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4 Proven Steps to Overcoming Client Objections

By Michael Zipursky

Objections from buyers of consulting services are commonplace.

Yet most consultants find themselves shutting tight like a clam and hoping they don’t encounter a buyer’s objection.

That’s a bad move and won’t get you anywhere.

In fact, if you want to win more consulting business you’ll want to do the exact opposite.

You’ll want to be prepared to deal with objections. Learn how to respond and handle them so you can turn a ‘no’ equivalent into a resounding “Yes.”

In this article I’m going to share with you and together explore four of the most common client objections.

Client Objection #1


One of the most common objections consultants hear is “We don’t have the budget allocated for this.”

When a consulting client or buyer says this don’t accept it and end the conversation.

Prepare to ask the buyer questions and explore the situation with them.

Every company, unless they are deep into bankruptcy has costs. They are spending money.

The question isn’t if they have the budget. The question is, will they direct that money towards and invest it in and with you?

1) Redirect the budget – The first recommendation I have for you is to redirect the budget. Our role as consultants is to demonstrate to buyers that they will be better investing with us. Show them that they will receive greater value and ROI with you than they will by investing in other areas. When you do this effectively they will want to redirect their budget from other areas to invest it in your services.

That doesn’t mean you give up. Instead, ask your buyer the right questions.

2) Where is the budget going? – In order for the buyer to redirect the budget you’ll need more information. Find out where their current budget is going? Where are they spending the money? Can you show them how to direct their budget in a more effective manner? If you can, they’ll often move their budget to you.

3) Is it a priority? – If your offer isn’t a priority for the buyer there’s little reason for them to take action on it now. Probe to find out what their current priorities are. Do they make sense? Is your offer going to solve their biggest problem? Will it help them achieve a result that they see as a priority? If yes, make sure you communicate that to them. If it doesn’t, and they are already focused on the right priorities, encourage them to keep taking action on that. You can always work with them at a later stage.

*IMPORTANT: As consultants we should always guide our clients in the right direction. If they are already doing great don’t make up false reasons why they should buy from you. Even if you have to recommend they don’t buy from you it’s MUCH better than misleading them. We are here to serve our clients and to help them achieve greater results.

4) Show value – Even though a consulting buyer may not think they have enough budget to hire you, they often do. Focus on the value they will receive. The ROI they will achieve and how your work with them will put them in a better place. When you know how to communicate value the right way you’ll find that buyers rarely have an issue with your price. They are much more likely to open up their budget because the value gives them a clear reason to do so and move forward.

Objection #2


The second common objection is “We’re in cutback mode and can’t spend this amount of money without special approval.”

When you hear this from a prospective client they are most likely going through some type of austerity program. They have a mandate to keep expenses to a minimum and not make any large investments.

That doesn’t mean you give up. Instead, ask your buyer the right questions.

1) What’s involved – Start by finding out what’s involved in getting the special approval needed. If the buyer wants to move the project forward you can help them do so. Together you can brainstorm and find ways to support the buyer. So they can be the champion of it and ultimately push it through.

Show them how investing and moving forward makes more sense than cutting all investments.

2) Ask who – Who is the person who can give approval? Are you speaking with the real buyer? If they don’t have the authority to give the approval, who does? Should you be speaking with that person instead? You want to avoid only speaking with people that can give you an objection. Find the person that can also say “Yes” to you.

In some situations, often in public companies or government organizations, board or committee approval will be required. In that case, you are likely speaking with the real buyer in the CEO. However, you can support them and help them to present to the board and win their approval.

3) Demonstrate value – Another way to overcome this objection is to demonstrate how spending and investing in the area you are proposing will put the buyer in a better place.

For example, while everyone in their industry may be cutting back on their marketing or technology investments. If your buyer continues to make investments they’ll be ahead of the competition. Show them how investing and moving forward makes more sense than cutting all investments.

Objection #3

More-Than-AnticipatingThe third objection to overcome is one of the most common ones. You’ve likely heard a prospective client say “That sounds like a great approach, but it’s more than we were anticipating on spending.”

Sound familiar?

The knee jerk reaction for many consultants is to hit the panic button. They automatically default to discount mode.

1) It’s not about price – Here’s the thing, providing discounts to a buyer isn’t the solution. Offering a lower price isn’t going to help them or you.

I want you to remember that decisions buyers make aren’t based on price. They’re based on value.

2) Communicate value – Your job is to communicate greater value to the buyer.

If the buyer can’t see the value that you’ll deliver they will only focus on price.

I teach my coaching clients 15 specific questions they can ask buyers that allow them to identify the real value and then communicate that value back to the buyer.

The result is that they maintain control of the conversation with the buyer. And they are able to earn significantly higher fees.

If you’re interested in learning how to do this, get in touch here.

