For most sales professionals, the hardest part of cold calling is overcoming objections.
Objections are an inevitability of cold calling that can take many forms:
- “I’m not interested.”
- “I don’t have budget.”
- “I’m using a competitor.”
- “We’re not ready yet.”
- “We don’t need to change.”
- “Just send me some information.”
The list goes on.
The good news is — there are proven cold calling tips you can use to overcome objections and be more persuasive as a sales professional.
14 Tips for Overcoming Objections in Sales
For this article, we spoke with 15 of the best-and-brightest minds on cold calling and overcoming objections.
The question: “What is your top tip for cold callers who need help overcoming objections in 2019?” Read their responses below.
Lauren Bailey | CEO at Factor 8
Objections are different than Early Dismissals. Reps too often try to respond to a brushoff like they would an objection – asking follow up questions, overcoming with value or stories – and that just makes the situation worse.
If someone is dismissing you without knowledge of who you are and why you’re calling, don’t handle it like an objection. Try getting them talking (about anything!) instead.
Lee Bartlett | Founder at Bartlett Consulting Group
The salesperson's first response to customer objections should be to understand the root-cause. A defensive stance to objection-based questions often denotes one of two things - the customer doesn’t see you as a person of value and wants you to go away, or the objection is a cover for the truth and they don’t want to explain the reason why.
If the customer is open to discussing further, you are doing something right and have an opportunity to resolve the potential issue.
Related: What you say matters in customer service too — here are 21 phrases that could make or break your business!
Cory Bray | Managing Director at ClozeLoop
Great salespeople don't view resistance as an impediment to the sales process. Instead, they identify prospect resistance as the natural inclination of human beings to initially reject new ideas, to be skeptical about whether these ideas will work for them, and to ultimately have difficulty moving toward change.
Validate the resistance, reframe it in light of the pain you have uncovered in discovery, and demonstrate likeness with relevant social proof in the form of your customer stories or customer evidence.
David Dulany | CEO at TenBound
When cold calling, be brief and confident. Educate yourself on the target prospect's business pain points before calling and practice an opener with someone who has no background in your industry. Do they understand what you're saying? Can you communicate it fast?
The reason you're calling is to help address those pain points, and you need to communicate that clearly and quickly. If they have those pain points, you can genuinely help. If not, onto the next call. It's not personal.
Travis Henry | Dir. Sales Operations at SalesSource
It's easy to make assumptions about why someone is objecting - even if it may seem obvious. This is a huge mistake! "We already have a solution in place" could mean the prospect is completely happy as-is, but it could also simply be a piece of information they are sharing with you.
Avoid assumptions by communicating your honest understanding with the prospect. An example response could be, "Thanks for letting me know you have a current solution. Typically when I hear that, it means you don't see any room for improvement in driving X outcome. Is that the case for you?"
If delivered sincerely, this type of question will get your prospect talking about what really matters to them, and then you can position your value proposition accordingly.
Morgan Ingram | Director of Sales Execution & Evolution at JBarrows
The top tip when it comes to objection handling is understanding the difference between the brush-off and the real objection. The majority of the objections that happen are brush-offs and most reps take those to face value.
My biggest piece of advice to not let the brush-off happen is to challenge the prospects with a thought-provoking question that leads to a value based answer.
Mark McWatters | VP of Sales at Ambition
Overcoming sales objections starts with taking real stock of what the person is objecting to and understanding whether this is the real objection or whether you need to dig deeper to get to the underlying problem. Proper pre-call planning and quick study of the prospect’s role and responsibilities in the organization can help you intuit potential objections and have answers ready.
The last, overlooked component here is that practice makes perfect. You’ll get better at overcoming objections with time - so practice hearing and responding to objections with your manager during your sales coaching sessions or peers as much as possible. You’ll see the payoff when it comes time for the real thing.
Dionne Mischler | CEO at Inside Sales By Design
Number one - know that you’re going to get objections. Expect them. Anticipate them. Don’t think the conversation is going to go one way. Be prepared for objections.
Number two - we need to triple down on the varieties and ways that objections present themselves. Sometimes we’ll have a battle card or playbook, which is a great starting point. To take it a step further, it’s really about recognizing objections in whatever form they take, and the third step is knowing how to respond to the nuanced variations of objections.
