What is Sales Objection Handling?

Definitions & How to Guide

What Are Sales Objections?

For as long as there have been sales, sellers have managed objections. Think about it: if your prospect didn’t raise questions or concerns that prevented them from buying your product or service, they would already be buyers.

But sales objections don’t have to mean the end of the sale. In fact, your prospect’s concerns can be a pathway to opportunity.

What Is Objection Handling?

Objection handling is the seller’s opportunity to address the buyer’s concerns, change their mindset, and move the sale forward. But this selling success can only happen if the seller pays close attention to what their buyer is really asking for.

First, let’s look at what is not a successful strategy when handling sales objections.

Good objection handling is not about pressuring the buyer or getting them to back down from their position. Instead, those types of responses only alienate the buyer—and risk the trust and connection the salesperson has worked so hard to develop.

Moreover, a combative approach to objection handling often results in a battle between the seller and the buyer. With each party trying to prove they are right, any chance of moving the sale forward is lost.

A better approach to handling sales objections is acknowledging that the prospect’s concerns are valid, even if they seem trivial. Once the objections are acknowledged, the seller can provide a thoughtful, detailed response. Providing the prospect with the information they want empowers the prospect to come to a new understanding of your product or service.

Educating the prospect in this way overcomes any sales objections and enables the prospect and the seller to move the deal forward together.

Finally, good sellers must learn the difference between objections that show a prospect is genuinely interested in your product or service and objections that your prospect is using to say, “We’re done here.” Don’t waste time on people who aren’t ever going to buy.

If your prospect lacks the authority to decide and shows no signs of discussing your pitch with anyone higher up the chain of command, you are likely wasting your time.

Types of Objections in Sales

While there are as many objections as there are buyers, most sellers report that the top four sales objections they encounter are:

  1. Budget
  2. Need
  3. Trust/Authority
  4. Urgency/Time

Let’s look at each of these objections—and how to handle them.


The most common objections salespeople hear relate to the budget. “We just don’t have the budget right now” or “this isn’t a planned expense” are common refrains.

All too often, a seller’s first response is to reduce the price of their product or service. However, this strategy comes with the risk of devaluing your product or service.

Rather than offering a discount, the seller should show how their product or service brings a unique value to the buyer. Clearly show your prospect how your offering will solve their specific challenges.

For example, finding creative ways to demonstrate your benefits will keep the buyer engaged while also maintaining the value of what you sell.


Many buyers dismiss a product or service before they have learned the details. The reason? Fear of change. These buyers feel comfortable with what they know and can control. Helping them step out of their comfort zone is key to overcoming this sales objection.

If a buyer feels comfortable, it often means they aren’t aware of the full scope of the situation. As a seller, you can educate them.

Take extra time to work with this type of client, fully explaining how the problem impacts them in their role and business. Use case studies to show how businesses like theirs saw and met the challenge with your product or service. Provide details on how the buyer’s competitors are moving forward and why they need to as well.

Educating your buyer gives them the confidence to move out of their comfort zone and make a change—one that will ultimately include your product or service.

Authority and Trust

Unlike the budget and needs objections, the “I like it, but my manager says no” objection is tricky to navigate. You don’t want to alienate your buyer by going over their head, but you do want the chance to handle any objections that come from above.

One way to overcome this objection is to form an alliance with the buyer. Together, gather all the decision-makers in a meeting and address their concerns. Once you have all the relevant parties together, you can hear their specific concerns and handle those objections.

These meetings can also provide you with insight into who the real decision-maker is. If necessary, you can transition the sales effort to focus on the key decision-makers while respecting the relationship with the original buyer.

Lack of Urgency

Getting buyers interested and ready to buy a product or service is a priority for salespeople. But for many buyers, acquiring your new product or service is low on their list of priorities.

As a result, sellers will hear the familiar objection: “Call me in a few months when we have more time/budget/interest.”

In some cases, people really are busy. So be sure that you are not just calling at a bad time. See if there is a better time to call and respect the buyer’s timeframe. But if this “no time” objection is a real business problem, use that information to your advantage by showing how your product or service will make the buyer’s life easier.

