Sales Mindset: Handling Objections Gracefully

A sales mindset is your approach to initiating conversations. There is no one size fits all approach, but you can learn and create your best practices.

One of the most common elements of successful cold calls is how you start the conversation – a sales mindset. The prospect isn’t expecting your call, and if you want them to listen to you, the focus must be on them, not yourself.

The polarity needs to be prospect speaks first, and you listen. Most calls start with Beta vs. Alpha. For example,

“You don’t know me but…” = Beta (focus is on the caller, not the prospect)

“The reason for my call is…” The focus is on the seller (Beta)

Let’s understand the polarity in more detail.

Power: Finding out who is in charge

Putting effort into remembering your prospects’ names and pronouncing them right can be a pleasant start to fruitful conversations. The above prompts are seller-centric instead of giving the limelight to prospects.

Instead of beating around the bush, you can start by asking specific questions that trigger your prospects to excise their power. When you ask a question like “Who’s in charge of your sales strategy?” the polarity shifts towards discussing the prospects. It could be any question that focuses on the prospect.

Routing Leverage: Immediately!

If you call a sales leader and ask, “Who is in charge of your sales strategy?” The answer is obvious. It could also be offending. You have their LinkedIn profile to answer this question. Yet, most reply by saying “I am” or making an immediate referral.

Another approach could be to introduce the purpose of the call. For example, “I’m calling to talk about growing your sales pipeline and hoping to speak to the person in charge of sales strategy.” In this approach, you’re not pitching directly. You’re initiating a conversation.

This sales mindset is about knowing who is in charge and routing the conversation toward them. Based on our example, not everyone in an organization is in charge of sales strategy or pipeline. You are routing the conversation toward the decision maker, which could also be the prospect you’re calling.

Flip The Script: Turning polarity into traction

Instead of convincing and persuading prospects to choose your solution, find out their current process, even if they’re using a competitor’s product/service.

Ask, “How’s it working out?” And listen. 

When they tell you about the competitor or their journey, validate the prospects’ experience. Let them know they’re right.

Route-Ruin-Multiply call framework ensures you get them to talk (ROUTE) and explain their existing process (RUIN). While you’re validating their story and engaging them in a conversation about them, you may see a polarity shift when they ask, “Wait, what does your product do?”

When the polarity shifts, you have traction.

You now have their attention, desire, and interest. It’s all about action now.

NOTE: A problem laid out by a prospect is often a system of underlying issues.

Let’s understand the sales objections you can come across.

Sales Objections

Sales objections increase the complexity for sales reps. Prospects can be too passive or too adversarial, but there is a fine line between showing apprehension when you pitch. As a sales professional, you must develop a defense against survival-driven tendencies. Adding mindfulness can be an essential addition to their arsenal. Here are some tried-and-true sales strategies to uplift your objection-handling skills. 

Strategies for overcoming sales objections

We isolated the seven most effective strategies to overcome sales objections:

  • Method 1: Do preliminary research.
  • Method 2: Use tactical empathy.
  • Method 3: Use mirroring.
  • Method 4: Use open-ended questioning.
  • Method 5: Use (mis)labeling.
  • Method 6: Avoid talking about the product itself.
  • Method 7: Use a trial-close.

Method 1: Preliminary research

Researching prospects before approaching them can ease objection handling. It enables you to break the ice and understand their expectations beforehand. To handle the objections easily, you must focus on engaging in conversation rather than debate. A research-driven approach can empower natural conversations instead of forced ones. 

Here are some best practices for preliminary research

  • Identify their existing technology stack to start relevant conversations. You can understand what they’re already familiar with. 
  • Uncover unknowns during the early stage of the conversations. Instead of showing your eagerness to close another meeting, you need to identify everything necessary to start a fruitful relationship. 
  • Keep a note of red flags, even though it may be tempting to feel like you’re moving toward a deal. 
  • Instead of assuming the objections uncover the potential pain points during the early discovery or prospecting phase. 

