You've probably been in this situation before. You're in a session with a prospective customer and things are going well. They're clearly excited about your technology and services and the deal is as good as won. But then something inexplicable happens.
The meeting ends, you shake hands (or bump elbows), and never hear from them again. What happened?
You just encountered the unspoken objection. Throughout the course of a sale, prospects will have several objections they raise, which you can easily handle. It's the unspoken objections that can kill a deal.
The tricky thing about unspoken objections is that you don't know which ones you're facing from client to client — if you're facing any at all. But there are ways you can neutralize these roadblocks and win the deal, if you're prepared for it.
Let's look at three of the most common unspoken objections HCM solution providers face, and how to overcome each one.
Objection 1: You Need a Partner to Overcome "Gaps" in Your Solution
Many prospects don't realize how unique they are — whether it's their industry, their business rules, or their pay policies. They think other organizations must be doing payroll just like they do, so there must be an all-in-one HCM system that can do it all for them.
When they hear that you want to bring in a partner to meet their needs, they expect the next company on their list will have a full-package product. They don't raise the objection during a sales call, because it's just easier to move on to the next sales rep in line.
You can resolve this friction point by turning your partner network into a strength.
Bringing in a partner is perceived as a weakness, a drawback to your HCM solution — but only if you let it. The fact is, leveraging a partner's capabilities to complement your offering can be a great strength, and world-class systems do it all the time.
Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and others have been relying on partners for years in their own ecosystems. Historically, the HCM industry has prided itself on being an all-in-one suite of functionality. Today it's on par with others, but many sales reps still worry that bringing on partners implies a limitation of their system.
That fear turns your strength into a weakness, and it keeps you from selling your strength as a strength to your customers.
The reality is, you can use partnerships as an advantage to get what the client truly wants. Early on, show your HCM prospects how your partnerships are a strength by enabling you to tailor a solution that exactly fits what your client is looking for.
Objection 2: We've Been Burned Before
In some cases, you're talking with a company that's been sold a promise that was never delivered. Another HCM sales rep assured the customer that their HCM solution would meet their needs, but important aspects of their ERP and payroll systems were never integrated.
Now, they doubt that any HCM system can meet their needs.
This is especially prevalent in certain industries with complex payroll policies, business rules, and union requirements. Many construction and manufacturing companies are once bitten, twice shy. They don't want to go through that again — even if it was a completely different vendor, or a decade ago.
But new technologies exist that can fully meet the needs of construction and manufacturing clients. You can win their confidence by understanding the particular needs and frustrations of their industry.
Ask about your prospects' own experiences with other HCM vendors. What worked and what didn't? Learn about the following industry business and compliance issues across different industries like common construction topics below:
- Job costing
- Certified payroll reports
- Fringe benefits
- Prevailing wage
- Union rates and rules
Expand your expertise so that you can lead the discussion into these areas of friction, where you already have the answers.
Objection 3: You Cost Too Much
Pricing is a common objection that most sales reps are aware of, but sometimes it remains unspoken, until the very end of the sales process. At that point, it's almost always too late to change the prospect's mind. You may as well write off the deal, or start offering big discounts.
Many sales reps avoid selling their suite of time, payroll, and HR solutions to non-profit organizations for this reason. But some of our partner sales reps have discovered how to win $50K - $60K deals with non-profits.
Traditionally, non-profits treat HCM providers as commodity vendors. But if you can provide something that adds tremendous value from a workflow perspective, they will usually be open to spending money on a solution that creates more opportunities for them. Earn credibility that you want to help them improve their organization so they can focus more on their mission, and they'll loosen the purse strings.
Another effective approach is to present yourself as a specialist rather than a vendor. When you can address the unique needs of a narrowly defined targeted market, you increase your product's value. Companies are eager to do business with a specialist who thoroughly understands them and their unique needs, even if you don't offer the lowest price.
Make It Easy to Voice Objections
Whether it's these objections or other unspoken friction points, you can overcome them by steering discussions towards them early on in the sales process. Be cognizant of potential friction points — by industry and by client — and get ahead of them.
Ask as many open-ended questions as you can to work towards some possible objections. For example, when talking with a construction company, ask about job costing and how they do it today. Simply bringing it up will put your company in a different position than your competitors.
Throughout the sales process, ask questions that invite objections, such as:
- What are you thinking about all this?
- What haven't I addressed?
- Are there any gaps that I haven't solved for you yet?
- What issues do you expect to have with this solution?
- Have you been frustrated with similar solutions in the past?
IDI Helps You Win the Deal
IDI has a team that has worked in this industry for decades to support and coach our partners through tough friction points. The IDI Resource Center is an invaluable online knowledge base that isn't just an IDI commercial. It gives you useful playbooks and explains industry terms.
Handpicked related content: IDI's New Resource Center Is Making Waves - Here's Why
Become more proficient and more comfortable having these types of discussions. Check out the Resource Center and get better equipped to win your toughest client.