Creating a sense of urgency is key to overcoming this sales objection. Make your offer so compelling that your buyer will feel regret if they were to pass it up. For example, simplify the buying process or give the buyer attractive terms that are only available for a limited time. Make it clear that if they wait until the end of the quarter/year, they will be missing out on a great opportunity.


5 Steps to Overcoming Sales Objections

Objections are part of the selling process. But by following our five steps, you can make your prospect feel at ease and, most importantly, overcome objections by showing your prospect how your product or service meets their challenge.

1. Listen – Really Listen
Overcoming objections starts by giving your complete focus to your prospect and listening to what they are saying. This practice sounds simple, but think: how many times have you been on a sales call, answering messages, and preparing for your next call—all at once?

In today’s distracted world, there is power in putting your entire focus on your buyer and actively listening to what they are saying. By focusing entirely on the conversation, you’ll be able to hear specific challenges and concerns that enable you to tailor your responses and keep the sale moving forward.

Moreover, listening conveys a sense of concern and connection with your prospect. The prospect feels you have their best interest in mind, which will help you navigate the following stages of the sale.

2. Investigate To Learn More
Buyers are motivated by different outcomes. Learning more about what’s behind your buyer’s objection is critical to successfully overcoming objections.

That’s why the investigation is an integral part of the selling process. Ask your prospects open-ended questions that provide different perspectives on the objection they are raising. The prospect will give you a lot of helpful information you may not have heard in the fact-finding part of the conversation.

3. Confirm Your Understanding
We’ve all been part of conversations that went wrong. People think they are telling us one thing, and we hear something completely different. That’s part of being human, but in sales, this kind of disconnect can result in miscommunications that end a deal.

That’s why it is essential to confirm what you have learned in the listening and investigating stages of the process.

Start by stating your prospect’s objection, then verify that you heard it correctly. This verification confirms what you heard and shows that you understand their objection—that you were really listening.

4. Acknowledge the Objection
By now, your prospect has given you a lot of information on their objections. Some of these objections will be valid, and some will not. Either way, you must take the time to acknowledge what the buyer has said and address each objection. This acknowledgment reiterates that you have heard the buyer; that their concerns are real.

If you don’t take the time to respond to your prospect’s objections, you will have wasted all the time spent creating a connection with this prospect. Your prospect will likely feel that you are not taking them seriously or that you are just trying to push them into an agreement.  

5. Confirm Your Solution
This is the point when you introduce how your product or service meets your prospect’s needs. The best way to do that is to use the prospect’s own words.

Start by reiterating what the prospect has told you—their specific concerns. Then provide details on how to solve that challenge with your product or service. Tying the prospect’s self-described needs with the problems your product or service solves helps the prospect clearly see the value of your solution. In addition, it creates a bond between you and the prospect; you are now working together to solve their problem.

6 Common Sales Objections and Rebuttal Templates

Here are the most common sales objections and some suggested responses that are proven to keep the conversation going.

Sales Objection #1: “Email Me.”

Prospects who say “email me the details” are either busy or are not interested in making your product or service a priority.

You can respect the prospect’s time and request for information while still gathering information that can help you make the sale.

For example, offer to send the information, but first ask what information would be most helpful. This question will get them talking about what questions they have or what areas of concern they have.

You can also combine your agreement to send information via email with a request for a time when you can talk again. If possible, schedule an appointment before you get off the phone.

When all else fails, the email does give you a point of communication with the prospect. Continue to share additional, relevant content that can keep the email conversation going and the prospect engaged.

Suggested responses:

“I am happy to send that to you. What information would be most helpful to include?”

“Once I send the details, when would be a good time for us to talk again?”

“Are there any other decision makers I should include in the email?”

Sales Objection #2: “This is not what we need.”

This objection is a big one, and can be very daunting. Sometimes, it indicates this buyer might not be the right opportunity. Still, the buyer could have potential. The only way to know is to ask more questions.

