“No, not interested.”
“I did not sign up for this.”
“I already have a cheaper vendor.”
“I’ll speak to the management and get back to you if we’re interested.”
“Please remove me from your list.”
*beep beep, dead dial tone*
Cold calling is one of the most challenging tasks that a sales representative has to face daily. It's a difficult and anxiety-provoking process. Even the most talented and skilled salespeople can become discouraged by a seemingly endless stream of objections following each call.
So then, what is a salesperson to do?
Let’s find out.
What are sales objections?
An objection is anything that prevents your prospect from saying yes to you right away.
But don’t let that deter you. As Chris Voss, top FBI negotiator says, “A ‘no’ is where the negotiation starts.”
Because when a prospect throws objections like “your product doesn’t fit our organizational needs” or “we’ve tried similar products with very little success”, they are actually throwing the ball in your court. Then, you’ll know that you need to persuade your lead; in this case, by listing your product’s features and USP that solves their organizational bottlenecks.
A sales objection is inevitable unless we live in an ideal world where sellers and buyers come together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. So, let’s have a look at the brighter side and see how objections are way better than a plain “NO!” and how they give you more area to play, sell, and close.
“An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.” – Bo Bennett
Learning to love objections
An objection brings you to a point in the sales process where your prospect has given you his challenge (an existing vendor, or a lower budget, for example), and you have an opportunity to capitalize on it. This is always better than a refusal, which often begins and ends with a flat ‘no’.
May the sales Gods always bless you with more objections your way than a refusal.
Tips and tricks for objection handling
Welcome to the objection session.
Check-in time: Now
Check-out time: Whenever you become a smooth objection-handler
You’ll get there; here are a few tricks that have proven to pay off:
Anticipate objections: Psych!
Sales objections are inevitable, so it’s best to anticipate and work around them. If you are a seasoned salesman or just a beginner who has pitched a few times, you must know the common objections your leads throw at you. If not, you can listen to your pre-recorded sales calls with tools like Wingman to get those insights. Then, map out an objection-anticipation strategy:
- Make a list of objections you hear quite often.
- Look at how you have been dealing with them, what worked, and what never does.
- Think of the ways you would’ve approached a lost deal differently (retrospecting can channel a lot of useful ideas).
- Use this analysis to predict similar objections and keep your script ready to handle them.
Wear calm as your color
Listen → Empathize → Respond (calmly)
When your prospect objects while you’re pitching, you might often take it personally or give up too soon. However, that’s just the opposite of what you need to do.
When top sales performers face an objection, they respond to it at a calm pace of 176 wpm. However, a flustered sales rep speeds up to 188 wpm, and of course, things down that path are definitely not hunky-dory.
Here’s a cold calling script to tackle this:
“The price of your product is too high.”
A calm empathy-borne reply:
“Oh, I understand since you’re looking to cut costs, you can think that our product price might be an issue. But would you allow me to explain how our product will actually help you save costs across three of your business verticals?”
This will give your lead an impression that you want to understand what their problem is, and they might open up to you. Try to phrase your reply in a way that brings out your value proposition as well as addresses your lead’s concern. It will even help you clear the smoke screens and dig deeper to find the real objection that your lead isn’t saying out loud.
Understand the purpose of the objection
Different leads object in as many different ways. Upon hearing an objection, your goal should be to dig deeper into the conversation with them.
This scenario of a sales cold call could help you understand it better:
Prospect: “Your product doesn’t fit our organizational needs.”
Sales rep: “Oh, can you help me understand what business factor you are the most concerned about?”
Prospect: “Actually, we are a distributed business and have a lot of employees and clients; we need a suitable networking solution.”
Sales rep: “Can you help me understand how many users will be using our network? Because we can definitely sustain more than XYZ users.”
In this way, you are coming closer to the actual problem of your lead, which can help you build rapport, drive better negotiation, and ultimately close the deal.
Find common ground: Keep the relatability high!
Only 13% of the customers believe that a salesperson can understand their needs; the rest just think of the reps as salespeople trying to push their own agenda. Keep your tone of voice understanding and empathetic, listen to everything they are saying carefully, and see what string you can pick to find common ground.
