Overcoming Objections in the Sales Process

For salespeople, it is important to know several things well:

  1. The product or service you are selling – you need to be a product expert, able to answer all questions about specifications and how it works.
  2. The benefits – you need to be able to tell people exactly how it will solve their problem or improve their life.
  3. The most common objections

Objections are what the prospective customers will use as reasons NOT to buy. They are the questions, phrases, or explanations that salespeople will hear when someone is just not sure.

Some of these are legitimate objections. When a person can’t afford the product you’re selling, they will tell you they can’t afford it.

But some objections are just excuses. That same person might be telling you they can’t afford it (even though they can) because it’s easier than asking a technical question or exposing that they are confused.

To overcome your prospect’s objections, you need to do three things well:

  1. Prepare your responses – prepare for the most common objections you are likely to hear so that you know how to respond to each one. They needn’t sound scripted or rehearsed, but you need to have answers or you risk losing the sale.
  2. See them coming – in order to do #1, you need to have at least some idea what kind of objections you will get. This comes from listening clearly to customers, proper coaching and training, and sharing your observations with other salespeople.
  3. Get to know the prospect – many objections are personal. Like the example above, the same objection can mean two different things coming from two different prospects. Use conversational cues like the tone of the person’s voice or non-verbal reactions (if you’re selling in person) to cater your responses specifically to each individual.

Lead Scoring Explained

If your organization relies on generating leads and then turning those leads into paying customers, you could likely benefit from lead scoring.

The top reasons companies give for not investing in lead scoring:

  1. It doesn’t work (you’re not doing it right)
  2. We follow up with all leads so scoring won’t do anything (see #3)
  3. Don’t know what it is

Lead scoring, in principle, is actually quite easy. You assign a score to every lead that tells you how likely that lead will become a paying customer. Then you use the score to adjust how you follow up and who you follow up with.

The goal with any lead scoring program is to focus your time and money on converting those most likely to convert without wasting money on the rest. You should be able to increase your conversion rate and lower your cost per conversion. You may also learn more about your lead sources so that your lead generation efforts can improve with time.

To get started, you will need to create a lead scoring model. There are third-party companies out there that can help you with this, or you can task a data scientist on your team. The model will be based on historical data – all your leads and customers. The person building the model will use the data to figure who factors impact the likelihood that someone converts from a lead to a customer.

Some of those factors might be:

  1. Demographic data – gender, age, locations
  2. Company information – position, industry, company size
  3. Past behavior – purchases, website visits, email opens

Once the model is built, you will be able to assign scores to new leads as they come in.

A model might assign leads a score from 1-5, with 1 being the most likely to become a paying customer. You might follow up with your 1’s first, 2’s second, etc. You might follow up with 1’s differently than 2’s, with phone vs. mail or email.

After you implement the model, you will continually test it to make sure it’s working correctly. You should be able to accurately predict the conversion rates for each score. Then you can adapt your follow up process to improve upon them.

Most models will need regular maintenance to keep them up to date. Having the person who built it look at it again every 6 or 12 months is usually recommended.

Bottom line: a well-crafted lead scoring model which impacts how leads get followed up should help you grow your sales.

Day One Strategy – Part 9

Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Signing a Marketing Agency.

Today’s Topic = Hiring a Marketer

The way you build your company matters. But there is no one-size-fits-all model. Some companies begin with a marketer as a key member of the founding team. But many do not. That’s who we want to focus on here, the companies that are out there looking to hire someone to manage their marketing.

Defining the Job

Before you start the process, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. No two marketers have the same set of skills, so it’s important that you outline your goals for this position before you start looking or interviewing. Develop a job posting that is as specific as possible, including what tools you expect the person to know, how much experience they should have with different processes, what they will be held accountable for.

A well-crafted job ad should narrow the pool of potential candidates to those who can actually do the job. And it will be used by you, the hirer, later as a measuring stick for who fits the bill.

Conducting the Search

Use all of the tools and channels at your disposal. Online job boards, LinkedIn, employee referrals, and head hunters can all help you find the right person. If this is your first marketing hire, it will be important to find the right person. You don’t want to settle for the first decent person you find. Your goal should be to find as many qualified candidates as possible before you start narrowing them down during the interview process.

When candidates apply for the position, look for a clear demonstration of skills on their resume and in their application. Weed through the cookie-cutter cover letters and find the people that are truly passionate about this position. A good candidate can prove that to you in his or her application.


If your candidate pool is large, start with a brief phone interview to narrow it down. With some prepared questions, you will be able to find out who knows what they’re talking about and who is not telling the truth on their resume.

Bring the best people in to meet with you in person. Use the interview to get to know the person, remembering that it is important you can work with them day in and day out. Are they passionate about the business? Are they coachable? Can they demonstrate expertise in the areas you care about? How would they respond to real-life situations they are likely to encounter if hired?


When you narrow it down to your top two or three people and still can’t make a decision, it can be a good idea to test them. Offer them a real-life scenario and give them a chance to tell you how they would handle it. This gives you a sense of their work style and creativity, and can help the very best candidate shine.

Hiring and Managing

When you do find the right person and make them an offer, be sure to do two things right away. First, make sure everyone is on the same page as far as roles and responsibilities. This way the new hire knows exactly what is expected of them. Second, set a timeline for reviewing progress. By making it clear from the start what is expected and how you will judge performance, you give the relationship the best chance to succeed in the long run.

In the end, hiring the wrong marketer is a costly mistake, so you want to handle this process with care and find the person that is going to really help you grow your business.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.

Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review

Admit you’re not the best at everything. No company is. You can’t be the cheapest, and the fastest, and the most friendly, and, and, and. Great marketing is about knowing what you do better than anyone else and then using that to connect with your audience in a way that helps your company stand out from the crowd. You don’t need to be the best at everything. You only need to be the best at one thing, and then hammer that one thing again and again.

For your review, here is a list of last week’s posts:

  1. Day One Strategy – Part 8
  2. Why You Should Survey Your Website Visitors
  3. Become Your Competitor’s Customer

Happy Saturday!

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Become Your Competitor’s Customer

Last week we suggested that marketers and small business owners should secret shop their own companies to experience things the way their customers do.

But don’t stop there! Secret shop your whole industry.

When you become your competitor’s customer you can learn a lot about how they do business. And that’s your goal, to learn as much as you can.

In order to do that, you should start with their online presence and advertising. Search for them, find out how they communicate with prospective customers. If they have a sales team, talk to them.

Make sure you keep detailed notes. You are looking for the good and the bad alike. Note what they do well (things you might “copy”) and the things they do poorly (areas you “win” on).

Find out what the buying experience is like. Can you complete your purchase online or do you need to do it by phone or in person? How helpful are the people you speak with? The information on their website?

After purchase, actually use the product or service. See how it makes you feel, how easy it is to figure out and use. Does it solve the problem they told you it would? Does it make your life better in some way?

Then contact their customer service department. How easy is it to get someone to respond to your inquiry? How well do they treat you? Do they have the authority necessary to solve complex problems or the product knowledge to answer detailed questions?

Shop all your competitors. And when you’re done, compile a report and showcase your findings to your team. Explain what you learned, the good and the bad, and use it to make your own company better. That might be through new processes, better systems, coaching and training, or new messaging to highlight the key things your company truly does better than anyone else.