Start by asking the prospect why they think they don’t need your product. What do they know about the product? What have they heard?

Once you understand the background on why the buyer has this opinion, the conversation can begin, and you can provide specific information that addresses their area of concern.

For example, you can share user stories of other buyers who had similar objections about the product and are now using it successfully.

If the prospect still says this solution is not for them, try reframing the offer to make it more manageable—a lower price, a smaller-scale solution. If they are interested in this idea, you know there is a possibility for more.

In the end, if the prospect is simply not interested, find a time to cycle back to them and move to the next.

Suggested Responses:

“What have you heard about our product or service?”

“Have you ever used a product like ours in the past?”

“If there was a way to try out the product, would you be interested?

Sales Objection #3: “The price is too high.”

Price is a sensitive issue for most buyers. But cost isn’t just about dollars, so it’s essential to help your prospect understand the overall value of your solution.

Ask questions about why the prospect thinks the price is too high and learn what their price expectations were. From there, educate your prospect on why your product or service is priced the way it is, including market research and details on the competition’s pricing.

Once you have acknowledged price, steer the conversation toward value rather than dollars. Share case studies showing how buyers have generated positive ROI with your product.

If you can, provide details on the cost savings or results the prospect can expect. And don’t forget to highlight the cost of doing nothing; this is often the most compelling argument.

Suggested Responses:

“Tell me more about why you think the price is too high? What were your expectations? “

“If you paid for our product, what ROI would you need to achieve and by when?   

“Think about the results you are getting now. What do you estimate the cost will be if you don’t do anything?”

Sales Objection #4: “This is not a priority.”

This objection may signal that you are not talking to the right person. For example, does your contact have decision-making ability for this product or service? Are they responsible for the priority of projects in their organization?

It is best to ask that question early in the sales process. If they are not the decision-maker or person of authority, see if your prospect is willing to be an advocate that will introduce you to the people with that responsibility.

This approach lets you get in front of the decision-maker without alienating your current prospect. Together, you can work as a team to champion the product and move the sale forward.

Suggested Responses:

Are there others in your organization who make these decisions? Can you introduce me?”

“Does everyone in your company understand the value of this product/service? If not, can we do a joint presentation to decision-makers?”

Sales Objection #5: “We need (a feature).”

Many buyers think your solution would be perfect if it just did this “one thing.” But that “one thing” may not be as critical as the buyer thinks.

The best approach to this objection is to provide more information. For example, share a story or testimonial about another buyer who wanted that or a similar feature, only to find they could achieve success without it.

If the prospect insists on this feature, it’s time to dig deeper. Ask why they need that feature? What do they hope to accomplish? Is it something that can be achieved with the product as it currently exists? In many cases, the answer is yes.

If the prospect continues to insist, then talk with your product managers. Is this a feature that is in development, or could it be? If it is on your product roadmap, that may be enough to satisfy the buyer for now.

Suggested Responses:

“Why is this feature so important for you right now?”

“What do you want to accomplish with this feature?

“Can we still offer value without this feature?”

“Would you be willing to be an advocate for our product development?”

Sales Objection #6: “We’re already working with your competitor.”

If you work in sales, you’ll hear this objection—a lot. The good news is that competition can be your chance to showcase the specific strengths of your product or service.

Find a feature that your competitor does not offer or doesn’t do as well as you do. Highlight the results of a buyer that uses these specific features. If possible, bring in testimonials, use cases, or other content that focus directly on that feature and the results.

Another approach is to engage the prospect in creating a comparison. Ask your prospect what results they are getting with the competitive product. Could anything be improved? Are there features they wish they had? Then use this information to formulate a response that showcases how your product or service is better.

Ultimately, there may be no opportunity to take over a competitor’s account. But the experience—and the information it generates—can provide you with valuable information that can help with future selling and product development efforts.

Suggested Responses:

“What features of X’s product mean the most to you?”

“Have you used the X feature of their product? How does it work for you?

“I would like to show you how we are different.”

“In your experience with X, are there any areas that can be improved?”

