9 of the most common sales objections freelancers face and how to tackle them (without any ick!)

Do you know what makes the difference between a pants sales call and one that makes your potential customer feel confident in buying from you?

Prep, prep, and more prep.

We know it’s a bit cheesy, but it does still ring true – by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

But how can you prepare for a sales call?

Well, we’re going to help you deal with some of the most common objections, but first, how the heck do you know what your potential customer is going to ask you? And how on earth do you know what their objections are going to be?

All you need to do is ask yourself the BEST question to ask about your business…

Why would someone NOT buy from you?

Moira, Schitt's Creek

Grab a pen and paper and write down the reasons why someone wouldn’t buy from you, and be brutally honest about yourself.

Because if you don’t understand the reasons why someone wouldn’t buy from you, there’s no way you can tackle that objection quickly and confidently when it comes up on a sales call.

Shall we go first? Why wouldn’t someone invest in the ATOMIC Growth Club Membership?

What are you talking about A&P, everyone loves you!

Ahhh shucks. Thank you. But as much as we like to think everyone loves us, not everyone does. There are a number of things that could stop people from investing in the ATOMIC Growth Club Membership. Here are a few examples and how we’d tackle that objection…

1. It’s £39 a month – am I really going to see much of a transformation at that price?

We’re confident our online courses, community, live clinics and full-day live expert courses, are worth way beyond £39 per month. The reason we charge that is because we want to help as many small and mighty businesses as possible achieve their dreams!

So many of our members have hit their financial targets, stopped swapping time for money, given themselves a much better work-life balance and built businesses they love. There are countless examples of members doubling their turnover within a month or two of joining.

2. I want to focus on [insert tactic here, like Instagram, SEO, redesigning my website]

We have in-depth training on that, plus research shows (our research, in fact, of over 1,000 business owners) that what makes the biggest impact on your growth is not the “individual tactic” but something much bigger. Things like building your team, outsourcing, scaling your offerings and building your audience – all things we teach in the ATOMIC Growth Club Membership.

Do you see what we’re getting at? We’ve worked through two potential objections, and written them down. So, if we ever hear something like this, we can quickly and confidently tackle it!

Good, eh?

But still, it can be tricky to know exactly what to say, so we’ll help you out a little.

Below are some of the most common objections as to why someone won’t work with you AND how to tackle them. But just before we get into that, we want you to remember a few key rules when you’re on a sales call:

1. Empathise

There’s that scene in old TV shows where a man walks into a car dealership, unsure whether to buy a car.

He says to the salesperson, ‘I’ll have to talk it over with my wife’, and the salesperson replies, ‘Come on, you’re not the kind of guy who needs permission from his wife, are you?’

Ugh.

Icky sales tactics that belittle people or are pushy should be banished for good!

to the history books (or lousy TV shows!).

Instead, empathise with what your potential customer is telling you, and show them their objections are valid. Don’t dismiss them. Tell them you get what they’re saying and understand why they’re saying it, but they might not have considered a different viewpoint (which you’ll offer).

2. Ask follow-up questions

When someone voices an objection, ask a follow-up question to gain more insight into why they think what they think.

For example, if someone tells you ‘You’re too expensive’, rather than jumping into your answer, you could say, ‘What makes you think that?’ They might say, ‘Well, your competitor is 20% cheaper’ or ‘Well, I don’t know what ROI I’m going to get.’

Those two statements need entirely different answers; you’ll only know what answer is right when you dig a little deeper!

3. Pause

You’ll have to learn the tricky task of embracing silence on sales calls. Ask your potential customer a question and pause after they’ve given their answer. They’ll naturally go into more detail to fill the silence and give you more clues about what is genuinely stopping them from buying.

So, with those three rules in mind, are you ready to go through the most common sales objections and how to tackle them?

Let’s go!

1. It’s too expensive

It's too expensive Gif

‘You’re too expensive’ is probably one of the most common objections you’ll encounter, and in most cases, it means someone doesn’t quite understand the value of what you offer.

To tackle this objection, you need to get super clear on the value of your product or service. It’s much easier to convey value if you run a business where the ROI is crystal clear – such as Facebook advertising – and you can confidently say, for example, ‘Put £1 in and get £5 back in sales.’

As soon as we hear or see actual numbers, we’re much more likely to buy. That doesn’t mean buying is purely logical, but we like to back up our buying decisions with logic. We tend to buy with our hearts but justify with our heads, so giving hard facts helps justify buying from you.

This is trickier when the ROI isn’t as straightforward, but remember it’s not always about the money someone gets back.

If you’re an outsourced social media manager, you could say, ‘This will give you 10 hours a week back in your business.’ Then get them to imagine what they’d do with that time to grow their business. There’s a clear monetary ROI here, just a different way of positioning it.

If you sell a course, you could say, ‘It has taken me 12 years and over £10,000 to learn everything I know, and I’m giving you the key to skip all of that and learn everything about XYZ in my FastTrack course.’

