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Selling effectively has never been easy, regardless of what you sell. In B2B sales, both buying and selling have become more complex and more complicated. Buyers are trying to decide without speaking with salespeople, and they struggle to build consensus among their teams.

Most sales organizations and their sales professionals have not been taught, trained, or developed to succeed in consultative B2B sales. Without studying, strategizing, and practicing addressing the common sales challenges, they are not prepared to succeed in sales.

What follows here are 8 common sales challenges sales teams encounter when pursuing potential customers with practical, tactical sales strategies.

1. How to Handle Price Objections

Once you hear a price objection, it is often too late to do anything about it. Here is a common sales scenario: The salesperson never mentioned the investment the client would need to make to solve their problem. Building the value of their solution, they hoped it would be enough to win over their buyers and decision-makers. After handing off their proposal with an assumptive close, their sales champion responds, explaining their price was the highest.

To solve this common sales challenge, you need to be proactive. By telling your contacts your price will be higher, you inform them of this fact long before they receive your final proposal. This gives you the entire B2B sales process to justify the higher price point. By sharing the greater investment your company makes and how that improves results, you are better positioned to address a price objection.

2. Dealing with Difficult Customers

It is always a challenge facing a difficult customer. In my years selling, I have had more than my fair share of difficult personalities. I documented two in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative. One difficult customer cost me $6,000,000 in annual revenue.

Nothing here is easy, but the first strategy is to remain calm and stoic, no matter what your difficult customer says. Let your contact vent while you take notes on the source of their grouchiness. If you have caused a problem for a difficult customer, apologize, and explain how you will resolve it. Also, explain how you will prevent the problem from recurring.

Remember your difficult contact is already angry and grouchy for reasons that concern you. If you have done nothing to harm your difficult customer, let them speak until they run out of words. Then ask your difficult customer "How can I help you make this better?”

3. Convincing a Prospect to Switch from a Competitor

This is the sales challenge I have experienced often. In the industry I spent the most time selling in, I had to displace my competitor. I lived in the red ocean. There is little sales enablement there, which is why I wrote Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition.

Displacing your competitor and winning your dream client is a long-term project. Your contacts will tell you they are happy with their existing provider, even if it isn’t true. The first thing you need to do is to identify contacts with complaints about your competitor. My experience is a case study in finding the people with the pain points left unaddressed.

By learning about your lower-level contact’s complaints and what they need, you can build consensus. Having established that things need to change, you create a sense of urgency and help your contacts suggest a conversation with leadership.

4. Overcoming Objections Related to Product or Service Quality

You are sitting across from your somewhat skeptical decision maker, when she says, “You don’t offer feature X.” If you sell software as a service (SAAS), you’ll find this helpful. You need a good strategy and talk tracks that turn this objection around.

Without blinking, you say, "We came very close to offering that feature, but while we were working on it, we had a breakthrough. This breakthrough allowed us to move to a very different approach. This has helped the companies we work with to produce better results in less time with an easier process.

Would it be okay to share what we do instead and why we do it this way? We’ll have to decide together if this would work for you. If it does, you’ll get a better result faster and with a lower overall cost." This can help you close more deals.


5. Persuading a Prospect to Make a Larger Purchase

Some sales organizations' offerings allow them to upsell their clients to create even greater value. This strategy also allows the sales organization to increase revenue in B2B sales. The sales challenge here is asking for a larger investment. Your major strategy in an upsell is bundling a second product or service, improving your core offering.

To do this you need to focus on the reduction in the total cost of ownership and how it improves results. You can build urgency by explaining that the offer is time bound or by offering a discount to sweeten the offer.

6. Handling Objections Related to Timing or Urgency

The first thing you need to know about modern sales approaches is that we treat objections differently. Instead of addressing the objection, we address the real concern. After spending time with your decision maker, they say: "I am happy with the way things are now.” How should you respond to this sales challenge?

Here is a first try for a client not ready to buy: “If we can manage the change—and make it as painless as possible—would you give me an opportunity to show you how things can be even better? I believe you can be even happier, especially if we can reduce your costs and give your team their time back.” 

Here is a second option: “Is it better to make this change on a timeline of your choosing than to be forced to make this change when it will harm your business?”

7. Convincing a Prospect to Commit to a Long-Term Contract

There are two kinds of salespeople in B2B sales. The first type wants to win a client’s order, a short-term win that will have them competing again. The second type sells to win the client’s business, eliminating the need to compete for orders.

One company I know never asked for long-term contracts, mostly because short-term contracts are customary in their industry. To grow their revenue, they asked their clients for long-term contracts and commitments. The strategy aims to lower the client’s total cost of ownership while ensuring they are a priority for your company. To pursue this strategy, you need to detail your commitment and ask for a matching commitment.

In one of my businesses, I have contracts that have been in place for 20 years. To acquire long-term contracts you need to build relationships and trust with your contacts. This approach is easier to execute if you have proven you are the right partner.

8. Negotiating with a Prospect for Better Terms or Pricing

Effective selling in B2B sales provides exactly two choices when negotiating with a client. The first choice is to say “No,” and the second choice is to say “Yes,” while asking for something of equal or greater value.

Most salespeople negotiate the client’s requests with their sales manager instead of negotiating with the client. You need a handful of concessions you can provide, including what you need to ask for in return. Success in overcoming this objection requires you to be proactive.

The High Cost of Sales Challenges

Salespeople who are not professionally trained to address the sales challenges they experience every day lose deals they might have won if they had had the sales strategies and effective language choices. These and other strategies will help you and your sales force close more deals and accelerate revenue growth. By practicing and role-playing these scenarios, you can increase your team’s sales effectiveness.

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 26, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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