Overcoming Sales Objections – Why Many Sales Objections Shouldn’t Need to Be Overcome

Join us on Wednesday, April 19 | 9am – 10am PT

“Help me understand how to handle customer sales objections…”
“My team needs to learn how to handle objections…”
“We get lots of sales objections in our demos and need to manage them better…”
Sound familiar?
Many sales and presales training programs discuss ways to overcome objections, and managers frequently request skills training for their teams. There are numerous books, blog posts and articles on the subject, including the use of some rather intriguing acronyms (e.g., ARC, LAER, FFF, LAARC, and ECIRR).
But, why do prospects raise objections? Is it possible that vendors are working to address the wrong problem? Is it possible that objections are a symptom of deeper problems? Perhaps sales objections shouldn’t come up in the first place, in a well-executed sales process!
We’ll explore some typical objections, their causes and some solutions for the following objections (plus any you’d like to add!):
  • “Do you have a ‘lite’ version of your software?” or “We don’t need the Cadillac version; we just want the Chevy…”
  • “Your product looks too complicated for most of our users – so we only want a couple of licenses for a few experts to use…”
  • “We didn’t see what we were looking for in the demo…”
  • “You don’t understand our business…”
  • “I’m not comfortable with you as a vendor…”
  • “While your product does cover about 80% of our requirements, it is missing a few critical capabilities…”
  • “Your product looks good, but we feel we can continue to live with the current situation…”
  • “Your product is way too expensive for us (but thanks for the education) …”

In this webinar, sales coach Peter Cohan discusses various methods to overcome sales objections and the importance of addressing them early on in the sales process. He shares personal stories and horror stories to illustrate common objections and suggests solutions such as improving discovery skills, customizing demos, and using proof of concept to ensure success criteria are in place. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the prospect’s needs and using biased questions to present only necessary features and capabilities. Additionally, he discusses the different forms of proof that can be used to make product and marketing claims believable to prospects. Overall, the key to overcoming objections is to improve discovery and demo skills and focus on the value equation.

