Unexpected Objections

You are nearing the end of the quarter and you are hedging your forecast and quota on one final deal. Even if it is a relatively small sale, closing this deal is critical for you and your team in order to hit that ‘magic number.’

You’ve done everything right:

  • Good discovery
  • Understanding the budget
  • Building value
  • Establishing next steps

You’ve sent the contract out for signature and are ready hit ‘closed won’ on Salesforce, when suddenly you get an email…

“We need to delay signing and moving forward at this time…”

And the objection comes.

We’ve all been there and it is excruciating – especially when you deep dove into their why and the buying process.

We have discussed preventing last minute objections during the sale cycle with trial close and SPIN/Focus on How objection handling – but some objections really are last minute developments.

Curveballs. Or that last minute game tying 3-pointer (March Madness fanatic here) that come out of the blue.

Examples I’ve faced:

  • company decided to merge with another company and rebrand. The negotiations were ongoing, but not public information. This stalls or even thwarts the deal.
  • New compliance regulations (internal or govermental) come up that delay the close with additional due diligence
  • The DM – who you thought you vetted heavily leaves the company and their replacement is not sold on the solution
  • Another DM emerges who was not revealed until the contract signing (procurement/billing)

When this happens you want to crawl in a closet – but don’t panic.

You can still get to YES – the key is to be agile and focus on the HOW within the current situation.

  • How has the path to PO changed with this new information?
  • What is the root of the objection(s) and how can you overcome those with solution, value and trust
    • If the budget is frozen – then find out if they have discretionary income that can be pulled from any ‘open funds’ (think spend that doesn’t have to be budgeted out – does your product need to be budgeted or is it underneath the threshold). Ex: You are able to make purchases under $5000 without approval – our solution is $5200 – if we lower it to $4800 can you move forward by set date
    • Concerns about contract language
      • Get specifics – what are they concerned about and why.
      • If you can address those issues with legal will they move forward. If not, this is not the true objection.

Don’t be afraid to hold your client accountable.. Be respectful of their timeline, but also remind them that you have validated their requirements (discovery agreement, etc…) and demonstrated the value the solution can provide with ROI.

Get their updated requirements for moving forward in writing so you can hold them accountable to the new contract state day.

Remember ‘NO’ in sales often means ‘not now’ and the key is understanding ‘Why not NOW’ and HOW can we move forward.

Some last minute objections aren’t true objections, but a negotiation tactic to push you to lower the price. Organizations understand the opportunity of price negotiation when the fiscal quarter is ending – they might want to use that bargaining chip last minute – even if they are prepared to pay the full price.

If price becomes the battle don’t simply offer a discount. Discounting has its place, but if you’ve properly built value – you need to meet any last minute price objections by reminding the client of the value and ROI. You want to use discovery to ensure that pricing really is the objection – or is it something else.

While we hear ‘no’ a lot in sales, in truth – most clients hate the conflict of telling a business ‘no’ and they might not want to reveal the real reason behind their no because they fear rejection too.

That is when ghosting happens…

You sent that contract and they promised to sign but disappear. That is the worst experience…

In this situation send a calendar invite to the client – proactively asking for a quick five minute call to help them with the contract. “When we last spoke you said that you wanted to move forward this month as your go live date is April 2nd – can we discuss final steps in this quick call.’

If they don’t respond, then you can also give them an ‘out’ – by asking for candor. “We want to win your business, but understand if things have changed. I appreciate your letting us know either way.” This can be called ‘closing the file’ or the ‘did I offend you’ email – this usually revives a deal that has gone radio silent for a while with ‘yes I’m still interested’ or ‘no we don’t have a need anymore because of xyz’ – at least you get an answer and can move on.

I’ll dig into this topic again.

Remember before you ‘closed/lost’ a deal – get to the heart behind the objection and overcome it with empathy, focus, trust and gracious assertiveness.

  • listen to their objections and provide actionable answers
  • show you are there to help and restate the value you have built during the sales cycle
  • Be genuine and show you have a stake in their business success – you want to help them, but need transparency on their end so you can help them to purchase the best solution for their problems/needs

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