Method 2: Tactical Empathy

Empathizing with a prospect by understanding their goals. You can help them accomplish their goals. It’s important to make them feel like you both are working towards the same goal. 

Best practices for tactical empathy: 

  • Strategically listen and formulate responses to the objections. You don’t need to talk over them and directly address their concerns. 
  • Respond to their queries. You need to be attentive while listening. Use phrases like “I understand…”

Points to avoid: 

  • Prospect: I’ve never trusted cloud. 
  • Rep: It’s fully compliant in [ABC} ways. I can share documentation. Can you go through them?
  • Prospect: I’m not interested. [The call gets dropped because you have not addressed their concern.]

Try this instead: 

    • Prospect: I’ve never trusted cloud. 
    • Rep: May I ask why?
    • Prospect: I don’t have any reason. I just don’t. 
    • Rep: I can understand. Have you done any research on compliance in your industry?
  • Prospect: I’ve Googled a bit, but not thoroughly. 
  • Rep: What kind of information can help put you at ease?
  • Prospect: I would like to see organizations from a similar industry that have gone through this. 
  • Rep: Of course! I can send you case studies and even connect you to Mr. Y from [similar company] to discuss his experience. 
  • Prospect: That’ll be very helpful. Thank you!

In the second scenario, the sales rep uses open-ended questions to respond to the prospect. Throughout the conversation, it’s important to speak as little as possible. The conversation is not about you but about the prospect. Your agenda is to gather information, and you need to allow the prospect to share instead of you talking. 

Method 3: Mirroring

Mirroring is a method where you recycle words or phrases used by the prospect. It allows you to build rapport with them by letting them know that you are listening. It subconsciously makes them believe you are more like them. 

How to do it?

You can repeat certain phrases, expressions, and/or statements by your customers while interacting with them. For example, “So what I understand is that… (include their objection)”

Mirroring can help you gather valuable information and identify gaps to address them immediately. Even though it may seem uncomfortable to repeat your prospects’ exact words, how you do it can make a difference. You need to be gentle and thoughtful instead of pushy or overly inquisitive. 

Method 4: Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions begin with “How, When, Who, What, and Why.” They can make a prospect offer information that you may not be able to ask directly, along with increasing the possibility of them sharing more. It makes prospects feel empowered to answer how they choose rather than simply replying with a yes or no question. 

Note: The “Why” questions can require technical answers or sound accusing, putting the prospect on the defensive. 

Quick Tips:

  • Instead of starting with Do/Does, Would, Is/Are, start with How, When, Who, What, and Why
  • Unless you know the prospect or have a good relationship, avoid asking a “Why” question. It may sound rude or accusing instead of assertive. 
  • Example questions: “How can we move forward?” “Who needs to be looped in to take this forward?” “What features would you need to get this work for you?”

Method 5: Use (mis)labeling

Mislabeling allows sales reps to acknowledge and accurately label a challenge back to the prospect. A cold prospect is more likely to respond to a mislabel. For example:
Prospect: I don’t understand why this can’t happen!”

SDR: “I understand why you must ask for an exception. However, if we do it, your challenge may not be completely addressed.” 

Method 6: Avoid Talking about the Product

When you avoid talking about the product but create hypothetical scenarios that can benefit prospects, it helps in lowering their guard. It enables you to win their trust by showing a glimpse of how you would address their pain points. 

Tips to Remember:

  • Focus on prospect pain points that your product can address. 
  • List out the benefits or opportunities it creates instead of specific product features. 
  • Talk about the achievable goals with the product. 

Some examples, 

  • “Imagine the time you’d save if you didn’t have to send emails manually”
  • “What if I told you that your towel needs only 10 mins to dry?!”

Method 7: Use a trial-close

A trial close ensures that you clearly understand the objection and have addressed all the key concerns. You can use sentences like, “So are you saying if we addressed the following concerns, you’d be able to take this deal forward?”

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