Sales Objection Handling in Retail: 5 Common Sales Objections and Why They Matter


Business owners and retail sales associates have to deal with a lot of “no”s. And for those that sell higher-end products, you’re likely even more familiar with rejection. While some of this is unavoidable and your thick skin has likely become accustomed to it, there are some ways to improve your sales objection handling and increase your conversions rates.

Now, you want to be careful not to be too pushy. Reviewing common sales objections is not a green light to harangue shoppers until they feel pressured into making a purchase. Instead, use it as a guideline for recognizing reactions and knowing how to alleviate concerns. The goal of retail sales should never be to coerce someone into making a purchase they don’t want to make, but rather to show them that their life will be improved with your product.

What Is Sales Objection Handling?

Shoppers will inevitably say no to making certain purchases. After all, if a customer didn’t have some reservations about buying an item, they would have done so already. Whether it’s the price, value, need, or anything else, there’s something holding them back from completing a purchase.

Objection handling the process of alleviating concerns from a potential buyer. There are many different scenarios that can prevent a shopper from completing a purchase. And with each of these scenarios, there’s a way that salespeople can handle each unique objection.

Inexperienced salespeople end up arguing with shoppers, but this is never the best way to handle buyer objections. It’s important to avoid telling anyone they’re wrong but rather guide them toward making a different decision.

Why Is Objection Handling in Retail So Important?

Well, simply put, it will increase your sales. Nothing is more costly to your business than letting a potential sale slip through the cracks. 

It’s important to remember that objections from your shoppers aren’t bad. They’re telling you that they’re interested in making a purchase but just need to be convinced that they need it. It also provides you with an opportunity to discuss products with them and build a rapport that will keep them coming back in the future.

And handling objections is critical no matter what you’re selling, however big or small your average ticket prices are.

What Are Steps to Take to Overcome Retail Sales Objections?

It’s critical that your retail sales team respond well to all shopper sales objections. As we mentioned already, it will increase your sales, but it will also build a stronger customer base down the road.

Anticipate common objections

This comes with experience, of course. But the most effective strategy to handle objections is to already know what they’re going to say. It gives the seller confidence and a quick response will offer the buyer more confidence.

Listen well

Stay active when a customer is sharing their concerns. Avoid interrupting them or getting defensive, but keep it very clear that you’re intently listening and understanding what they’re saying.

Be very clear

Part of active listening is repeating back what you hear to ensure that there is no confusion. Feel free to ask clarifying questions and make them feel valued.

Understand their concerns

Don’t act like they’re crazy for having a few concerns about the purchase. Do the opposite – show them that you’re paying close attention and have a legitimate concern about where they’re coming from. The more you show you understand, the more they’ll be convinced of your solution.

Ask questions

Keep the conversation flowing by asking the right questions and staying engaged with them. Try to avoid simple yes or no questions, but instead, leave room for them to continue explaining their concerns.

Provide case studies

Use anecdotes or shopper reviews from past clients who might have had the same concerns as the current shopper.

What Are Some of the Most Common Sales Objections?

There are plenty of different reasons that any consumer might have reservations about a certain product, but there are a handful that retailers see come up time and again. Preparing your team to deal with these will lead to more success in dealing with them down the road.

1. “The price is too high”

This one will undoubtedly be the most common, no matter the price point of your products. Either way, the first thing to identify is if the item is simply out of their budget or if they just don’t know if the value of the item is worth it.

If it’s the former, focus more on the product’s utility, particularly if it’s an item that will save them money down the road. Or discuss its durability, helping them avoid having to make a similar purchase in the future. 

If it’s more that they’re concerned about the product’s value, you should have some talking points ready about how it will improve their life.

2. “I saw it cheaper somewhere else”

Usually, this objection is part of the showrooming phenomenon in retail. Shoppers browse for products in-store but finalize the purchase at an eCommerce shop. To be sure, this is a major problem for retailers, but there are a few ways to remind them that in-store shopping is more beneficial:

  • Shipping costs might make it more expensive.
  • You’ll have to wait to receive the product
  • Avoid shipping damage or inaccurate product descriptions
  • Support small businesses instead of big box retailers
  • You’ll provide a warranty or customer support

3. “I need to talk to _____ first”

For bigger purchases, shoppers might well have to run it by their partner, parents, workplace, etc. First, determine what the possible objections from the other parties involved might be. Even though the other person may not be present, you can handle the objection as if they were.

4. “I need to think about it more”

This is another very common one. Your first reaction should always be understanding. You don’t want to stress them out or pressure them in any way. Instead, put them at ease and make them feel comfortable. 

If they still express interest you can ask them to bring up other specific concerns or find ways to subtly convince them to rethink the purchase. 

If the item is in strong demand or on a temporary sale, remind them that it may not be available should they change their mind in a few days. Creating a sense of urgency always helps without running the risk of sounding pushy.

5. “I don’t actually need it”

While we don’t need to encourage more waste by convincing people to buy items they don’t need, hopefully your product is one that is broadly beneficial.

Start by demonstrating how they’ll feel by owning the product. If you’re selling something that good it should be easy so long as the customer can imagine what life will be like should they own it. Tell stories of past shoppers and your own experience with the product. 

If possible, allow shoppers to try it out before making a purchase. Free trials, demo products, or samples go a long way. It gives customers a hands-on experience with the item and allows them to better imagine themselves with the product than any description could.


About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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