Talk less, and ask more questions to gather more information about what interests them. Do not hold back from talking about your prospect’s interests if you are able to finally gauge them - it can be sports, fashion, games, travel, anything!
Once your lead feels connected with you, you can use that common ground to have an effective sales pitch. Here, some light stalking on LinkedIn to gather some prior knowledge of their interests and hobbies might take you a long way.
Establish value of product: USP to the rescue!
Empathize, build friendly relationships, and keep your calm to make your lead feel valued, but remember, your product is your golden egg. Get an understanding of the specific organizational needs of your lead, align them with your product’s features and present your offerings positively.
Talk about your USP to make them realize how your product stands out to tackle the product-specific objections.
This is how you can lead with your product value proposition, based on the objection of your prospect:
“I understand that you already have these features in your existing product, but I am aware that your organization is opening up new offices in XYZ place, and our product’s XYZ feature can effectively help streamline your business expansion.”
Common objections and how to handle them
“I don’t have the budget”
Budget is the most common reason that stronger sales opportunities fall apart. If your lead is truly on a budget restriction then there’s not much you can do; in that case, you can simply flag them as a cold lead.
But, being a go-getter, if you want to dig in and flip the situation around, here’s a script that might help you tackle this sales objection:
Prospect: “I don’t have the budget for this. Moreover, our company is cutting down on costs.”
Sales rep: “Okay, I can see where you’re coming from, but can you tell me this: if pricing weren’t an issue, would you still have considered moving forward with us?”
Prospect: “Yes, well, your product does fit our requirements, so ideally, we would have liked to give it a shot, at least.”
Sales rep: “Well, since you mentioned your XYZ team is having a tough time dealing with the ABC, then our product will actually save costs for you.”
Giving your lead a look at the other side of the coin and presenting a more beneficial point of view can trigger the chain of thought you want.
“I already have a vendor”
If you expect this objection to come your way, it’s time for you to put on your detective hat and find cracks in the existing contract with their vendor. See what your product does better, and use that to rest your case.
There can be two main things you can leverage to engage your lead from here:
- Try to understand if your lead is satisfied with the pricing of their vendor and what they offer at that price. Playing in the same field, you should already have an in-depth knowledge of your competitors’ products and how it differs from yours.
- You need to possess extensive knowledge of your product and effectively deliver the value proposition to the lead. Keep a product comparison list ready to handle the objections in sales as they come.
Example cold-calling script:
Lead: “I already have a vendor.”
Prospect: “Oh, that’s good to know. XYZ is a great company. Some of our customers have used their product, and they have found that our product makes data integration much easier and enables you to access all your customers’ information from one place.”
Try to frame your reply in terms of what you will lose if they don’t purchase your product instead of what they’ll get if they do buy it. You know, people hate to lose good things coming their way!
“We’ll get back to you”
The call-back promises are really a way to get out of this conversation. The best way to tackle this objection is by getting onto their calendar.
Prospect: “We’ll think about it and get back to you.”
Now, at this point, you are losing the sale. Your next move should be to keep the call going.
Sales rep: “All right, although I appreciate you saying that, can you help me understand why you are saying that?”
Prospect: “Right now is not a good time due to XYZ reasons.”
Sales rep: “Ah, okay! Well, that’s absolutely fine. I can tell you more to understand how our product solves your XYZ needs and can actually save costs across departments. So, how about I schedule a meeting on your calendar so we can do that?”
Use your soft skills here to get that slot in their calendar booked. Moreover, if you face this objection, it means that your lead is experiencing some uncertainty about your solution. There must be a pain point that you haven’t been able to unravel yet, and that’s just where you want to lead the conversation. Try to dig into what’s stopping them from confronting the actual objection; get those smoke-screens down.
“Your competitor is cheaper/better”
A host of tools can tell you today what SaaS products the client is already using. Ideally, go armed with this information before the call, and have a comparison battlecard ready in your head.
Check out your competitors’ pricing beforehand, and explore what features they offer in what plan. Bring out your discount plan and establish your USP to win the deal.
