In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to handle objections in sales calls humanely and respectfully.
As a humane marketer, I, Sarah Santacroce, believe a sales call is a respectful non-linear conversation between two people.
It’s not about manipulating or pressuring someone into buying something they don’t need, but rather about understanding their needs and finding out whether your solution can help them.
However, objections in sales calls can be a tricky issue to navigate.
First, Normalise Objections
Objections are a natural part of the sales process. They are the concerns, questions, or doubts potential clients raise during a sales conversation.
It’s entirely human for us to be inquisitive when we’re about to spend hard-earned cash. You’d ask questions, wouldn’t you?
Concerns, questions and doubts emerge because potential clients want to make an informed decision and ensure that the product or service fits their needs.
Within a sales conversation, objections are normal, not something that needs to be cleared or overcome. We can handle them more humanely.
Common Objections in Sales Calls
The most common objections clients might have are related to price, timing, competition, trust, and credibility.
Some common customer objection examples are
- Price objections – “It’s too expensive”.
- Time objections – “I don’t have time for this right now”.
- Not needed – “I don’t need this product/service”.
- Authorisation objection – “I need to consult with my boss/partner/spouse”.
- Trust objection – “I don’t trust your company/brand”.
- Competition objection – “I’m already using a similar product/service”.
- Fear objection – “I’m afraid this won’t work for me”.
Objection Handling Techniques
In Humane Marketing, we care about our customers and adopt a customer-centric approach that empowers ideal clients to make their own buying decisions while building a sustainable, long-term relationship of trust.
The Gentle Sales Path Approach
The Gentle Sales Path is a humane way to describe our customer’s journey.
Each client’s path is different, as some may climb stone steps for a panoramic view before descending, while others may choose a shorter route along a paved road. There may also be those who take a different paved path that leads to another area of the garden, which may provide a clearer view of the secluded garden that interests them.
The Gentle Sales Path represents how our customers discover, get to know, and eventually buy from us. It’s an alternative to a sales funnel or sales pipeline.
In fact, the Gentle Sales Path is completely different from a sales funnel or pipeline.
With the Gentle Sales Path approach, we give our ideal clients their power back by giving them different options in the form of signposts to discover more about us, who we are, our offer and how we can help them. The signposts all point to the Serene Garden – the sales call.
What’s a Signpost?
In Humane Marketing, a signpost is a replacement for a lead magnet. A lead magnet is where you give to receive – for example, a PDF guide for an email address. The signpost is much more friendly.
Imagine we’re back on The Gentle Sales Path – the signposts point us in the right direction so we can find the way easily. Signposts are helpful, not pushy.
The Serene Garden
All signposts point to, and all paths lead our clients to, the grand finale, the sales call, which takes place in the humane marketer’s Serene Garden.
Unless – of course – they chose to exit our path, which they are completely free to do because, in Humane Marketing, we’re never forceful.
How to Handle Objections in Sales Calls, aka our Serene Garden
Imagine you’re sitting with your ideal client in your Serene Garden.
This is your very own Serene Garden, where you will have your Gentle Sales Conversations from now on.
Imagine it, and whilst you do, remember how it feels in your body.
You don’t have to DO anything here: no pushing or convincing. You have to just BE; hold the space for a conversation where you have something to offer, and your client has a need for what you offer.
The goal is not the sale.
The goal is to find out the TRUTH to the question: is this offer the right one for the client at this time?
You both want the best for each other.
If that means you get to work together and you get compensated for your work, amazing.
If that means that what you offer may not be the best solution at this time, that’s ok too.
Click below to learn about the Gentle Sales Bundle, which includes the full audio of the Gentle Sales Meditation.
Objection Handling During Sales Calls
Let’s look at the most common objections case by case.
Example – “It’s too expensive”
Transparency is one of our core values at Humane Marketing. We recommend you have your prices on your website and repeat them on your intake form when potential clients apply for a complimentary call with you.
This way, the client comes to your Serene Garden informed and empowered, not afraid of surprises.
Of course, it still could happen that after talking to you, she decides she can’t afford to work with you right now.
Here are some of the ways you can address this as a Humane Seller:
- Offer a humane payment plan that works for both of you.
- Offer another more affordable solution, for example, a group coaching option.
