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How to overcome Prospects’ Resistance?

8 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.

  • There’s no budget (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?

If they have never leveraged your solution, how would they possibly know if it’s right for their business or not? This point is particularly pertinent if your solution is relatively new or unique. Consumers rely on other consumers to validate their preferences and decisions in order to reduce risk.

If you don’t have a solid base of customers to vouch for how awesome, effective, and legitimate your product or service is, you might find yourself in a bit of a pinch.

The idea of being the first customer and boldly going where no business has gone before generally isn’t attractive to your average prospect. So if you don’t have a vocal, enthusiastic base who can vouch for your solution, then you might run into some resistance.

They are reluctant to change

Inertia could be a major reason for the prospects’ resistance. And it could be a tougher roadblock for you. Let me explain how: Let’s say a prospect whom you have 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. 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?

Prospects who are stuck in their ways are particularly difficult to sway. And when you’re talking to them, you’re at a major disadvantage. It’s not just that you have to convince them that your product or service is the best one for their business, you have to show them that it’s so much better than their current solution that they should go out of their way and fundamentally alter their current operations to leverage it.

People often push back on putting in that kind of effort particularly when they’re not sure it’s necessary. That can make for some serious resistance from prospects.

They are afraid of making any mistakes

Some prospects aren’t reluctant to embrace your solution so much as they’re reluctant to embrace any solution. This kind of resistance can be particularly frustrating. These prospects are so afraid of making a mistake that they refuse to make a choice at all.

This kind of resistance can put a lot of sales into a limbo that ultimately turns potential deals into non-starters. Most people are naturally risk-averse, and that tendency gets even stronger when they’re 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

Most sellers open their calls with clichés, immediately turning off their prospects.

These are some of the most buyer-repellent statements

  • How are you today?

  • Is this a good time to talk?

  • Could I have a few minutes of your time?

  • I was wondering if maybe you would be interested in …

  • Am I talking to (name). I’m calling to tell you about … (followed by a 2-minute monologue)

  • I’ll only take a minute of your time.

  • I think that I can …

  • 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 would help you …

All the buyers get to hear these same phrases.

When you call a buyer, chances are that they are busy doing their work and you’re 99.9% likely to be interrupting them. So, instead of ignoring this fact, use it to your advantage.

You 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.

When you use this statement at the beginning of a call, you’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 you throw the ball in the buyers’ court. Now continuing the conversation with you is their choice, not yours.

When the buyer feels like they are being held hostage in a conversation, they tune out and start planning their escape. When it's their choice the two of you are talking, however, they're far more likely to listen to what you have to say and participate.

2. Let them know you have experience with similar businesses

If you contact a prospect,

  • Who has very little or no information about you

  • Who is talking with you 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 you need to provide them the confidence that you have the ability and experience of solving problems that are similar to theirs. Here are various ways to do this,

  • Reference how your product or service has helped similar businesses.
  • 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 are about the buyer, not about you. So, I would suggest that you make the conversation more about the buyers rather than about your company

Your buyer is focused on “what’s in it for me”. So give it to them right upfront.

Try some of the following ideas:

  • If you're calling because of a referral, use the reference's name first, as in: "Mark Robinson suggested we talk."
  • If it's a follow-up call, remind them what they wanted you to do: "The last time we spoke, you asked me to call today with pricing information."
  • If this is an outreach call and you don’t have a reference, build a third-party story focused on people like your 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 …?"
  • If you don't know who you should be talking to, try a question, like: Maybe you can help me?" People usually have a difficult time refusing help when they're asked for it, so make sure you use that word.
  • If you reach the gatekeeper of a client you've had a hard time contacting, try:"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 find her in her office?"

4. Drop Assumptions

Be careful about making broad assumptions about the buyers. You would be starting off on the wrong foot if you tell them why they need you. 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 what you’re talking about.”

Replace this assumptive language with examples and questions, such as:

"Nick, business owners like you tell me that we've been able to save them money on their printing costs. Depending on your printing requirements, it might be possible that we can do the same for you. Can we discuss your printing requirements now?"

Ultimately, you can build a relationship and avoid creating resistance by focusing on two key things going into a call:

  • The buyer’s needs and goals (versus your own)

  • Starting a conversation (rather than trying to sell)

These two areas will help you relax and project an open, friendly demeanor. Instead of encountering resistance, you’ll get a warm response.


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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