Salespeople perpetually fight an uphill battle against rejection and adversity. Rejections loom especially large at the beginning of sales cycles. In 2007, it took an average of 3.7 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, according to research by TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group. Fast forward to today and it takes an average of 8 attempts! The rejection leaves a nasty, lasting sting. Deterred by rejection, the average sales rep makes a mere two attempts to reach a prospect before giving up, according to research by Sirius Decisions.
Rejection and adversity are not confined to the early parts of the sales funnel. Buyers hurl objections at salespeople with a vengeance. “I don’t have the budget for your product”, “I don’t have the authority to sign off on this”, “Competitor X says your solution has performance issues”. The list of common objections uttered by buyers spans the full gamut.
Objection handling—when a salesperson responds to a customer’s concern about a product or service in a way that eases the concern and effectively moves the sales cycle forward – is a key criterion for success in sales. Fortunately, there are some key tactics and strategies that can help salespeople tackle objections.
When salespeople are confronted by rejection, they often view it as a personal assault and, in an attempt of self-preservation, they become survival-driven. In his book Mindsight, Daniel Siegel explains that “feeling threatened takes over our perception”. It causes us to revert to a state of fight or flight and become