on to the next point without confirming the prospect’s acceptance.

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Don't ignore any signs of hesitation from the prospect.

10. Close with a commitment

Closing with a commitment means asking for a specific next step, such as scheduling a follow-up meeting or securing a trial period. This shows that you are eager to move forward and continue the conversation. By clearly defining the next steps and gaining a small commitment, you keep the momentum going and demonstrate your dedication to helping the prospect. This clear and decisive action helps to solidify the progress made and sets the stage for a successful partnership.

Objection example: "We need more time to evaluate our options."

Rebuttal example: "I understand. Can we schedule a follow-up meeting next week to discuss any additional questions or concerns? This will also give us an opportunity to provide further details that might help with your evaluation."

Close with a commitment: do's and don'ts
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Do clearly outline the next steps and what you need from the prospect.

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Do set a specific date and time for the next meeting or action.

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Do express enthusiasm and confidence in moving forward.

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Don't leave the conversation open-ended without a clear next step.

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Don't be vague about what you need the prospect to do next.

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Don't show uncertainty about the next steps or outcomes.

Close with a commitment scenario

Your next step: transforming 'no' into 'yes'

Remember, behind every objection is a prospect who simply needs more information or reassurance. By addressing their concerns authentically, you create a win-win scenario. And with the right tools, you can navigate these conversations with confidence and turn objections into opportunities.

That's where Outreach comes in. Designed to help every rep reach their full potential, Outreach’s sales execution platform equips reps with the tools they need to build stronger relationships and drive deals forward. At the same time, managers gain valuable deal insights into customer interactions, identify coaching opportunities, spot trending topics across calls and meetings, and ensure consistent messaging across the team.

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Outreach helps every seller perform at their full potential with real-time guidance in every meeting powered by our industry-leading conversation intelligence, It gives reps the confidence they need to win every moment, while managers gain visibility into best practices and coaching opportunities.


Additional FAQs about objection handling

What is the biggest obstacle to overcoming objections?

The biggest obstacle to overcoming objections is often a lack of understanding of the prospect's true concerns, which can prevent reps and account executives from addressing the root issue effectively.

What are the 3 Fs for handling objections?

The 3 Fs for handling objections are Feel, Felt, and Found. This approach involves empathizing with the prospect's feelings, sharing that others have felt the same way, and explaining how they found a solution to their concern.

  • Feel: Acknowledge the prospect's feelings by showing empathy and understanding. This builds rapport and shows that you genuinely care about their concerns.
  • Felt: Share a similar experience from another customer to demonstrate that their concern is not unique.
  • Found: Explain how those customers found a positive outcome by using your product or service.

What are the 4 Ps of objection handling?

The four Ps of objection handling are Pause, Probe, Provide, and Prove. These principles guide sales reps to pause and listen, probe to understand the objection, provide a thoughtful response, and prove the value of their solution with evidence.

  • Pause: Take a moment to listen to the objection fully without interrupting. This shows respect and allows you to better understand the concern.
  • Probe: Ask questions to dig deeper into the objection and uncover the real issue.
  • Provide: Offer a thoughtful and tailored response that addresses the specific objection.
  • Prove: Back up your response with evidence, such as testimonials, case studies, or data that demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution.

What is the boomerang method of objection?

The boomerang method of objection is a technique where the salesperson turns the objection into a reason for purchasing, effectively flipping the concern back to highlight a benefit of the product or service.

Need more help with cold calling objections?

At Outreach, we’ve worked closely with thousands of sales managers who want to give their team the best resources to be successful. We’ve based this guide on what we’ve heard from our customers as well as what we’ve learned from our own journey in outbound selling. Unlock the guide to learn:


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