The key is to be as specific as possible and focus on what they’ll gain from investing in you – time, money, knowledge. Use cold, hard numbers if you can, but don’t forget to focus on the transformation. A website designer on a sales call might say, ‘It would feel so good to feel proud of your website and to share it confidently with your customers, wouldn’t it?’

Remember: cold, hard numbers appeal to our need to justify our decisions with logic, but don’t forget what the heart wants!

You may at this point want to ask some clarifying questions: ‘What are you comparing this to?’ ‘Are you worried about how long it will take to get a return?’

If your offering is a little less tangible, you’ll need to first understand what their pain points are and leverage the transformation of those things into “value”. Let’s imagine you’re a life coach: ‘I know this might seem a little expensive right now, but earlier you said this was weighing heavy on your mind and how relieved you would be to move on from this…’

Don’t forget there may be room for negotiation. Someone might not have the budget for your full offering, but you can negotiate something new where they pay less and you do less. Or you offer them a payment plan.

If they really do love your product or service but just can’t afford it at the moment, set a time to revisit this in the future.

Ultimately, our best advice is to handle this objection proactively before it comes up. You don’t want to wait until the end – they need to know it’s worth every last penny, and then some, as you’re talking … so that when you ask them if they want it, they’re drooling to buy it.

Top tips on this:

  • Price anchor – early in the call, compare your offer to a more expensive alternative. This will immediately set their mindset to valuing your offer at the higher price. When you then tell them your price later on, it’ll seem a more affordable option.
  • Don’t rush the pitch. Explain everything they get in detail, and why each component of your offer adds great value. If you can, tell a story about how each thing has helped someone in the past.

2. You’re not big enough/can you handle this project?
You can handle it

Our ATOMIC Growth Club Membership is full of small AND mighty businesses – mostly freelancers and small teams. And sometimes, they come across the objection that they’re not “big enough” to handle the project.

First, ask your potential customer if they have ever worked with a “bigger business” that provides the products or services you do. If they have, this might be a good time to ask about their experiences – what did they think could be improved, or what problems did they encounter?

You can go on to discuss how you, as a smaller business or freelancer, are better equipped to help them. Maybe they said they were able to speak to the owner of the bigger business in the sales process, but once the project started, they didn’t see them for dust! As a freelancer, let them know they’ll have more access to you, with regular 1-2-1 calls, to make sure everything’s on track.

Remember: you’re small AND mighty. The fact you’re a freelancer or small team IS a benefit to others.

So think about how to turn the objection “you’re not big enough” on its head and, instead, highlight the benefits of working with a freelancer. Things like:

  • You get to speak to the decision-maker.
  • You don’t get lost in a sea of other clients.
  • You’re not paying for a huge team of staff or a fancy office.
  • You get to work with a highly flexible company that can make decisions fast.

Think about why you’re better than a bigger business and what makes you a better choice.

It may also be a case of reassuring them you can handle the job by explaining how you’ve dealt with this type of thing before, or that you’re ready, or that you have a small team that helps.

3. I’m not sure I need this right now

Not sure

Sometimes, people see the value, but don’t feel the urgency to take action.

They could be right, and perhaps now isn’t the right time to invest in what you offer, but more often than not, your product or service will help them get to where they want to be much faster.

It’s just a case of reminding them!

So, ask your potential customer what they want to achieve in the next 3/6/12 months (it’s up to you how long!).

Then ask them some questions about how they’re going to achieve that goal.

Your aim here is to make them realise they need you to achieve their goals. If not, they’re going to be in the exact same place in 3/6/12 months!

Find out why they’re not ready right now. They might have a busy few months ahead, in which case you can offer them extra support during this busy time – it might be better for them to start with you right away.

If you have an X-month-long programme, tell them you expect people to be busy at the start and that’s why it’s X months long rather than <X months long. Or tell them that’s why you have an additional catch-up session half way through, or something like that.

Often, objections are a reason to make your offer better.

4. I’ve heard [negative things] about your industry
Negative things about your industry

Perhaps your industry has a bad reputation, or your potential customer has been burned before. This is tricky to navigate (but if you do it right, you can build a huge amount of trust and loyalty!).

What you need to do is differentiate yourself from others in your industry or the previous company your prospect worked with.

Let’s take SEO as an example. Everyone (and their nan) has been approached by a shady SEO person promising them top-page rankings on Google.

So, if you’re an SEO expert, you would need to showcase previous case studies and results to prove you can deliver.

You would also need to be honest about the time it takes to see results or what your client has to do to enhance the results further.

It’s easy to slip into making promises on sales calls that you can’t keep. You’ll do this unintentionally rather than maliciously because you want the sale. But for your customer, if they don’t get what they’ve been promised, they’re going to feel disheartened.

Good customers will always appreciate honesty and transparency, particularly when backed up by previous results – and especially if they’ve been burned before!

Finally, remember to empathise with your potential customer. They’re probably highly sceptical of your industry and what you do. Acknowledge their bad experience and confirm there are companies out there that aren’t trustworthy. This will put them at ease and show you understand them.

5. You’re more expensive than [competitor]

I don't like that

This is a slightly different objection to ‘you’re too expensive’. Your prospect probably understands the value you deliver but doesn’t understand why you charge differently to someone else.

