Every sales rep has called a prospect who told them, in no uncertain terms, to “go to hell.”
(Okay, maybe they don’t say it quite like that. Or maybe they do.)
Not surprisingly, these kinds of conversations can be difficult. However, if you know the right way to engage these people, it can make them a little easier.
If you lead a sales team, you want everyone on that team to turn cold calls into qualified prospects, sales opportunities, and, ultimately, customers. The better you are at responding to objections, the better you’ll be at meeting these objectives.
Here are some best practices for keeping a prospect on the line, getting that chance to deliver your sales pitch, and continually growing your sales pipeline and revenue.
If you’re in sales, you’ve got to be aggressive.
What “aggressive” looks like will vary from rep to rep, depending on their own selling style and comfort level. But regardless of the specific approach, when a rep encounters an objection, they have to push back.
Now, let’s be clear. We’re not encouraging you to go back to the pre-internet, “old school” style of selling. Gone are the days of twisting arms to get your customers to buy. If you do that, you can bet that your churn rate will go up, and your NPS will go down.
Believe it or not, pushing back on an objection is as much for the prospect’s benefit as it is yours.
The job of a modern salesperson is to guide the prospect through their customer journey to an informed decision. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no,” you want to make sure they know all the information available so that they aren’t missing out.
So let’s say you’re cold calling a prospect, and they just dismiss you out of hand. In this case, your pushback will be trying to find other ways to get that person’s attention. Maybe you rephrase your pitch or pull out your secondary pitch; anything to get them to bite.
If you’re later in the customer journey and face something like a pricing objection, pushback is going to look a little different. Here, you should know enough about the prospect and their pain points to know how exactly to get around a simple pricing objection.
If you’re just gathering information, your pushback will be a lot nicer and gentler. After all, you don’t want to piss off the person whose help you need!
There isn’t one right way to push back against objections. There are as many approaches as there are situations.
One way you can improve your team’s performance is to work with your team on diversifying their tactical tool belts, as it were. That way, they’ll be more effective in more situations.
Find other interested contacts.
For B2B sellers, especially those working with larger accounts, facing an objection from one contact doesn’t necessarily mean the account is dead.
In fact, the bigger the account, the more opportunity there is. So if you face an objection, one option is to engage in some good ‘ole account-based prospecting.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “What if the person who objects is the primary decision maker? Shouldn’t my efforts be on responding to their objections?”
Well, yes…and no.
In a larger account, it’s rare that a single person makes the buying decision. Most of the time there are a number of people within an account who need to be bought in before the decision is made.
In this situation, turn an objection into a chance to gather more information.
It’s possible that the person with the objection is simply the wrong person to talk to at that time. In that case, see if they can direct you to the right person. If you specifically ask for help, you’d be surprised at how generous people can be.
It’s particularly important not to take “yes” for an answer. When someone is willing to give you information, don’t settle for the one nugget of information you get. Continue to ask questions until they literally say they have to get off the phone.
There’s so much information available to you and your team. Don’t miss your chance to gather it and find new opportunities that you already have at your fingertips.
Charm your way to a “yes.”
There’s a stereotype that salespeople are charmers: they can get you to buy things you don’t want or need.
Although this has a host of negative connotations, there’s an element of truth here.
There is an element of charm involved when engaging uninterested prospects. After all, you want them to enjoy talking to you; this means they’ll be more likely to do it in the future.
It really comes down to the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” If you remain kind and confident in your conversations, odds are that you’ll do great.
Here are a few specific things to try and get your reps to do:
- Use the prospect’s name right away. If they answer with their name, make sure you acknowledge them by name throughout the call.
- Ask them to help you. Literally use the words “can you help me?,” because that means they’ll be more likely to give you help.
- Thank them. If the person helps you out, don’t forget to call and thank them. Not only will this impress them, you can also potentially use that as an opportunity to dig up some additional information.
Sure, you’ll find someone who’s just generally unpleasant no matter how you talk to them. But for the vast majority of people, a little bit of charm can lead to a more positive response.
Follow up early and often.
Sales follow-up is a balance. On the one hand, you don’t want to annoy your prospect by calling them a hundred times. But on the other hand, you don’t want to let them go completely cold.
So it’s not surprising that many sales reps and leaders ask: how often should I call my prospects to follow up?
But that’s the wrong question to ask.
Instead of focusing on how often you should call your prospects, find other ways to follow up with them. You have a plethora of channels at your disposal: email, phone, social, and even direct mail.
It’s important to cast as wide a net as possible to find the best way to gather information and get a response.
Before you do an intense amount of follow up, make sure that the person you’re going after is someone you should actually be chasing. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than sending 20 emails and making 30 calls to find out that the person isn’t the right fit.
Also: remember that “no” is a completely acceptable answer, as long as the person giving the “no” is fully informed when making that decision.
The best answer is “yes.” The second best answer is “no.” The worst answer is crickets.
So don’t just keep pounding the same rock hoping something’s going to come out of it. Once you get that person to make a decision, move on.
There are, as the old saying goes, “plenty of fish in the sea.”
Do you want your sales reps, both old and new, to master the art of the follow-up? Download our Sales Coaching Success Kit for resources to help you coach each one of your reps to success.