Voices

Understanding prospective clients’ objections and how to answer them

So, you've just finished meeting with a prospective client. You've walked them through your firm services and the benefits of working with you, and after you close, your prospect launches an objection like:

• "This is more expensive than I thought."

• "I'll have to think about this."

• "We use QuickBooks. Why do we need you?"

• "I've got too much on my plate to switch right now."

How do you respond? Are these real objections or does the prospect have other objections and doesn’t want to show their hand?

In reality, prospective clients are not about to meet with you unless they have an issue to begin with. And after spending 30 minutes with you, many will be coy about their apprehensions and unwilling to break their inertia. That’s only natural.

For example, suppose you are searching for a divorce lawyer. How do you know if this attorney is any good? It's not like purchasing a car where you can look at their ratings from JD Power and Consumer Reports. It's not a restaurant where you can check their reviews on Yelp. It’s not a movie or play with critics grading it.

Since professional services are intangible, the prospect is most likely probing for assurance to offset their natural skepticism.

"More expensive than I thought"

Clearly, the price is going to be top of mind because it involves financial risk. If your services were free, they would sign up on the spot. So, if you read between the lines, the price objection is usually a “value” objection. They are questioning the value of your services versus the out-of-pocket costs.

For example, if you are pitching accounting services and they manage their bookkeeping on QuickBooks, many will challenge why they need an accountant since they are already doing this function in-house. Their real question is “what incremental value will you provide above and beyond our in-house bookkeeping work?”

"I have to think about this"

This objection is really coy because it doesn’t reveal their issue. Don’t take it literally. It may mean, “Can your firm do the job?” It may be pure inertia and they are too lazy to fire their existing provider (e.g., path of least resistance). Or, it may mean they are more comfortable with the devil they already work with than the devil they don’t know.

To address this objection, you have to peel the onion more and fire off a probing question, so you can attempt to address their issue.

Prospects raise objections to make a more informed decision. Because your services are intangible, it’s very difficult for them to truly judge how good you are. Fortunately, most of these objections can be anticipated like a job interview and you should have answers to navigate the majority of them before you walk in.