Here’s my tip: never ask a question you’re not able to rebut the answer to - think like an attorney. Know your stuff. Study up. Be prepared to address any of the objections that come your way.
Levi Olmstead | Director, Community Outreach at G2 Crowd
Prospects expect sales teams to be a brand advocate of what they're selling. It's literally their job. So instead of trying to maneuver around a sales objection, or try to nullify an objection yourself, cite a customer review that had the same skepticism.
If your product or service is truly customer centric, you should have a robust, third-party review strategy. Reviews make buyers 71% more comfortable on finalizing a buying decision.
In short: Don't try to solve the objections yourself. Send those prospects with sales objections to customer reviews to see how former prospects have benefits from your product.
Alex Taylor | Director of SaaS Sales at Nextiva
I’m a huge fan of the Sandler methodology which is more of an enterprise selling technique vs. commodity selling.
Objection Handling Example 1:
- Prospect Says: Your price is too high!
- Salesperson Response: Yes, but I think our quality is superior, and our customer service is second to none!
Objection Handling Example 2:
- Prospect Says: We decided to stay with our current provider!
- Salesperson Response: I really think you are making a mistake. We just won an industry award for most ____.
Objection Handling Example 3:
- Prospect Says: "We already work with [Competitor."
- Salesperson Response: "At this point, we aren't asking you to rip anything out. A lot of our customers used to or still use Competitor X. We'd just like the opportunity to show you how we are different and how we have provided additional value to our customers. We can present some use cases of other companies like yours who work with us and with Competitor X. Sound fair?
Objection Handling Example 4:
- Prospect Says: "We don’t have budget."
- Salesperson Response: "That's okay. We don't expect you to buy anything right now. We'd just like the opportunity to share what we are doing and see if it's valuable to your company. Can we schedule a follow-up call over the next couple days?”
Brian Vital | VP Sales at Pointman
This is going to sound weird, but it works. Respond to any objection with, “What’s your hesitation?” You could follow this with:
- Comparing two seemingly alike solutions.
- Starting the conversation if you know there’s a more valuable one to have in 90 days.
- Budget aside, what’s your hesitation?
Plus hundreds of similar ones. The prospect will open up and give you an avenue to set the meeting.
Paula White | Dir. Inside Sales at BoundTree Medical
First and foremost, be prepared and to engage in a conversation on our first call, as the first question I will ask is: what do you know about our business?
Second, do not email or InMail before speaking to uncover our needs, many business are different.
J. Ryan Williams | Founder & Executive Coach
Objections are going to happen in sales, especially when you're making cold calls.
The best place to start each call is to think about the mind of the prospect.
If you know your prospect's industry and role well when they go to object, you can connect yourself to a solution to a problem that you know they have- in-fact, they just might think you are clairvoyant if you name the problem that they're focused on today.
Dailius Wilson | VP Sales and Growth at GetAccept
Structured objection handling is one of the most in demand skills of modern sales, yet it still remains one of the hardest to teach and the hardest to find online/offline assets through which reps can improve.
Here at GetAccept we explore three main methods of objection handling:
- Refocusing the conversation with another question: Often the toughest objections are so difficult that reps shouldn't feel afraid to ask another question to surface further insight or to earn time to prepare a more measured response.
- To surface other points quickly, ask a question like this when met with an objection: "If this was not an issue, are there any other things holding you back from proceeding with us?" Often you will find customers have limited responses to this question and this can allow you to treat their point of concern as a positive, "Well I'm glad we can focus on only this one reason and I'm sure together we can find a solution."
- Sharing a story: The history of humanity has always placed an importance on storytelling. From the caves to modern tablets - stories not only provide entertainment but are the main method through which we pass information between generations. Given this, humans are quite responsive to stories under almost all circumstances as long as they are short and succinct. For instance, if you are met with an objection again around price you could say something like, "I hear you say that and funnily enough it reminds me of Customer X who said the same thing to me about 10 months ago. Now they have doubled sales and in fact have increased their business with us threefold."
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Jeremy Boudinet is the Marketing Manager at Nextiva, Co-President at AA-ISP Phoenix, and a published writer for Time, Entrepreneur, Inc, The Daily Muse, and PopSugar. He has been giving the people what they want since 1986. Contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter to start a conversation about business, sports, music, or anything else under the sun.