Prospect: “We are already in business with your competitor, and their product is cheaper than yours.”
Sales rep: “Oh, ABC company does offer a great product. However, some of our customers have used their product and found that the XYZ feature is not available at that price. Our product plan offers that feature at just $X more. Our customers have saved $Y by leveraging this feature. Wouldn’t it drastically improve your operations if we could employ our product to do that for you?”
“I need to talk to management”
To handle this objection, you can request the prospect to schedule a call with their key stakeholder; it gives them an impression that you are confident and serious about doing business with them.
Prospect: “I need to check with my manager about it. Could you share this information with me over email, please?”
Sales rep: “Sure, I’ll send that information right over, and can I answer any of your questions before you take this discussion further with your team? Is there anything specific they would want to know about the product?”
Prospect: “I will need to get back to you after a discussion with them, but yes, our CEO is looking to keep this solution cost-effective, as we’re facing some budget constraints at the moment.”
Sales rep: “Sure, I would love to take you and your stakeholders through our pricing structure. If you buy it within X time period, we’re offering a seasonal discount of $Y. And it’d be great if you could connect me with your manager. Can you kindly schedule a quick call with them?”
“I don’t really need your solution”
Here, your research about the lead and their existing vendor can help you come up with effective responses to continue the conversation. If your product is a CRM solution, it can go like this:
“Oh, that is perfectly okay. Although, Stevie, if you are struggling with the automation features of your CRM, then I’d be happy to help whenever you’re in need of our solution. We offer special packages for company-wide subscriptions, and our automation algorithm has proven to deliver quick results for our customers.”
“I’ve never heard of you.”
This objection can arise from the buyer’s skepticism of your product and how long you have been in the market. And well, we all know, everyone has trust issues these days.
Always begin with a detailed introduction so that you come off as an established business and are not mistaken for a pushy he-who-has-no-name. Then, when faced with an objection of never being heard of, you can respond in this way.
Sales rep: “I understand why you’re saying that. Let me tell you about our company - we’re an award-winning B2B marketing software company that helps you automate your marketing efforts. G2 has called us a market leader and we rate higher than any other product in the same category. Using CRM and automation solutions, we’ve helped 2000+ clients streamline their marketing ops and drive ROI of $$xx.
You can only defeat this trust-based objection by telling them more about your business reach and what markets you have deeply dug your claws in. Give them a short summary of your value proposition and how your product solves the major bottlenecks of their domain.
“I’m not interested”
According to Crunchbase, 50% of salespeople feel they were trying to provide value to the prospect, but 84% of prospects felt the reps were being too pushy. This is often a reason your lead might raise this objection.
It’s always possible that your lead isn’t actually interested in your product, in which case, you should not be pushy, instead, you can lock this lead in a box to follow-up sometime in the future.
But don’t give in so easily; maybe you couldn’t explain your value proposition effectively, or there might be a smoke-screen due to pricing, or maybe the lead is just not ready to make a purchase.
Here’s an example cold calling script for handling this objection:
Prospect: “Our marketing division is doing well; we’re not interested in your product.”
Sales rep: “So, does that mean that you don’t want to save costs on your marketing efforts through our intelligent automation solution? I’m sure you could still put it to great use.”
Prospect: “Well, frankly, we are doing well with our existing system, and our priorities are different right now. So, if we feel the need to explore marketing automation, we’ll contact you. But right now, we’re not interested.”
Sales rep: “Sure, no issues! It was great talking to you. If you need any assistance, you can contact my team or me; we’re just an email away!”
Anticipation and preparation to tackle these objections play a big role in handling them. But for that, you need to know as much as you can about the pain points of your prospects and customers, common objections, and their psychology.
Sales intelligence software like Wingman can deliver that data to you as actionable insights in just a click or two! Based on your pre-recorded sales calls, Wingman helps you identify the subtle moments in your calls where the behavior of your lead changes, moments of hesitation as you’re pitching to them, and how their sentiments towards closing the deal change on-call.
With an AI-powered tool like Wingman, you can get the data you need to anticipate objections and prepare even better objection handling scripts. Now, off you go, and let no objection go unhandled!