While many things don’t surprise me these days, I’m still truly amazed at how poorly salespeople prepare themselves for their phone activity, such as making follow up calls as well as cold calls. And then to their shocking surprise, they wonder why it doesn’t work. “It must be cold calling. Cold calling doesn’t work.”
The fact is, cold calling works tremendously well and is alive and an integral part of the sales strategy for many companies. It’s the process you’re using that doesn’t work.
And one thing that doesn’t’ work is how most people attempt to defuse objections, especially when it comes down to overcoming and defusing the most common of all objections, which every salesperson who’s ever made a cold call has heard, regardless of industry, product or profession; and that is, “I’m not interested.”
Of course their not interested. After all, when you call on someone for the first time, they have no idea what you are even offering or what you can do for them. So, when you hear this objection, which is heard quite often before you can even share any compelling benefit or result they would or could experience from your product or service, keep in mind that it’s purely robotic when any prospect responds with “I’m not interested.” It’s their immediate, innate, visceral reaction for them to say this, especially with the constant bombardment of unsolicited inbound calls they get each day. Soon, screening out all of these calls becomes a habit, without them even listening to what is being said.
So, if we know that the majority of the time we’re going to here this reaction once the prospect realizes it is in fact a cold call, it only makes sense for us to better prepare a highly effective response that may turn the “I’m not interested” into an authentic dialogue which can then lead to uncovering a truly qualified and interested prospect.
Before I share with you my number one most powerful response that you can start using to defuse this objection, here are a few responses that I’ve heard and been the victim of; as the recipient of many a botched and unprofessional cold calls.
If you call on someone, lets face it, we’re interrupting them. So, it makes sense for their resistance to be a bit on the higher side, until we’re able to demonstrate some value and what is in it for them. Now as you can imagine, being someone who’s written a book on cold calling, I’m always curious and willing to listen, from a purely academic ear and sales coaching perspective, what other salespeople are saying to generate more prospects.
Typically, it’s pretty bad. So after allowing them to share what they are offering, I will then tell them if it is something that I feel isn’t a fit for me, that I am truly not interested. Here are some of the responses salespeople have shot back which destroyed any opportunity for our conversation to continue any further.
First, here’s what not to say when you hear the objection, “I’m not interested.”
“You’re not interested in saving money?” – These rhetorical questions are just annoying and insult people’s intelligence.
“You have enough business you can handle?” – At this point in our relationship and the sarcastic tone of voice in which you’ve asked this question, whether I did or did not, why should I tell you?
“You’re lying.” – No joke. Someone actually said this to me when I told her I didn’t need her services. This made me totally warm and fuzzy all over, just wanting to embrace what she had to say next.
“What aren’t you interested in?” – This question does nothing but dig a deeper hole into the problem, as that is where the focus of this question is and why the person you just called is imminently going to hang up on you.
“I didn’t tell you what we can do for you yet so how can you say you’re not interested?” – Oh, I’m sorry, am I now obligated to explain myself to you?
These responses do nothing but offend your prospects, put them on the defensive and bring the conversation to a complete halt.
Now that we’ve established what not to do, lets come up with something you can use today. Keep in mind, when the prospect says, “I’m not interested” they may not have heard your initial value proposition either because you didn’t have a chance to share it with them yet or maybe you did but because they smelled a cold call their automatic filter goes up which overshadowed your message. This is why after hearing this objection, rather than saying, “Thank you” or “Do you know someone who may be interested” you need to recap your valuable and compelling offering and say it again, this time in a different way, in a way that they might be able to hear it the second time around. (Remember, they may not have heard you the first time due to their cold calling filter being on high.)
Here’s how you can then respond to this objection in a way that’s going to allow you to have more effective conversations with every prospect you call on. After you hear, “I’m not interested” respond with the following dialogue. Keep in mind, you will need to create three of your top compelling reasons as to why they would want to speak with you in the first place.
So, lets say you were a sales manager who I called about offering sales coaching to your team. When I opened up the call, I didn’t have a chance to get through my fist sentence before I heard, “I’m not interested.” Rather than just give up, here’s how I would respond to create a new opening that would continue our dialogue.
“Mr./Mrs.____, with your experience and what you’ve seen, I know it may be hard to believe this now, but what if there was a way for you to:
(State Your Three Top Compelling Reasons or State The Three Goals/Objectives That The Prospect Shared)
1. Double your current lead flow
2. Increase your sales by a minimum of 37% and
3. Reduce your sales cycle by 50% so that you can close more sales faster.
Would even the possibility of achieving these results be important enough to explore in more detail?”
Keep in mind, this strategy can also be used practically any time throughout your sales cycle to defuse this objection as well as several others. Now that you’ve delivered not one but three unique compelling benefits in a different format, you are now creating the environment to break through the prospect’s listening filter and barriers to cold calls, which is now going to open up a new possibility with a prospect who you may have initially thought should be put on your ‘do not call list.’ Now, you’ve uncovered a brand new selling opportunity that you would never have noticed before.