Mastering objection handling: A comprehensive guide for SDRs

Excited call centre agents, fist bump and celebrating deal

Objections are a natural part of the sales process. If your prospect wasn’t a little hesitant to buy your product, they’d be a customer already. Yes, objections can be annoying, particularly if you hear the same one over and over again. But they are also a chance to understand your prospect better and sell to their specific needs.

That’s why Kyle Porter, the CEO of SalesLoft, refers to objections as gifts. “It’s the customer telling you something that will help you sell to them,” he says. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to overcome almost any inside sales objections, as well as the exact responses our reps use to common objections on their sales calls.

Ready to get over objections? Let’s begin.

A step by step guide to handling sales objections

Almost any objection can be overcome if you are prepared and have a process in place. Here’s the step-by-step process our reps use when they are met with an objection on a sales call. 

Listen carefully to the objection

Whenever a prospect objects, you must listen carefully to what they say. It can be tempting to cut them off and respond quickly. Don’t. Give them the time to speak openly about their concerns and hear what they have to say. The more you listen and the more they talk, the more ammunition you’ll have to overcome the objection shortly.

Validate their concerns

Now that your prospect has finished voicing their concerns, make it clear that you have heard what they have said and understood their point of view. It can help to repeat the prospect’s concerns back to them to make sure you have understood the issue correctly and to prove that you were, in fact, listening. 

You may find that upon repeating your prospect’s objections, they elaborate further. It’s not easy to articulate concerns on the spot, so encourage them to keep talking until you get to the crux of the issue.

Ask follow-up questions

This is where the best SDRs come to the fore. Asking follow up questions is a great way to keep your prospects talking about their concerns so you can better understand them and pinpoint exactly how they can be overcome. 

You’ll know from your sales training that asking open-ended questions is key. Don’t let your prospect give a one-word answer. And don’t forget to keep repeating back what you have heard and to continue validating their concerns.

It can be helpful to trust your gut when questioning prospects. If it seems like they are trying to fob you off, ask questions to get to the bottom of the matter. Ask if that’s the only issue they have or whether anything else would make them think twice. This line of questioning can help you get to the real problem while ensuring that your prospect won’t just come up with another objection further down the line. 

Respond confidently 

By this point, you should have a solid understanding of all your prospect’s objections. Now it’s time to address them fully one by one. Where possible, resolve the matter there and then on the phone. This will demonstrate your expertise and increase the chances of booking an appointment at the end of the call. If that’s not possible, let the prospect know you’ll get back to them shortly. It goes without saying that you should make this a priority. This is a warm prospect who could be convinced to book an appointment. Find the information you need to overcome their objection before doing anything else. 

Anticipate sales objections

The more sales objections you anticipate, the more prepared you’ll be to overcome them in the heat of the moment. 

Having several case studies, talking points and testimonials to hand is a great way to ensure you’re prepared for any objection. Listening carefully and questioning prospects will help you identify the most appropriate case study or talking point to use. Then it’s merely a matter of talking through the case study on the phone or sending it by email. 

You won’t be able to anticipate every objection, but you can always be learning. That’s why great SDRs make a note of any new objection they come across, so they are prepared to address it in the future.

How to answer the common objections

You can use the template above to overcome almost any objection on the fly. But for those you hear over and over again, it can be helpful to have prepared responses. Below you’ll find five of the most common objections you’re likely to hear along with our SDR’s typical responses.   

“They aren’t available right now”

Few gatekeepers will let you speak to a prospect without objecting. “They aren’t available right now” is one of the most common, the vaguest and one of the hardest objections to get around. If you keep getting faced with this objection, there are two responses we recommend.

The first is to empower the gatekeeper to help you. Ask when your prospect will be available or whether there is anyone else you can speak to. The gatekeeper may remain obtuse, but there’s a chance they’ll give you a time to call back or put you through to another decision-maker.

The second is to ask to be put through to your prospect’s voicemail. This isn’t as ideal, as it means you forfeit the opportunity to speak directly to your prospect, but it does at least let you get on their radar. 

“We don’t have the budget for that right now”

Budget-related questions can be some of the most difficult to overcome. You’ll need to work out whether the department really doesn’t have the budget for your product or whether they are using the budget as an excuse to get you off the phone. On the one hand, you don’t want to waste time with organisations that can’t afford you. On the other hand, you don’t want to give up on the first attempt. 

The solution here is to probe further and uncover the real reason behind the objection. Specifically, you need to find out whether your prospect has a real problem that your product solves. If they do, then it’s simply a matter of demonstrating your product’s value. A case study that shows the potential ROI is an excellent tool in this instance and a great way to prove that it’s worth finding the budget for your product. 

“We already use your competitor’s product”

This is probably the toughest objection to overcome. Competition in the B2B sector is incredibly fierce, and unless your product is genuinely unique, there’s a good chance you’re going to come across prospects that are already using a competitor. 

While you could waste minutes trying to convince your prospect that your product is better than a competitor, the only thing that’s going to convince them is cold-hard proof. That means you need a case study of a customer who switched from a specific competitor and achieved significantly better results. 

“I don’t have time to talk”

Few decision-makers like receiving cold calls, so you’ll probably hear this excuse more than most. Sometimes it will be true, but most of the time it will be a way to get you off the phone. You need to be respectful of your prospect’s time, but you also have a job to do.

With that in mind, explain that you will call them back later but agree on a time that works for them. Being respectful of their request builds trust that can become useful later in the buying process. Agreeing on a time to speak in the future ensures the prospect won’t fob you off again the next time you call. 

“Email me more information”

On the face of it, this objection sounds like a step in the right direction. They want to hear more information about your product? Amazing! Unfortunately, sending such an email rarely results in a booked appointment. More often than, you’ll never hear back from them again. 

Instead, use their objection as a way to ask questions and find out more about their problems. Frame your follow-up questions in a way that makes it look like your gathering information to make your email as relevant as possible. If the prospect is willing to answer them on the phone, you’ll often find there’s no need for the email at all.  

When no means no: A word on GDPR

If a prospect tells you not to call them again citing GDPR, you must honour their request. This isn’t an objection you can overcome unless you want to land your company with a hefty fine. 

Acknowledge their request politely and end the call. Then jump into your CRM and make a note against the prospect’s name that they shouldn’t be contacted again in the future. Don’t remove them from your CRM. This seems like the sensible move, but if you do this, there’s every chance your colleague will find them Linkedin, add them back into the CRM and call them again in the future.

Unfortunately, there are some objections you can’t overcome. But for almost everything else, it’s just a matter of listening to the problem, asking questions and finding the best response.


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