- Offer to introduce her to a colleague who offers lower rates.
Don’t forget that an ideal client is someone who is ready to buy, not someone you push into buying.
If they can’t see the value you provide, it could be that they are not ready yet – or it could be that their current circumstances just don’t allow it.
We feel into both and then offer a human(e) conversation around the topic.
Example – “I don’t have time for this right now”
As entrepreneurs, our work lives are tightly connected to our personal lives.
Sales coaching often advises that the ‘time objection’ is an excuse, like the ‘money objection’. But that’s simply not true.
As Humane Marketers, we take a(w)holistic approach to business, so we respect the whole human. We empower them to decide whether it’s a good time to commit. Or not.
Be clear about how much time your program or course takes. When it’s not a good time for the client, offer alternatives or tell them about a future opportunity.
There’s no worse feeling than having a client who doesn’t get the results you want them to get because the timing to work with you wasn’t right.
Time- “I need time to think about it.”
Say, “Of course! No problem”.
You and the client must then agree on how much time they need to consider your offer and talk to ‘competitors’. Book a time to speak again after that time has elapsed.
If you don’t hear back (but I bet you will), follow up without being pushy. Simply send a friendly email to say hello and check in on where you’ve left off.
Example – “I don’t need this product/service”.
It’s uncommon to hear that kind of objection in your Serene Garden because you’re not doing cold calls and trying to shove your product down throats.
Instead, you’re applying the Gentle Sales Path approach, which means you’ve sign-posted well, let people get to know you, been transparent with prices, and not been pushy.
By the time they get onto a sales call, clients want to be there; they’ve almost decided they need you already.
Example – “I need to consult with my boss/partner/spouse”.
Do you trust in your value? If you do, trust that your client sell your program to their partner or spouse.
Send a clear and honest proposal that they can look through together and make complete sense of. Cover their doubts.
They’ll return the next day and say, ‘Let’s do this’!
Example – “I’m already using a similar product/service”.
What we love about The Gentle Sales Path approach is that competition objection is unlikely to happen simply because you’re not trying to convince someone to buy from you.
Instead, empower your clients to make their own decisions and buy into you. It’s more than likely to happen if they agree with your worldview.
Example – “I’m afraid this won’t work for me”.
On the other hand, fear will often find its way even into the Serene Garden. It’s your job as a Humane Marketer to put your empathy and perspective-taking to good use – find out what the client is really afraid of:
- Have they tried something similar before which hasn’t worked for them?
Find out what it was, and first show empathy and then give them perspective and describe how your program is different and that there is a way for them to get out of the situation they are currently in.
- Do they have a limiting belief that you can help them let go of?
- Is their fear justified, and they’d be better off with another solution?
Remember, your goal is not to sell.
Your goal is to find out the real answer to the question, ‘Is this offer the right one for the client at this time?’.
Your Answer to ‘How to Handle Objections in Sales Calls’: The Gentle Sales Path Approach
The Gentle Sales Path approach is not a quick fix to sales calls.
It really is a paradigm change and a different way of looking at business, marketing and sales. We call it Humane Business and Marketing.
Humane Marketing reinvents marketing for the generation that cares; for our clients, ourselves and the planet. It’s founded on truth-telling, human(e) connection, empathy, kindness and integrity.
If you’re interested in learning more about Humane Marketing, read this article with the 7Ps of Humane Marketing.
Changing the way you market will change the quality of your sales calls since your clients will feel heard, seen and empowered.
This empowerment is the foundation for trust and the recipe for long-term success.
Next time you’re on a sales call, instead of trying to ‘clear’ and ‘overcome’ objections, take a step back, listen closely, and approach the conversation with empathy and perspective-taking.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy the following:
- Blog Post: Unlocking the Power of Human Marketing: Strategies for Success.
- Book: Selling Like We’re Human.
- Podcast episode: Clear Your Own Sales Objections
- Podcast episode: Selling is Human.
Other Resources You Might Enjoy
- Manifesto: The Humane Business Manifesto (no opt-in).
- Creed: The Humane Marketing Creed (no opt-in).
- The Humane Marketing Glossary: marketing words we love
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan (email opt-in with seven email prompts to help you think about the 7Ps of Humane Marketing in your business).
- The Humane Marketing Circle is our community of Humane Marketers.