If you’re having sales calls and submitting proposals in your freelance business, you are going to get objections. There are multiple reasons why people make objections. Whatever the reason for objecting, there are five steps to handle objections and close more sales. 

First step to handle objections is to de-escalate the emotion. 

It can take a lot of courage for someone to speak up about their objection or to be able to say no to you. There can be a lot of emotion – anxiety, worry, defensiveness, embarrassment, fear, etc. 

When people are in an elevated emotional state they are unable to think clearly or process new information as easily. 

So the first thing you want to do is de-escalate the emotions.

Handling objections by listening with empathyMy favorite way of de-escalating is to acknowledge exactly what the person has said and let them know that they have been truly heard. 

So for example, when someone says, “I don’t really think I can afford it”, the first thing in handling that money objection is to meet them where they’re at.

You might say something like, “I hear you. It sounds like you don’t think you can afford it right now.”

It sounds simple. But if you skip this step and go right into trying to justify your price or offering funding options or asking questions about their financial situation….you may end up with more resistance and maybe even resentment.  

Step two to handle objections – reconnect.

Before you try to handle the objections, you want to reconnect with them as someone who is on their side and who wants the best for them. Sometimes this means reconnecting them back to why it’s important for them to make a decision and why the outcome will be worth it for them. 

This might be just a really quick little reflection back of some of the key things that they said they wanted. 

For example, “Yeah, I hear you. It sounds like maybe you can’t afford it right now. I know that it’s important to you to be able to have images that truly represent who you are authentically and help you connect to the kinds of clients that you love.”

Isolate before you handle objections. 

Often what happens is we get so wrapped up in our own emotional response to them making an objection and feel pressure to handle that objection immediately.

Before you handle any objection, you want to make sure that it’s the only objection. 

Because sometimes, and especially if they’re just trying to have some control, or they’re avoiding making a decision, or they’re not really connected to the value… they’re going to just come up with more and more objections. 

Once you handle one objection about…. let’s say money, then they’re going to say they don’t think they have the time. Or they don’t have the energy. Or Thursdays aren’t going to work. Or, I need to get a haircut first. It can just start to snowball. 

If nothing else, do this step, which is to isolate and to make sure that this is the only objection.

How I do this is I say something like… “Other than trying to figure out how you might afford it, is there any other reason why you would not go forward with this project?”

Ask if there is anything else that would stop them from moving forward from this project and keep doing that until they say no.

Sometimes when you ask if there is anything else, they say yes. And then you do the same thing. 

You de-escalate, you acknowledge that you’ve heard them, you reconnect, and then you ask again.

Is there anything else that might stop you from moving forward? 

Reconnect before you handle the objectionOnce you have cleared the air and you have all of their objections in front of you, then you can choose the one that you feel is going to be the biggest one to unravel or the biggest one that is blocking them. And it may not be the first objection that they shared. It may be the second or third objection that they shared. 

This is a little bit following your intuition, a little bit of experience, and a whole lot about really listening in your sales call so that you can connect to the emotions and the feelings. When you can see that there is a little bit extra emotion, that’s where you want to go first.

Always ask permission to guide through an objection. 

Especially if you are handling an objection around money. Once you’ve de-escalated, you’ve reconnected, and you’ve isolated… you might say something like, “Can we have an honest conversation about money?” or “Would it be okay if we had an honest conversation about how you might be able to afford this?”

Get permission before you start digging deep and finding a solution for them

99 times out of a hundred they’re going to say yes, we can. Sometimes they’re going to say no. Every time, they’re going to feel grateful that you asked permission. 

There are all kinds of ways of guiding them through finding a solution for the finances.

Sometimes you can adjust your revenue collection and take instalment payments. Sometimes you can defer payment until a certain phase. Sometimes you can find ways to break up the project into smaller bite sized pieces. 

There’s all different kinds of solutions that you can help people find. 

Step 5 in handling objections is asking for the sale again.

Finally, and most importantly, once you have actually handled the objection and you’ve guided them to a different perspective or a new way of seeing their challenge, you need to ask for the sale again.

That’s right. You must ask them again if they’re ready to move forward with this project. 

Those five steps are:

  1. De-escalate
  2. Reconnect
  3. Isolate
  4. Guide
  5. Ask Again

If you’ve done a really good job in your sales conversation, handling objections can be easy and it can actually be a really great active service between you and your future clients.