The Most Feared Sales Objection... Really?

Why is the Price Objection so feared? When presenting a product or service to a prospect, great emphasis should be placed on demonstrating and agreeing the value of working together. With supporting evidence and case studies, this is constantly reaffirmed throughout the entire discussion and sales cycle, so should price not have been discussed until the end, then there is a wealth of evidence to support a positive outcome.

Granted, there can be external reasons for wanting a discount or capping a price, such as if a procurement team gets involved in the final phase of the discussion, but this then becomes a matter of negotiating your position. The final price agreed upon is directly proportional to how well the sales process has been executed up to this point, as you typically exchange a small concession for any number of incremental benefits for your company ranging from an extended contract term, the promise of future work, referrals or testimonials. So, in my mind, the price objection is easily overcome as part of a well-executed sales process.

In my opinion, the objection to really dread is an Operational Objection, because if you don't give it the respect it deserves, then it can kill a deal right at the end of an otherwise excellent sales process. The reason it is so destructive is because it can have an irrational origin: "We are not going to proceed because gaining end user adoption is simply too much hassle", "we are too busy at the moment to take this on", or "we don't have sufficient resources" - despite acknowledging the cost benefit and advantages of doing so.

This objection is commonly found when pitching to companies with multiple decision makers who all have different agendas. I previously encountered this while selling a new technology platform to C-Suite clients. In situations where the whole board were present, the dynamic of the room was typically where the CEO had the big vision, the CFO was money focused and the legal and technology officers were more involved in the operational impact of implementing my product. The following process helped me manage this dynamic and removed the potential for any operational objection to affect my deal.

As part of the initial sales discovery, I always adopted a line of questioning designed to expose those in the room who felt the professional pain that my product solves. "If you had our technology, have you considered how you would you implement it?", "Who would be responsible for implementing this?", or "What would the process be and do you foresee any obstacles?"

This also helps expose the decision making dynamic and who I can expect to push for my solution behind the scenes, i.e. a major decision maker or influencer. I would next align my efforts on helping this person with tangible solutions and case studies that demonstrate the commercial value and operational ease of adopting my product. Having attained their agreement, I would then consciously focus on the least interested person in the room to neutralise this potentially rogue decision maker. By convincing these people in front of their peers, it creates an overall consensus towards my product and demonstrates that I am an expert in this field. This is the first step in becoming a trusted advisor to their company.

Having addressed the operational challenges and identified how any decision would be reached, I would ensure the CEO was comfortable with the business impact of working with us, and that the CFO understood the commercial value that my product offered. The Chief Financial Officer is understandably focused on balancing the ratio of cost vs. return. I might reassure them by offering a financial incentive to make this deal happen - a small concession to let me prove myself or a fixed cost until my product delivers as promised. This isn't a discount, it's just good business to help negate your prospects' risk and also to reward someone prepared to make a substantial effort to work with you. Everyone's agenda is covered and, as far as possible, they are left facing an easy decision.

You only need to dread operational objections if you haven't accounted for them as part of your sales process. If you want to know how I compile my entire sales process to cover all types of objections, read my new book, The No.1 Best Seller.