Must-Have Skills for Responding to Sales Objections

Most of us think we know the skills needed to be a good salesperson: someone who is confident, outgoing, a negotiator, a persuader. But when it comes to handling objections, a different—and sometimes surprising—range of skills is called for.

Objection handling requires a delicate balance of listening, relating, and communicating. All selling areas require these skills at one time or another, but objection handling brings them all together in a sort of dance. The seller must know when to listen, confirm, and go into the sale. One misstep could turn the opportunity around.

This list of five skills shows what’s needed to overcome objections and close the sale.

Listening to a prospect continually raise one sales objection after another is difficult. But a salesperson who is open to hearing all those objections has an advantage. By being open, they glean information that others might glaze over. That information gives the seller an advantage when they match the buyer’s needs with the features and benefits of the product they are selling.

What is really behind the prospect’s objection? Is it something simple like budget or time, or does the sales objection come from a more complex place like fear or complacency? A salesperson with curiosity can ask the questions needed to understand the story behind the objection—and overcome it.

Openness and curiosity will only get you so far; sellers must combine those skills with empathy to be effective. Sellers who can put themselves in the shoes of their buyers are better able to match the buyer’s needs (both spoken and unspoken) with the product or service they are selling.

All salespeople need to be good communicators. But this skill is critical for successfully handling sales objections. The seller needs to take all they have learned from the buyer and then express it back to the buyer while also showing the value of their product or service. Presenting all this information in a seamless, integrated, and compelling way requires communications excellence.

Once the salesperson has listened and made their case, an effective strategy for overcoming sales objections is simply asking for the sale. Ending the conversation with a phrase like “Based on what you’ve told me, our product meets your criteria for saving costs and improving revenue. Let’s get you started today” is blunt but effective. Knowing when and how to use a strong close is a sign of good objection handling.

Why Is Objection Handling Important?

The sales process today is long and complex. If a buyer develops an opinion about your product in the early stages of the sale, it is likely to stay with them for the entire sales process. That’s good news when the perception is positive. But if the perception is negative, you’ll have a huge hill to climb at the end of the sale.

That’s why handling objections at each step of the sales process is essential.

In some cases, prospects will voice objections throughout the sales process, allowing the seller to address them as they arise. But other prospects will not be as vocal. Handling these objections requires sellers to proactively check-in with the prospects and ask questions throughout the selling process.

These questions can include:

“What are your thoughts so far on the product?”

“Are there any obstacles coming up for you at this point?”

“How do you think this product will impact your results?”

“You appear to be worried about X. Is that a concern for you?”

Addressing the objections raised—and those not raised—throughout the selling process is the key to keeping the sale on track and ensuring a successful close at the end of the process.

Objection Handling and Conversation Intelligence

Successful objection handling does not just happen by accident. Instead, sellers need to employ a range of skills that engage, educate, and convince buyers. While these skills develop over time, many organizations use conversation intelligence platforms to improve performance and give their sellers an advantage.

These systems use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze sales calls, demos, and meetings and provide feedback that helps the seller improve.

For example, say a sales manager wanted to learn how their seller was doing at handling sales objections. Without using conversation intelligence technology, the manager would be required to listen to calls made by all their sellers, then find time to report on their findings.

Or, the manager could record the seller’s call using a conversation intelligence platform. The system records the seller’s calls, listens, then tags and shares critical moments of the call. The manager only listens to the section of the sales call relevant to them— in this case, sales objections.

Based on this sample of the call, the manager develops an understanding of how reps handle sales objections. Moreover, the manager can provide the seller with advice and tactics based on their findings.

Moreover, using a conversation intelligence platform, managers can share best practices. For example, if a particular seller excels at handling objections, the manager can make that recording available to their entire team, helping them learn from the best.

This automated approach saves time for the managers, while giving the rep actionable feedback they can immediately use to improve their performance.

Get Your Complimentary Copy

Objection Handling eBook

Get your copy of How to Overcome 5 Top Sales Objections to understand the motivations behind common objections.

Get Your Copy