Guiding a prospect through the sales process is always tricky. No matter how many tactics you've implemented to increase your conversion rate, it seems that new sales team members, in particular, are often caught off guard when a lead presents a tough objection.

If you don't know how to respond, such objections could completely derail the sales process. But the thing is, buyer objections are the norm no matter what you're trying to sell. Those who understand how to deal with these objections appropriately are quite often the ones who close the most sales.

Plan ahead

Having a "Plan B" has saved many startups over the years -- and it can also save your sale. While there may seem to be a never-ending list of potential objections prospects could come up with, most fall under a few key categories.

They may have concerns over your pricing. Or they may not feel ready to work with you -- sometimes because they are satisfied with the status quo. They might doubt your trustworthiness, quality, or capabilities. 

Sometimes, they might just be afraid of change.

Consider the objections you are most likely to receive during the sales process, and develop neutral recommendations that will help you find the right solution for the customer. Practicing these scenarios in advance will keep you from getting thrown for a loop when they do come up.

You may also wish to keep track of the objections that occur most frequently in your sales process. Focusing your research and practice in this area will help you achieve greater success over time.

Really, truly listen

Are you listening to what your prospects are saying when they make an objection? Or just planning what you will say next?

This is one area where salespeople often fall short -- in fact, while surveys find that as many as 95 percent of people feel that salespeople talk too much, 74 percent say they would be more likely to buy when the salesperson truly listens to them.

I recently discussed this topic with Jeremy Miner, CEO of 7th Level. His company's model of neuro-emotional persuasion questioning has helped countless companies increase their sales, some by triple digits.

He noted that when a prospect gives an objection, salespeople often dive into "objection-handling mode." They try to overcome objections with facts and logic. Instead, Miner suggests salespeople ask questions -- the answers to which allow prospects to clarify underlying concerns. A "problem-finder" mindset helps prospects overcome objections in their own mind, rather than the salesperson using rebuttals that trigger even more buying resistance.

Asking follow-up questions that allow the prospect to express themselves, or reframing the problem yourself, will help you avoid proposing inadequate solutions. With a better understanding of the root cause of the objection, you will know how to approach the issue appropriately.

Don't feel like you need to resolve concerns immediately

In a perfect world, you would be able to resolve every potential objection in the moment. But sometimes you may not have all the information you need to solve an objection right away.

Before you hang up the phone, devise a clear action plan with your prospect regarding your next steps. Maybe you need to look up some information that isn't currently available. Maybe they need to discuss certain issues with a supervisor.

Either way, make sure that the next steps are clearly laid out -- including a timeline for when you will contact them again to fully resolve the objection.

Invesp reports that 80 percent of successful sales require five follow-up calls. Telling someone that you'll have to get back to them later with more information to resolve their concern isn't a failure.

Instead, it's an opportunity to show that you stick to your word and follow through when you make a promise. Going the distance to address their needs demonstrates the type of service commitment that many prospects are looking for. 

Your responsiveness could prove just as influential in their final decision to do business with you as the response itself.

There's no need to fear if you're prepared

HubSpot reports that 36 percent of salespeople say that closing is the toughest part of their job. You won't always be able to resolve prospect objections in a way that gets them to buy from you. No one will achieve a 100 percent success rate.

However, as you practice these basic principles throughout your sales process, you will be better prepared to alleviate even the toughest of objections, showing leads that you truly understand them and their needs. More sales are sure to follow.