Before salespeople get to a “yes,” they have to hear a whole bunch of “nos.” Rejection is part of the job, and the reason why salespeople are usually so well-compensated.
But sometimes, what might sound like a “no” is actually a sign that there’s opportunity ahead. A smart salesperson knows the difference between rejection and an objection that can be overcome, even though at first glance they might sound like one and the same.
Here are some common excuses from prospects which sound like rejection, but might actually signal a great opportunity:
1. “My (decision maker) isn’t on board”
While it’s not a good thing that the decision maker isn’t on board, it’s not a done deal until you get a chance to speak with them. Why aren’t they on board? Is it for some tangible reason, or is it because they haven’t seen the full scope of the offering? Before moving on from an excuse like this, make sure you’ve done everything in your power to get in front of the decision maker. Because until you have, you still haven’t exhausted every opportunity to close the deal.
2. “Your competitor offered us a better deal”
The opportunity in this excuse lies in the fact that the prospect has intent to move forward. The bad news is that in order to close this deal, you’ll either have to convince the prospect that your product provides more value, or you’ll have to discount in order to meet (or more likely beat) your competitor’s pricing. While it’s not a sure thing either way, remember that the person you’re talking to is about to make a purchase, so your goal is to do everything possible to convince them to make that purchase from you.
3. “This is on the higher-end of what we’re looking for”
This is an excuse you’ll recognize if your product is in the higher-end of your particular market. You might have all the bells and whistles, but you likely have a higher price point too. The bad news is that the prospect thinks you’re too expensive. The good news is that the prospect likely recognizes that you have the best offering, and if they don’t, it’s your job to explain why, and to outline all the possible scenarios where your product will give the prospect an edge. You’re on the higher end for a reason, and your job is to convince the prospect that these reasons are valid.
4. “I’m still getting a few more quotes”
When you hear this excuse, you need to become the most helpful, personable version of yourself possible. When prospects are getting multiple quotes, it’s a great opportunity to set yourself apart by being responsive, checking in regularly, and going above and beyond to be the best option. There’s a great chance that some of your competitors will drop the ball at this stage of the process, and it’s incumbent on you to be the one who’s there, the one who makes the prospect feel comfortable, and the one who crosses their t’s and dots their i’s. If you do that, you’re likely to win the deal even if you don’t have the best quote.
5. “We’re going to hold off until x”
When a prospect gives an excuse like this, it can be a bit demoralizing unless you read between the lines. Of course, it could be a polite way of telling you to stop contacting them, but if they’re truly waiting until a specific date or event, then there’s a lot of opportunity to get them on the calendar and follow up at a specific time. Remember: many of your competitors won’t be willing to check back in, which gives you an advantage (if you’re willing to go above and beyond).