Avoid criticising the other company. This will just make you look petty and unprofessional.

Confirm that, yes, you are more expensive (if it’s true), and say it with confidence. Because next, you’re going to explain why.

The reasons why will be personal to you and your business. It could be:

  • The results you’ve delivered for your past clients means you’re comfortable with your price point: you increased 10x their investment.
  • You have a particular specialism that the other company doesn’t – you’re a quiz funnel consultant who’s also a trained copywriter.
  • You have more knowledge in a certain area – you’re a website designer who understands website strategy.
  • Your product is slightly different – so you could have two competing courses – but with yours, you offer group coaching.

We’re not hugely into looking at everything the competition is doing. Heck, some of our friends are our competition! But it’s good to understand how you differ so you can answer this question accurately if it ever comes up.

Remember: refrain from speaking negatively about the competition. And, instead, speak positively about yourself! It shows a lot more confidence.

6. You’re cheaper than [competitor]
Suspicious of you

Yup, on the other side of the coin, people might want to understand why you’re cheaper than your competition.

You might think being cheaper is an advantage, but humans are funny old creatures. In fact, this is an incredibly difficult objection to handle because some people suspect cheap = not as good. And you’re going to have to combat that.

If you’re a small business or freelancer who is cheaper than a bigger business, you could say, ‘The results I get for my clients are excellent, and the reason I am cheaper is because I don’t have a big office to pay for, or tens of staff.’

That’s a great response because it shows your potential customer that what they get is exactly the same as your more expensive competitor.

But you won’t always have that to fall back on, and sometimes you’ll discover you should’ve charged more for your services. (This is why we’re keen on getting our ATOMIC members to raise their prices!)

If people are commenting on how much cheaper you are, maybe this is the time to charge more, rather than come up with the reasons why! You could at this point tell them you’ll be raising your prices but, for now, you’re building great case studies. You can use this as urgency to buy now at the cheaper price.

7. It takes too long
It takes too long

Do you remember when you’d watch an episode of something on TV and then have to wait an ENTIRE WEEK for the next one?

Yeah, we don’t do that any more (or it’s much less common anyway!).

We want things instantaneously, and it’s no different in business. When we’ve made the decision to invest, we want that thing right now! So, it can become an objection when something takes longer than, say, oh, five seconds.

If someone pushes you to get something done quicker, it’s VERY tempting to agree, especially to get the sale. Now it’s up to you if you do this, but if doing it means you have to cut corners (which impacts the service) and end up with more stress, then it’s best to reiterate the importance of your potential customer following your process.

This is your opportunity to highlight why you need do it right, and why if it’s rushed, your customer will waste time and/or money.

Explain that you’d be doing them a disservice if they didn’t follow your tried and tested process.

Ultimately, be confident in your process, and the business owner will have confidence in you!

8. I need to check with my manager/business partner/cat
Checking with the cat

Bah! This is always annoying, isn’t it? Someone sounds so excited about your product or service, they say they’d love to buy, and then they hit you with, ‘I’ve just got to check with so-and-so’.

There is nothing more disheartening!

Yes, it’s always best to ensure you get all the decision-makers on the first sales call (maybe not the cat), but sometimes that’s not possible.

When someone says this to you, agree and then offer to schedule a follow-up call with the entire team.

Otherwise you’re relying on that person convincing someone else to hire you, and there’s no better person to do that than you.

9. There’s a bit too much going on right now
Too busy right now

Sometimes, people just aren’t in the right headspace to buy.

If you have an inkling this is because they feel like they’re not yet ready to buy your product or service, question them on it. If you’re a copywriter, your prospect might believe they need to redesign their website before they invest in website copy, when actually, it’s the other way round! It’s good to check for common myths your prospects might believe and try to bust them on the call.

Sometimes, life just gets in the way and for whatever reason, people might not be in the right space to buy right now.

At this point, it’s good to empathise and explain gently that your product or service can take a lot off their plate, save them time, give them more money, and so on. But if they’re still not ready, make sure you agree a date for you to get back in touch with them about your product or service.

The best way to handle objections is proactively

We hope that helps, but we also want you to remember the best way to handle an objection is to handle it before it becomes an objection!

When you’re pitching your product or service, make sure you pre-empt the objections and bust them in your pitch. You could show some of the results you’ve got for past clients, or you could mention how another company charges significantly more because they have higher overheads. You could just explain how you differ from others in your industry if it’s a particularly “untrustworthy” industry you work in!

If you bust these objections before your customer has to ask, it builds way more trust and loyalty.

Don’t be worried you’ll be putting these questions into their heads – they’ll already be thinking them!

Want to know how we happened when we had 100 sales calls?

Believe it or not, we used to feel shy about going on sales calls, so we challenged ourselves to see what would happen if we had 100 calls!

What do you need to focus on for business success?

Knowing how to sell is one of the key business skills you need for your business to be a success. But it’s not the only one! Take this free success predictor quiz, and find out the main areas you need to focus on right now to skyrocket your business.

Success predictor