The Harsh Reality of Objection Handling

harsh reality of objection handling

Recently we embedded Tableau into Abstrakt, our call coaching software, as a means of starting to visualize our customer’s data in an anonymized fashion. The data on objection handling was surprising.

The goal being, we wanted to start to understand the similarities amongst our customers in order to build templates for all future customers to take advantage of.

What we found was surprising.

Candidly, it should not have been surprising as if I think back to my early days as a Sales Development Representative (SDR), the data from Abstrakt points almost exactly to the memories of my early days of cold calling.

Objection Handling 101

We have watched as our customers build out Recommended Responses for every competitor known, every product or technical question possible, and every buyer persona they can think of.

What often gets forgotten about is the same five objections, across all of our customers, that are regularly given to SDRs trying to book meetings. Sales Enablement software providers stress the importance of competitive battlecards and in-depth product decks being handy for every stage of the revenue lifecycle.

However, the same goes for sales coaching techniques. They stress the importance of being armed with pattern interrupt techniques for every scenario in which you are fighting from behind against a stronger competitor.

Welcome to Reality

The reality is, competitors come up on less than 1% of all sales development calls. No matter how much sales coaching you do, it’s not going to make them come up more often.

Look at the data.

Product-related questions come up on about 4% of calls.

Plus a mixed bag of a handful of other objections are faced, rounding out the 9% of objections faced.

So what are the objections that come up more than 91% of the time regardless of industry, buyer persona, or product? How are my SDRs handling these objections?

  • How did you get my number
  • I’m in a meeting
  • I’m not the right person/contact
  • I no longer work there
  • Can you call me back?

Let’s Dive Deeper into Call Coaching Software

According to Hubspot, the connection rate on cold calls is 28%.

Let’s use simple numbers for illustration purposes.

28 out of every 100 people called resulted in a conversation.

25 out of those 28 calls receive one out of the five objections above.

Most call coaching software providers are capable of proving this data to be accurate, the problem then becomes from a sales coaching perspective how do you move the needle on those 25 connections that face the same five objections, over and over again?

Maybe the bigger question is, why is so much emphasis placed on product knowledge or competitive offerings when the likelihood of an objection oriented to one of those two is next to zero?

Thinking back to my time as a SDR, the objection handling was almost always one of these five, and that was eight years ago.

The manner in which people brush off cold calls hasn’t changed.

What Sales Coaching Should I Focus On?

Think back to the last time you and your team role played.

Was the focus on qualification questions? Maybe competitive scenarios? Or maybe it was product/feature related talk tracks. How much time was spent role playing a prospect saying “I’m in a meeting – call me back.”

Based upon the fact that only 13% of our customers have a Recommended Response for this objection, I’m guessing not much.

So, how should these objections be handled?

  • How did you get my number? Be honest, tell them how you got their number. ZoomInfo, SalesIntel, Seamless… Just tell them. Builds instant credibility.
  • I’m in a meeting. No worries, can you tell me when you have a 5 minute break in your schedule today for me to call you back?
  • I’m not the right person/contact. Thank you for letting me know. Do you happen to know who might be?
  • I no longer work there. My information must be outdated, do you happen to know who now has responsibility for XYZ?
  • Can you call me back? Absolutely, out of respect for your time, what time today works best for you?

This is what sales coaching should be focused on.

Why Real-Time Call Coaching Software Is Better

This is what real-time call coaching software should be configured to deliver.

At a time when companies are talking about layoffs, every interaction and connection must be optimized for conversion.

Most call coaching software providers are only providing insights after these interactions take place. It is time to move the sales coaching to be real-time as a means of impacting the objections your team is being faced with 91% of the time.

Try Abstrakt’s real-time call coaching software so your SDRs objection handling is spot on every time.


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