How to Tell Genuine Sales Objections from Insidious Put-Offs
Updated: May 30
Here’s a question about sales objections I encountered a lot when we did lead generation work:
I keep running into objections before I even have a chance to introduce myself. What is the best way to overcome “I’m too busy,” “I do not have time” or “Call back in two months?”
One of the challenges we face with sales objections is knowing when we have a bona fide objection as opposed to the prospect simply trying to get rid of us.
For example, in the playbook, Seven Steps to Resolving Sales Objections, I started by recapping a story told to me by a master sales instructor. In that anecdote, Ed recounted how he had marveled at a high-powered car of one of his clients. But he didn’t balk at the price. That was because he simply saw it as a fabulous piece of art. He had no interest in buying the car!
Now, recognize this. When you receive responses like the ones listed above on your initial call, you’re not facing a sales objection. What you’re facing is a put-off. For your prospect to make a true sales objection, they need to have some type of interest in your product or service. At the start of your call, you don't even have their attention. They are still preoccupied with whatever they were doing before you called. To them, you’re an interruption.
If you hear your prospect use phrases like “I'm too busy” or “I don't have time”, remember that these statements are socially acceptable ways of them saying, “Get lost. I don't want to talk with you.” Their response most likely has nothing to do with a lack of time or you. It’s just a quick and easy way to get rid of you.
Circumventing and Resolving the Put-off
We've discussed a few tactics in past posts circumvent these types of early put-offs:
Open by addressing them by their name to break their preoccupation and get their attention.
Open with a startling fact about their industry to get their attention and interest.
Use a known reference to gain interest and trust. Make sure your reference is in good standing!
From a strategic perspective, you want to keep the opening focused around the needs and interests of your prospect. Keep your sales approach and your opening statements prospect-centric. Avoid taking a product-centric position in your introduction.
If you do find yourself immersed in this type of situation, start by assuming they are short on time. Ask to reschedule your sales call. Recognize that you probably inadvertently opened the call talking about you, your company, or your product, which handed you the put-off. So, use the opportunity to make a course correction. When you ask to reschedule, take a prospect-centric position. For example:
Bob: I'm too busy right now!
You: I can appreciate that. Time is always at a premium. Bob, when would be a good time to call back to review an initial set of keywords we've identified for your website and the impact your digital marketing team can make with them?
Now, if you fail to get their attention this second time with a prospect-centric view, and they continue to say, “Nope. Still not interested”, then it's time to move on to your second contact and build your web of influence at the account.
Using Your Communication Tools to Resolve Sales Objections and Put-offs
You’ll notice we used two elements here that we’ve also used when resolving genuine sales objections - the verbal cushion and questions. Remember, use all of your available tools in a strategic fashion to obtain a mutually beneficial outcome. When you’re facing a real sales objection, the prospect has given you their attention, they are interested in your product or service, and they have a real problem they want to resolve. If you’re encountering these roadblocks early in your sales process, they haven’t given you their attention, they aren’t interested in your service, and the only problem they want to solve is how to get rid of you as quickly as possible.
As you spend more time actively engaging new prospects and your listening skills become more discerning, you’ll be able to tell the difference between someone who really is pressed for time and someone who is just trying to get you out of their hair.
But your easiest and best way to address these early put-offs is to avoid them using the techniques identified above. Take a prospect-centric view at the opening of your sales call and truly see things from their perspective. Save your energy to creatively resolve the real sales objections later in the sales process.
Remember, selling is an away game. It takes place in the mind of your prospect.
To learn more about resolving sales objections, grab a copy of the playbook, Seven Steps to Resolving Sales Objections. Start coaching yourself and your team to shorter sales cycles and bigger deals today!
Oh, and One More Thing...
If you’re looking to make good use of your travel time, take a page from one of our sales trainers, Traci Tigue. Pick up a copy of Selling is an Away Game, available at many Hudson News locations.
Guess what our very own trainer, Traci Tigue, found this morning? Look for our #bestseller next time you are at the airport. A great companion for your flight. pic.twitter.com/gYuMZ0VoZ5 — Tyson Group (@Tyson_Group) July 22, 2019