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Common objections and what they really mean

Handling objections is part and parcel of life as a salesperson. But do we take enough time to understand what your prospects are really saying to us?

Right now at SalesWorks, we’re busy with lots of SDR training for our clients. One of the modules deals with objection handling. We spend a good chunk of time talking about objections, as it’s something we have to deal with every day as a salesperson. We talk about the most common objections that we’ve researched, as well as unpacking the specific objections the SDRs in the room face. 

Whenever we do this with our SDRs, we always discover something incredible. When you know this secret, it becomes a lot easier to handle objections. Let’s find out more.

Popular objections

What are the objections you hear most often? For us, it’s:

  • ‘It’s not the right time.’
  • ‘I don’t have the budget.’
  • ‘I’m just running into a meeting’.
  • ‘Can you send me an email?’

These are the classic brush-offs. Prospects can rattle off one of these and the salesperson will leave them alone as there’s no real way to come back from them, right? 

Actually, this isn’t the case at all. It’s all down to one reason.

What these objections really mean

Here’s the thing they don’t want you to know. 95% of objections we hear are not real. They’re just making something up to get salespeople to leave them alone so they can get on with their day. 

We use these objections ourselves when someone cold calls us, or Vodafone calls us up about upgrading our phone. If we’re not in the mood for a sales call, we’re not going to have one.

That’s why when we try to counter those common objections with something like, ‘When is a better time to call?’ it doesn’t work. The prospect will just carry on stringing you along.

The devil is in the detail

When you get a rejection like one of the ones above, think about how much your prospect is actually saying. 

If they say, ‘Not right now’ and that’s it, you know it probably isn’t true. This means you have to try again with a different approach.

If they give you some more specific feedback, like, ‘It’s not the right time. We’re going to be re-evaluating our tech stack at the start of the next quarter. We’ll be investigating tools for call recording then…’ there’s probably going to be some truth to that. It’s quite an elaborate fib otherwise!

Always be listening

So, how can you get your prospect to be more truthful about their objections?

We all have methods to counter common objections. We all know what we are supposed to say. However, I think reps shouldn’t be so quick to come back with their rehearsed objection handling techniques. 

Don’t be in a rush to counter. Instead try to get your prospect to open up about what’s really underneath their objection. Listen to what they have to say and nudge them towards the truth, rather than the standard brush-off. You can do this by building rapport.

Finally, be mindful of your ego during these kinds of conversations. We all have three ego states:

  • Parent – Behaviours copied from our parents or parental figures
  • Adult – Behaviours in response to the here and now
  • Child – Behaviours replaying our childhood

When handling objections, avoid the child state. This makes the prospect the parent, which is not what we want. Ideally, you want to be answering from the adult ego state.

Objections are opportunities

The thing is about objections, when they’re real and not just a means of getting us to go away, is that they’re valuable feedback. They show the prospect takes you seriously and is putting thought into how they deal with you. They’re opportunities to address your prospects’ concerns and build trust. 

Encourage genuine objections. You need them.