During my time as an SDR, I’ve focused on developing listening skills that help me spot, internalize, and process sales objections as opposed to using scripted, reactive responses meant to lessen the unpredictability.
Being able to quickly internalize objections helps you maintain a natural flow in conversations rather than breaking things up with an “If prospect says X, then say Y” canned response. Using scripted, robotic answers signals to your prospect that you do not truly understand their needs and will result in a hang up.
The key to handling sales objections over the phone is keeping these scripts in the back of your mind, but not actually using them verbatim. Listening to your prospects, accepting moments when you get roughed up, and learning from mistakes will help you develop a finer understanding of selling situations and the logic behind them.
Here are a few scripts I have at the ready for common sales objections. But remember, no script is going to help you sell to a prospect who's just not the right fit. In a recent study, 71% of salespeople reported that 50% or fewer of their prospects turned out to be a good fit.
Conduct responsible prospecting to ensure this doesn't happen to you.
"Why isn't this of interest to you at this time?"
"We should connect to discuss the benefits for you when budget does open up."
"I'm glad to hear you're already working with a provider."
"That's great. We can help you [insert value add]."
"Buying now will ensure a smooth transition as new teammates join."
"Acting now ensures you capture this value add immediately."
"Would you close today if we offered you a month-to-month plan?"
1. "Why isn't this of interest to you at this time?"
File this one under “invalid reason.” Usually this is more of an emotional response to pesky salespeople taking up precious time. When you hear this, the prospect is dismissive, and probably did not listen to what was being said. A very terse objection, this one can be the most difficult objection for newer SDRs to overcome.
However, you have a good reason for calling the prospect and you already know exactly why the prospect should be interested. Ask questions to understand why the prospect is objecting while maintaining your composure. In fact, research from Gong.io suggests high performing salespeople follow up objections with questions 54% of the time, while average performers followed up with questions only 31% of the time.
SDR: "Thank you Mrs. Prospect. I understand why you may feel that this is not of any interest to you; however, I can assure you that director at CLIENT X told me the exact same thing and now he is using our solution to do W, X, and Y. I understand that improving W, X, and Y are important KPIs for you and your business as well -- can you share with me why improving these metrics is not of any interest to you at this time?"
Asking this question gets the prospect to think about your product and/or value proposition in the context of their business and role and also helps you move beyond the initial resistance --usually into another objection. While it may seem undesirable to move from “not interested” to yet another sales objection, these secondary objections are usually more rational and less knee-jerk.
Pro tip: Speak slowly and clearly. Gong's research also found top-performing reps speak more slowly than average reps (176wpm vs. 188wpm). Sometimes the prospect is not interested because he literally has no idea what you said. Also, “not interested” is just another way of saying “I don’t want to listen.” Sometimes people will not want to listen to you, and that's okay.
2. "We should connect to discuss the benefits for you when budget does open up."
According to new research from Marc Wayshak, 55% of salespeople said budget is the most common reason their strong sales opportunities fall apart. If the prospect has never been in contact with your company and claims they cannot afford your solution, this is just another way of brushing you off.
The more reasonable budget objection occurs when the prospect is working with a boot-strap budget where every penny of the year is already accounted for (“Management slashed my budget in half -- I honestly couldn’t buy your product even if I wanted to”). Sometimes, the prospect will say this to brush you off, but in most instances, it is a genuine concern.
It is up to the SDR's discretion, keen judgment, and instincts to determine if the prospect is being sincere. In this situation, it helps to keep in mind that your solution’s ROI could very well lead to a bigger budget for the prospect in the long run.
SDR:"Thank you for the insight, Mr. Prospect. I understand why you may be hesitant to open up some budget for a solution you have no experience with. The reason I am calling you however is to open up some initial dialogue. CLIENTS X and Y implemented our tool to solve Z and K and I understand these are also problems for your business. Even if you do not purchase our solution, it would be prudent for us to connect and discuss the benefits for you when budget does open up."
Another type of budget objection results from the prospect having already evaluated the solution through previous meetings and concluding that it was not worth the cost. If this just happened, it will prove very difficult to convince the prospect that you have an additional value proposition outside of a sizeable discount. If a few months have passed, be sure to reference new clients, product updates, or use cases to demonstrate added value.
SDR: "Ms. Prospect, since the last time we connected, we have improved our solution’s UX and expanded integration offerings. These updates are the reason CLIENT X just signed with us last month to increase T and R. Since you mentioned T and R as problems the last time we spoke, it would be great to reconnect and discuss the added value these improvements offer your business."
3. "I'm glad to hear you're already working with a provider."
While it may be tempting to try and overcome this objection by attacking or devaluing the prospect’s current solution, all too often the people we are speaking to are the same people responsible for completing the project we hope to replace. In these instances, implying that you somehow know better than your prospects or being outright rude is a bad idea.
I recommend affirming the value of your prospect’s solution and offering additional value. Think about it: If the prospect is already in the market for your services, it is his duty and in his best interest to be absolutely sure that the current solution is in fact ideal for the business.
SDR:"I’m glad to hear that you are already working with a provider -- this confirms that you see the value in using such a solution to increase X and Y. I am calling you because in addition to increasing X and Y, we’ve worked with companies like CLIENT X to boost Z as well."
4. "That's great. We can help you [insert value add]."
This objection comes up because the prospect is preoccupied with other responsibilities and cannot envision making your proposed project a priority. Whatever reason your prospect gives for not being able to evaluate your solution now, there are still ways to add value on the other side of their objection.
Prospect: “We are too busy preparing for the holiday season right now.”
SDR: “That's great -- we can help you improve your checkout flow and guarantee smoother customer experiences during the busy season.”
5. "Buying now will ensure a smooth transition as new teammates join."
A team that's in flux or in the process of hiring new members can feel they're unable to move forward implementing new tools or services. But this can be the best time to pursue helpful solutions.
Show your prospect you can help an understaffed or transitional team function more efficiently. And stress the benefits of implementing the solution now, so they'll be able to train new teammates as they begin.
Prospect: “We are waiting for the new manager to start, and we'll call you then. Asking a new hire to abruptly switch solutions after he starts can hamper productivity.”
SDR: “Buying now will help the manager develop familiarity with our solution and guarantees productivity.”
6. "Acting now ensures you capture this value add immediately."
Prospect too busy implementing another solution? Great! That demonstrates they've already acknowledged pain points your product or service can help with. Given that 54% of salespeople consider it harder to get in front of new prospects today than it was five years ago, you've already won half the battle by proving they already know your value.
Explain that your solution works well with the other they're currently implementing and will increase ROI even more.
Prospect: “We are too busy implementing SOLUTION V.”
SDR: “Great, clients like X and Y found that SOLUTION V works better when it operates in tandem with ours. Acting now will ensure you can capture this added value immediately.”
When it comes to timing objections, there's usually a way to frame acting now vs. later as an opportunity for the prospect to get more done in the long run.
7. "Would you close today if we offered you a month-to-month plan?"
Some prospects won't be able to get an annual contract approved -- no matter how low the price. Offering a month-to-month plan can move stalled deals over the finish line and rule the "We don't do contracts" objection null and void.
Prospect: "We just can't sign a year-long contract without knowing if the ROI would actually be worth it."
SDR: "So what I'm hearing is that you know Solution X will benefit your team, but the annual contract is standing in your way. If I offered you a month-to-month contract, would you be willing to sign today?"