  • 00:00:00 IThe moderator introduces the speaker, Peter Cohan, who is the founder of Great Demo!. Peter has experience as an individual contributor manager and C-level team member in marketing, sales, and business development. The webinar is sponsored by Consensus, an intelligent demo automation software that helps scale pre-sales with interactive video demos. The moderator also encourages the audience to ask any questions or objections they want Peter to address during the webinar. 
  • 00:05:00 Peter Cohan sets the stage for the webinar on overcoming sales objections by discussing the interest in the topic and the various methods and acronyms that exist for handling objections. He explains that objections are a root cause problem that should have been addressed earlier on in the sales process and talks about the plan for the session, which includes identifying traditional approaches to handling objections, analyzing root causes, and discussing solutions. Cohan warns that there may be more content than can fit into the hour and that he will move quickly through the material.
  • 00:10:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of addressing and handling objections early on in the sales process. The speaker gives examples of how ignoring objections or putting a band-aid solution on them can lead to bigger issues down the line. The webinar then goes through a list of common objections and provides horror stories and analogies to illustrate the point. One particular objection is the customer saying they don’t need the “Cadillac” version of the software and only want the “Chevy.” Cohan stresses the importance of understanding the root cause of objections and suggests the objection came from the rep overwhelming customers with too much information.
  • 00:15:00 Peter Cohan discusses the issue of prospects not wanting to pay for extra functionality, also known as “buying it back.” The root cause is presenting too many features and functions without understanding the specific capabilities needed by the prospect. The solution is to improve discovery skills to uncover specific capabilities and present only those in the demo, using biased questions if necessary. The speaker then shares a horror story of a sales manager who lost a $250,000 subscription by showing unnecessary functionality during the demo.
  • 00:20:00 The webinar focuses on the importance of avoiding overly complicated demos that may lead to negative conversions. Cohan shares a story in which a software demo appeared too confusing and complicated, causing a loss of 245,000 dollars in sales per year. The webinar also emphasizes the importance of using clear language in demos, avoiding unnecessary clicks, and additional unnecessary information. Instead, demos should be kept short, with a clear path to the end, and customized according to the job titles and preferences of prospects to ensure successful conversions.
  • 00:25:00 Peter Cohan discusses the common objection of “you don’t understand our business” and how it can lead to a failed sales process. He shares a personal story from his experience in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries and explains that without understanding the customer’s industry, the vendor will be at a severe disadvantage. He suggests aligning the demo environment and deliverables to the market and improving discovery and demo environment skills. He also addresses the objection of “I’m not comfortable with you as a vendor” and explains that it is a challenging objection to overcome. He highlights the high failure rate of implementation projects and lists the various reasons they fail.
  • 00:30:00 Peter Cohan discusses the concept of burn victims, who are potential customers who have suffered from a failed implementation or partial implementation of a solution in the past and are hesitant to move forward. The key to understanding their situation is through Discovery, asking questions to determine what happened previously, what the outcomes were, and how to prevent those outcomes from happening again. Cohan also emphasizes the importance of discussing value realization events during Discovery and throughout the sales process to prove a genuine interest in customer success. Finally, he addresses the common objection of a product covering only 80% of a customer’s requirements, and suggests performing root cause analysis and understanding the critical capabilities that are missing to overcome the objection.
  • 00:35:00 Peter Cohan discusses the concept of KO (knockout) capabilities, which are absolutely necessary for a prospect and cannot be traded off. He emphasizes the importance of properly assessing the prospect’s needs, wants, suggesting a portfolio analysis approach, highlighting the negative scale of things that are not needed by the prospect and cannot be sold. Applying a portfolio analysis approach on four opportunities, he shows how to rank and prioritize them based on the degree of fit with the prospect’s perspective, focusing on the critical KO criteria. By multiplying the relative importance and degree of fit, he shows how this analysis helps identify the right opportunity to pursue, where the vendor meets the prospect’s KO capabilities adequately.
  • 00:40:00 Peter Cohan discusses how to address the dreaded “no decision” outcome in sales. He identifies three root causes of this outcome: a lack of critical business issues, insufficient perceived value, and the prospect, “kicking the can down the road”. To combat this outcome, Cohan recommends using a Great Demo! situation slide to eliminate wasted demos and focusing on tangible value that meets the prospect’s ROI standards. He also emphasizes the importance of identifying a critical date and driving force for the prospect to create a sense of urgency.
  • 00:45:00 Peter Cohan covers some common sales objections and provides solutions to overcome them. For example, when a prospect says your product is too expensive, Cohan suggests improving your discovery skills and providing pricing ranges early on in the process. He also advises against offering \ a test drive too early, and instead recommends agreeing on success criteria, timeline, and responsibility through discovery before moving forward with a POC or evaluation. Ultimately, the key to overcoming objections is to improve your discovery and demo skills to better understand and address the prospect’s needs.
  • 00:50:00 Peter Cohan discusses the different forms of proof that can be used to make product and marketing claims believable to a prospect, with personal experiences being the most effective. The least expensive forms of proof include self-reference, picking up the phone to ask a colleague for feedback, and vision generation demos. The more expensive forms of proof include POCs, POV, Pilots, and dreaded RFPS. Cohan suggests that the type of proof requested by a prospect can give an indication of where they are on the technology adoption curve.
  • 00:55:00 Peter Cohan talks about using a Proof of Concept (POC) to address objections and ensure success criteria are in place. They emphasize setting up installation, data migration, and training for users with a focus on enabling them to succeed with smart, measurable, and time-bound success criteria. The speaker also stresses the importance of leveraging Consensus by using automated demos to apply the  “menu approach” to kickstart discovery and gain valuable insights. He offers resources and invites participants to reach out for more information. Finally, he  addresses a two-part objection related to a product’s high price tag and user adoption, emphasizing the need for sufficient discovery and a focus on the value equation, as well as addressing cultural elements to ensure adoption.

The focus in this section  is on the importance of discovering information about prospects and acting on it accordingly. Peter Cohan highlights the need for the original person who did outreach to follow through and emphasizes the significance of good handoffs between sales and other departments. He also suggests the use of Great Demo! situation slides to ensure that all information is easily accessible. While he notes that some strategies may depend on the industry and offering, the overall message is to prioritize effective communication and collaboration throughout the sales process.

  • 01:00:00 Peter Cohan discusses the importance of discovering information about prospects and acting on it accordingly, as well as the advantage of having the original person who did the outreach follow-through. However, he also notes that it depends on the industry and nature of the offering. The speaker emphasizes the need for good handoffs from sales to pre-sales, other SMEs, implementation, customer success, and back to development and product. The use of great demo situation slides is also recommended to ensure that all information is in one place and easily accessible.


About the Presenter

Peter Cohan

Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of The Second Derivative and the Great Demo! and Doing Discovery methodologies, focused on helping software organizations improve their presales, sales and marketing results – primarily through improving organizations’ demonstrations and discovery skills. He has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, business development, and as a member of the C-suite. He has also been and continues to be a prospect and a customer.

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