Common sales objections

When selling your services, you will find that you face the same objections again and again. Here are some of the most common, some insights into the reasons for them, and ways to deal with them.

‘Your firm is too big’
This will come from small businesses worried that they will not receive a sufficiently personal service. It may also hide a concern about fee levels. Reassure the client that they will have one person assigned to them, and that fee levels will be reasonable.

‘Your firm is too small’
Here the prospect would probably feel safer appointing a major practice. If you are able to make an assurance that key partners trained with a big firm it may be helpful, but otherwise you could emphasise your firm’s ability to provide close co-operation and a personal service.

‘Your fees are too expensive’
Here you have to justify the benefit versus the cost. Point out the areas where your services are cost effective in tax or expenditure savings or in greater productivity.

‘We are quite happy with our existing accountant’
If they were happy with their current accountant, they would not be talking to you in the first place. Try to find out what it is they want that he is not providing and offer it to them.

‘You don’t have experience of our business’
Here you might point to a parallel industry where you are working well and insist that your staff are quick learners. The client to be does not want to spend the first six months training you.

‘You are not local’
This objection often indicates that the prospect has had poor service from a non-local firm in the past. A promise of well-structured meetings, regular reports and quick responses should cure this complaint.

‘It is too late in the tax year to change’
This objection will more often than not be a disguised plea for guidance. Offer them a comprehensive timetable for hand-over.

‘We don’t really know your firm’
This complaint should be anticipated when first pitching for the business. A presentation of your corporate credentials, a list of clients and, where appropriate, a brief history of the firm plus biographical information on the person to handle the account should be made at the earliest stage.

‘I need time to think about it’
If this objection is raised then either you have not made an outright sale or you are dealing with someone who is very indecisive. You may need to go through the costs and benefits with the client again.

‘Will you be handling my account?’
This question usually indicates that the client is impressed by you but would be less than happy if you were to pass his account to another partner or member of staff. Where you have an out-going charismatic partner it can be a mistake to get him or her to do all the selling because the clients will expect to be always dealing with that partner and may be upset if they are not.

Most objections are in reality requests for clarification or reassurance. Generally a prospect knows that he wants certain services but wishes to be convinced that he is making the correct decision. More often than not, good sales means being easy to buy from rather than being aggressive and doing a ‘hard sell’, but it is essential to keep in regular contact with potential clients. Making that extra call can make all the difference, but be prepared to meet with objections.

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