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How to overcome Prospects’ Resistance?

9 minutes read

Most often sales reps face some or the other form of resistance from the prospects. Even with the warmest of introductions, it’s pretty rare that a prospect shows confidence in your sales reps instantly.

Thus sales reps must be prepared to effectively handle this resistance from the prospects. To do this, they’ll need to understand

Here are some common objections that a prospect might have:

  • We’re not interested.
  • There’s no current need.
  • We do not have the budget for this right now (or it’s too expensive).
  • We already have a current vendor.

Now, every action and reaction of humans results from some intention or thought. If we can understand this thought behind the prospects’ resistance we will be able to successfully overcome it.

Here are some possible causes of prospects’ resistance

Possible Reasons for prospects’ resistance

They don’t know about you. Therefore they are skeptical of your offering and your company

In many cases, prospect resistance is born out of the lack of an intimate understanding of your business or your solution.

  • If your prospects don’t know you, why on earth would they trust you or your sales reps?
  • If they have never leveraged your solution, how would they possibly know if it’s right for their business or not?

These points are particularly pertinent if your solution is relatively new or unique. Usually, consumers depend on other consumers’ experiences to validate their preferences and decisions in order to reduce risk. They don’t prefer being the first customer and boldly take the path which no one has taken before.

So, your sales reps could face a bit of resistance from the prospects if you don’t have a solid customer base for your solution who can vouch for how awesome, effective, and legitimate it is.

They are reluctant to change

Another major reason for the prospects’ resistance could be inertia. And this could be a tough roadblock for sales reps. Let me explain how: Let’s say a prospect whom your sales rep has contacted already has a solution that he is leveraging. He is mostly content with that solution and has established a good relationship with the people providing that solution as well. So why would he now think of adopting your solution? After all, it is going to take him time and effort to learn and implement your solution, right?

When prospects are stuck in their ways like this, it becomes particularly difficult for sales reps to convince them. The reason being– sales reps not only have to convince these prospects that your product is the best for them but they also have to show them that it’s much better than the solution they are using. And they have to be convinced to go out of their way and change their operations in order to leverage your solution.

Prospects who are reluctant to change often push back on putting in this kind of effort. And this results in sales reps receiving serious resistance from prospects.

They are afraid of making any mistakes

Some prospects would be reluctant to embrace not just your solution but any solution in general. This resistance stems from their fear of making a mistake with the decisions that they take. Therefore they refuse to make any choice at all. This kind of resistance can be particularly frustrating for the sales reps. Because it can turn a lot of potential deals into non-starters.

Usually, prospects are naturally risk-averse. But, this tendency is even stronger in those people who are faced with making a big purchase on behalf of their company.

Ways to Overcome Objections

1. Break the cliches and pass the ball on to the buyers’ court

Sales calls are often opened with certain cliched sentences by the sales reps such as,

  • Hello (Prospect’s name). How are you doing today?
  • Could I have a few minutes of your time to talk about……..?
  • Is this a good time to talk?
  • I was wondering if you would be interested in …
  • Am I talking to (Prospect’s name)? Hi (name). This is (Rep’s name) from (company name). I’m calling to tell you about … (followed by talking about your business)
  • It’ll only take a minute of your time.
  • I want to talk about …
  • I have a product that can save you money.
  • I’m in the business of making our customers more successful.
  • I want to show you how we could help you …

Buyers often get to hear these same phrases and so they get turned off by hearing them.

When your sales rep calls a buyer, chances are that they are busy doing their work and the sales rep is 99.9% likely to be interrupting them. So, instead of ignoring this fact, sales reps should use it to their advantage.

They could try statements like this: "Hi Lancy? This is Steven Albert from “Company Name”. I know you weren’t expecting my call. have I caught you at a bad time?"

Most of the time people receive sales calls at a bad time. So it would be refreshing if the person who's making the call recognizes this upfront.

Now, when your sales reps use this statement at the beginning of a call, they’re most likely to receive the following answer: A laugh or chuckle, followed by either:

  • "It's always a bad time, but what's up?"
  • Or"Sure it's a bad time, why are you calling?"

The magic in this opening statement is that the sales reps get to throw the ball in the buyers’ court. Now to continue the conversation or not is the buyer’s choice, not the sales rep’s choice.

This way the buyers wouldn’t feel like they are being held hostage in a conversation. It makes them feel like it’s their choice to talk and as a result of this, they will be more likely to listen to the sales rep and participate in the conversation.

2. Give them confidence that you have experience working with similar businesses

If your sales rep contacts a prospect,

  • Who has very little or no information about your company
  • Who is talking with your company’s representative for the very first time

then it’s quite possible that they would be skeptical about talking to you (a random company) on the other side of the sales call.

So your sales rep needs to provide them the confidence that your company has the ability and experience of solving problems that are similar to theirs. Here are various ways to do this,

  • Your sales reps can reference how your product or service has helped similar businesses.
  • They can describe how their industry peers or businesses of similar scale and structure have seen considerable success with your offering.

This gives an appropriate context to your prospects about what they can probably expect as a result of doing business with you. This helps in providing confidence to them about your authenticity.

3. Change your approach

Sales calls should be about the buyer and not about your company. Most buyers are focused on “what’s in it for me”. So ask your sales reps to give it to them right up front.

Ask your sales reps to ensure that their sales conversation is more about the buyers rather than about your company

Here are some ideas that sales reps can use to make their sales conversations buyer-centric:

  • When they call because of a referral, they can use this phrase: "Mark Robinson suggested that we talk."
  • When they make a follow-up call, here is a phrase that they can use to remind the prospect of what they wanted to do: "In our last conversation, you asked me to call today with information on the pricing plan."
  • When they make an outreach call without any reference, they could build a third-party story around people like the buyer, such as: "Sales directors like yourself have been pleased with the improved employee engagement and sales outcomes that they got by using our software. They've told me that …?"
  • When they are not sure who to speak with, they can try this phrase: “Maybe you can help me?" Usually, people do not refuse to help when they're asked for it, so ask your sales reps to make sure that they use that word.
  • In case they get in touch with the gatekeeper of a client they’ve had a hard time contacting, they can try this phrase: "Maybe you can help me? I've been trying to reach Ms. Williams for a week now with no luck. Do you know if there's a best time to call her or find her in her office?"

4. Avoid making assumptions

Sales reps should avoid making broad assumptions about the buyers. They would be starting off on the wrong foot if they tell the buyer why they need your solution. This would then immediately spark reactions like:

  • “You don’t even know me”
  • “How do you know that is going to help me?”
  • “You have no idea about our business’s pain points”

So, instead of assumptive language, sales reps can use examples and questions, such as:

"Nick, sales leaders like you tell me that we've been able to save the new hire sales training cost for them significantly and generate better ROI. Depending on your new hire training requirements, it might be possible that we can do the same for you. Can we discuss your training requirements now?"


In conclusion, I would like to say that the sales reps can build good relationships with the buyers and avoid creating resistance by focusing on two main things during their sales conversations:

  • The buyer’s needs and goals (versus your company’s or sales rep’s goals)
  • Starting a conversation (rather than trying to sell)

These two things will help them to project an open and friendly demeanor and get a warm response instead of encountering resistance.

Want to know the best ways to overcome the sales objections?

Read: 10 Effective Techniques to overcome Sales Objections

Learn about various buyer personas that sales reps usually come across and the ways to handle them efficiently

The 6 Buyer Personas and how to train your team to sell to them

Looking for ideas to make a perfect sales pitch?

Read: 10 Most Effective Sales Pitch Ideas

Published on Tue Jun 29 2021

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