The Number One Prospecting Sales Objection
Surf the internet and you’ll find a wealth of information about how to navigate the most common objections encountered by sales professionals. Unfortunately, they typically only focus on the types of objections you hear in the latter portion of the sales process as you near the close. While the close is a vital component of the sales process, and the one with the most gratification, it cannot be denied that nobody gets to the end without first making it through the beginning. So, unless you can master working your way around the common objections encountered during the prospecting portion of the sales process, you’ll never get the chance to flex your sales muscles at the close.
The number one prospecting sales objection is “I don’t have time for this.” Sometimes the language varies – for instance, “I’m too busy right now” or “Can you just send me the info?” or “Can you call back later?” – but it all boils down to the same thing: I don’t want to talk to you right now.
Prospecting is interrupting. It helps to understand that, at the beginning of every call, you are nothing more than an interruption in your potential client’s day, and sometimes a very unwelcome one depending on how their day is going. It could be the worst time for you to interrupt or it could be a pretty decent time, but unless they are sitting there actively wishing for a product just like yours, it’s never going to be a great time. (The odds of that happening are slim to none, by the way.)
The best way to counteract the “I don’t have time for you” objection is to head it off before you even hear it. As soon as you get the prospect on the phone, let him/her know upfront these three things: a.) you are grateful for their time; b.) you respect their time and won’t take more than a few minutes of it; and c.) a brief outline of what to expect from the call. Offering prospects a brief explanation of what to expect during the call will alleviate their impatience to get off the phone because people do better when they know what’s coming ahead. Reassuring them that you won’t take more than a few minutes of their time will help to alleviate the worrisome thoughts of all they feel they should be doing instead of taking your call. But, you can’t just tell them you’ll only take a few minutes; you must then stick to your word on the time limit you set forth! Don’t let yourself get carried away and take 10 minutes when you said it would be 5 (unless, of course, it’s the prospect who keeps you talking due to a high interest in your offering).
Once you’ve reassured them that this won’t take forever, you need to quickly pique their interest in your offering. We recommend scripting a value proposition that is no more than 2 – 3 sentences long. Then, follow up with one to three questions to help determine what problems they may be facing that your product / service will help solve. Craft your questions to gain insight into the particular needs of the prospect.
One of the biggest mistake most sales professionals make during prospecting is that they focus too much on selling the product. In the very beginning of the sales process, it’s detrimental to spend too much time going into crazy detail about your offer. It comes off as pushy and salesman-y. Rather, the key to successful prospecting lies in piquing the interest of the potential buyer and then selling him/her on proceeding to the next step in the sales pipeline. Typically, this is an in-person or phone meeting but it can also be a webinar or product demonstration. The goal of a prospecting call is to move the potential client further down the sales pipeline. This is NOT the time to close. So, once you’ve piqued their interest and gotten them to answer a couple of questions, spend the rest of the phone call selling them on taking that next step with you, whatever it may be.
As a side note, we highly recommend having a second, softer next step option in your back pocket in the event they won’t bite on the first. Say, for instance, your ideal next step is an in-person appointment. You might also want to offer a webinar for those prospects who perhaps might worry about being induced to buy before they’re ready during an in-person meeting, for instance. While a prospect such as that would object to the in-person appointment, they very well might say yes to a webinar or online product demonstration.
Prospecting is not as sexy as closing, but it is equally as important. First impressions are everything and you cannot afford to get this one wrong. Mastering the prospecting portion of the sales process will make for more frequent and effortless closings.