As Josh Braun says, objections carry two meanings: They’re either true or false. They either mean what they say, or it’s a polite way to get us off the phone because they don’t want to be the bearers of bad news. When you treat a real objection like a brush-off, you upset your prospects, and you’re potentially burning bridges.

I’ll take you through my learnings on how we can detect the real reason behind someone telling us they’re not interested in our products/services without annoying them through an empathy-first approach.

The secret language of customers

How many of us have worked as a Director, Vice President, or Function Leader to actually understand the roles on a deep level? When they shop for software, they’re not having internal discussions around searching for “End to End Cutting Edge Sales Engagement Platform with a power dialer, Google Chrome plugin, LinkedIn Sales Navigator Integrations”

They just want to get their jobs done. Period.

They have meetings around “reducing manual work of updating the CRM”, “how to get SDRs more organized with their outreach”, and “getting SDRs speaking the language marketing wants”

Here’s how you learn their language:

  • Subscribe to newsletters your prospects would
  • Attend conferences/webinars your prospects would
  • Read yours and your competitor’s product’s reviews on G2, Gartner, TrustRadius, and Capterra
  • Tune into podcasts your prospects would like to listen to
  • Sign up for a free trial of your competitor's product/service
  • Lurk around your competitor’s website more than your own
  • Read competitor’s case studies and compare them with yours
  • Watch customer testimonials of competitors and understand why they rave about your competition
  • Interview your customers using the Jobs-to-be-done framework (Idea is to understand what motivated them to choose your product, what the before/after state is, and using their language in cold outreach)

Speak the language of your customers using the above pointers and you can have more conversations.

More contacts -> More calls -> More conversations -> More meetings -> More money


Crazy busy days

A few months back, we announced our Series A funding to the world. I still remember how busy the lives of Outplayers got, let alone our marketing team. I remember getting a cold call in the middle of that week and I didn’t even listen to anything. I hung up immediately.

Why? Because I did not have time for anything else during that week.

An average decision-maker gets 200-300 emails, 100+ calls, 10-15 voicemails(VM) - all in 1 day. With VM automation tools like Outplay, voicemail machines are almost always full.

Factor that in when you reach out - If you got hung up, or if they did not listen to you even after speaking their language, talking about a problem they have, they probably were just busy.

Let go. Call another day. I’ve seen amazing turnarounds in prospect behaviour when they’re given their space and time.

How to get through:

“Is it a horrible idea to spend a minute to understand why based on my research I’m reaching out to you?”

It’s a 50-50 here. If it was a brush-off, they would listen to you. If it wasn’t, they are going to restate how busy they are. Pick another time from them. Drop a 5-min calendar invite and hang up.

Happy with what they have

Anyone making cold outreach should understand that only 3% of their TAM is actively shopping for their service/product. 97% of buyers don’t want cold calls and emails in their inboxes. They’re getting their job done in the best way they know.

This is where illuminating a hidden problem becomes important. If your motive on every cold outreach attempt is to book a meeting with the next steps and full-fledged evaluation, you’re going to make your prospects unhappy.

Lead with a mindset -

“I’m not for everyone”

“Not everyone can buy this quarter”

“Talking people into things does not work”

How to get through:

Step 1: Label it - “Sounds like you’re doing great with X”

Step 2: “Problem with using X for a company of your size is, SalesOps/RevOps is a hat either Bill or you would wear part-time outside of running the sales team. In case things go wrong, you cannot always afford to pay 500$/hour for support just to poke around what went wrong and tell you what to fix.

Would you be opposed to keeping your options open so you have something to fall back on in the future?”

Poor timing

I’ve heard this so many times when I cold-call people: “We just implemented X. Had you called me 2-months back, I would’ve seriously considered Outplay”

How to get through:

-“Thanks for your update, {{firstname}}. Do you know when your contract is up for renewal?”
- “Thanks for letting me know. Would you be open to comparing your experience with X 3-months prior to your evaluation? We can cancel if you’re over the moon happy with them even then”

9 times out of 10, prospects are okay with this because everyone, literally everyone, wants to get better; have more options to choose from; foolproof their future.

Not a good fit

Salesforce has created a legacy and movement in the world. Even Salesforce isn’t for everyone, and Hubspot today has 100K customers across the globe. Just like that, Outplay need not be a good fit for everyone. No one size fits all.

When you realize it’s not a good fit for the prospect, it’s best to stop the engagement and move on to the next account so everyone has their time saved.

Just a bad day

Do you get headaches? Your dog is running into meetings? Kids participating in your presentation with leadership? What happens if you get a cold call in the middle of this?

Empathize. Move on.

Reach back another time. They will remember you if you actually broke through the noise the first time.

How to get through:

People are mostly specific about what they’re going through.

For example, they tell you - “I can’t talk now, I’m on my way to the hospital”

Rather than saying any of the below -

“I understand, when is a better time?”

“I understand, when can I call you back later?”

“No problem, I’ll put a calendar invite for next week”

Say this -

“Is everything okay?”

And mean it. Empathy cannot be faked. If you try to fake it, your prospects will know.