3) Focus on ROI – You must demonstrate that your client will receive a significant ROI. If that isn’t clear to them, if they don’t see how you can deliver the result they want, they won’t move forward with you.

There are several other strategies that you can use to deal with this objection. For example, you can provide your buyer with different pricing options that allow them to find the right level of investment to fit their budget. It’s important that each pricing level still provides value to the buyer and significant compensation for you.

Anthony Iannarino has a great suggestion on dealing with clients that say “Your price is higher than your competitors.”

He suggests that what the client is really asking is “I don’t perceive the value and you haven’t differentiated that value.”

Remind them that it’s clear that if what they are currently doing isn’t working, doing more of the same won’t help, right?

And here’s his recommendation: “If you are creating more value than your competitors, you need to be able to help your dream client perceive that value. If they don’t perceive the value, it’s likely you have not differentiated your offering from your competitor’s.”

Objection #4

Not-Best-TimeI’ve had clients laugh when I respond to this objection. Why?

Because they realize it’s (almost always) a phony objection.

Ever had a buyer say “This sounds great, but now is not the best time?”

As soon as a buyer says that you can respond with “So when is the best time?”

Most buyers won’t have a good answer. They’ll backtrack, start mumbling and come up with some creative answer.

They respond this way because they are scared. They know that they want help, but they aren’t comfortable to make the commitment and take action.

1) Overcome fear – Your job as the consultant is to help them get over that fear. To show them that pushing past comfort into the new zone of the uncomfortable is where the greatest results are achieved.

Remind them that it’s clear that if what they are currently doing isn’t working, doing more of the same won’t help, right?

The reality is that waiting for the perfect time doesn’t make sense. Because there is no perfect time.

2) Find the reason – Your job is to find out from the buyer what their reason is for wanting to wait? If they have a genuine reason to wait, that’s great. But if they don’t, then you have a responsibility to make sure they know that taking action is in their best interest.

3) Waiting has a cost – It really does. I’ll explain. Take yourself as an example. Have you been thinking about growing your business? Have you started to think about ways that you can do that? Maybe it’s attending a seminar, investing in a high-end course, or finding a coach or mentor that can help you to reach your goals faster than you can by yourself.

Now ask yourself why haven’t you taken action on that?

What’s really been holding you back?

Next let’s explore the cost of you waiting to take that action…

Let’s say that your business is currently making $10,000 month ($120,000 a year). Your goal is to increase your income by another $5,000 a month (taking you to $15k a month).

Every month that you don’t make that investment to learn the skills and strategies to earn that extra $5,000 a month means you’re leaving at least $5,000 on the table. That means if you wait one year to make a decision you’re losing $60,000. Ouch!

Do you see how there is a cost to waiting and not taking action?

This is the type of approach you can use with your prospective clients.

Show them how waiting, delaying, overthinking isn’t going to serve them. It’s most likely only going to hurt them.

Here’s the Deal…

Overcoming objections from consulting clients is part of the business.

You have two choices:

Option 1) You can hope that prospective clients won’t have objections. And when they do you can back away or try to win the project by discounting your fee. This is the approach of the novice consultant. It’s not effective and it doesn’t serve you or the buyer.

The buyer will end up receiving less value and you’ll end up with much lower project fees. This is not the approach I recommend if you want to build a thriving consulting business.

Option 2) You can be prepared to deal with and overcome common objections. I’ve shared four common objections in this article. There are many more and it’s important that you know how to handle all of them. When you do, you’ll remain in control.

When a buyer has an objection you won’t back away. Rather you’ll engage them. Your confidence will shine. You’ll keep the conversation open. You’ll ask the right questions.

Your buyer will see you as a true professional. A trusted advisor that they respect and trust.

You’ll be able to earn higher fees and win more projects.

Which of these two approaches do you choose?

The choice is yours. Do you want to be a novice at handling sales conversations and overcoming objections? Or do you want to handle them like a professional?

If you’d like to learn how to overcome client objections with confidence, land more clients consistently and the process to communicate greater value so you can earn higher fees get in touch. I have a few spots open in my marketing and sales for consultants coaching program. If you’re ready to take action and start attracting more clients with a proven system and process this may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

5 thoughts on “4 Proven Steps to Overcoming Client Objections

  1. Doc Reiss says:

    Also remember that an objection gives you insight as to where the client is, a chance to learn more. An effective way to do this is to repeat the objection back as a question. “Your price is more than what we expected” comes back as a question from you and then they have to explain. “We won’t have that kind of funding allocation for another month,” may be the answer you get. Welcome objections. They’ll help you make the sale.

    • Completely agree. It’s all part of the conversation and the consultant should always ask more questions to get clarity and see how to best proceed. Thanks for the comment Doc!

  2. Doc Reiss says:

    Great article.

  3. Nuel Effiong says:

    but what happens if the clients objections are true?

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