8 minutes
September 27, 2023

Common cold call objections & how to handle them

Cold calling objection handling can be intimidating. But like any skill, it can be learned and mastered. Here are some common cold call objections and how best to handle them.
Austin McCarty
Sales Development Representative
Table of Contents

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Key Takeaways

  • During a cold call, one of the best things you can do is empathize with objections by understanding the underlying concerns, such as satisfaction with current solutions.
  • You can also use open-ended questions to explore and uncover deeper needs or pain points that your product or service can address, shifting the conversation from dismissal to engagement.
  • If you can get someone back on your side by validating and understanding their objection, focus on following up with more value and while building rapport and trust.

Despite all of the disruption that’s occurred over the last few decades, one age-old sales tactic continues to stand the test of time: cold calling.

Often considered a foundational sales technique, cold calling remains a dynamic and essential strategy for SaaS sales teams wishing to connect with potential customers.

However, as every sales rep knows too well, cold calling is not without its challenges; in fact, quite the contrary. From navigating gatekeepers and dealing with rejection to adapting to changing consumer behaviors and educating potential customers about problems they didn’t know they had, there’s no shortage of obstacles reps encounter during cold calls.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most common cold calling objections sales reps encounter — and some cold calling tips that can help you overcome them.

10 most common cold call objections

While the following list is by no means exhaustive, here are some of the common objections sales reps encounter — along with some cold calling best practices that can help you push through them.  

Objection #1: “I’m not interested” or “This doesn’t seem like a fit.”

This objection typically indicates a lack of perceived value or relevance of your products. To overcome it, start by empathizing with your counterpart’s concerns and then ask open-ended questions to uncover their pain points: What’s the most frustrating part of your day? Tailor your pitch to show how your solution addresses the prospect’s specific needs. If possible, share real-world customer success stories that illustrate how your product has delivered value in similar situations.

How you can respond:

“I totally understand, it might not seem like a good fit right now, but businesses are always changing strategies, and with the increased competition and slowing market, wouldn't it make sense to take a deeper look to have some more information in your back pocket to make sure you’re getting the most out of your current tools?”

Objection #2: “I don’t have the budget for something like this.”

In any economic climate, budget objections are common. Luckily, they can be overcome by demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI). If you hear this cold calling objection, highlight how your product can help the prospect save money or generate revenue. While you’re at it, offer flexible payment options and incentives — like installment plans or discounts for longer-term commitments. If you’re able to, provide a cost-benefit analysis that illustrates the financial benefits of your solution.

How you can respond:

“I hear you, a lot of companies I speak with are telling me budgets are tight right now with economic uncertainty and this down market. Do you possibly know when your renewal date is up for [competitor or similar product] or when it would make more sense to sit down and take a deeper dive?”

Objection #3: “We already have something like this.”

When prospects tell you they are using a similar solution, focus on how your product is different. What unique features does your solution offer? Perhaps better performance or cost-effectiveness. Whatever the case may be, share examples of how your product has outperformed competitors and helped clients achieve better results. Consider offering a free trial that enables the prospect to take your product for a test drive without making any major commitments.

How you can respond:

"I totally get it, but I was curious when was the last time you compared cost and efficiency to your current tool? We are helping companies like [similar company] fix [pain point] at a lower cost with more output. Would you be opposed to sitting down to see how we can do this together?"

Objection #4: “I need to consult with my team.”

This cold outreach objection suggests that the target company uses collaborative decision-making to buy software. If you hope to land a new account, you need to respect their process and offer to provide any materials that can help them make the pitch to their colleagues. One way to overcome this objection is by requesting a meeting with the larger team. By showing up with a compelling presentation that addresses pain points and highlights the benefits of your solution, you can clearly demonstrate the value of your product and hopefully close the deal.

How you can respond:

“That's fair, how about we toss some tentative time on your calendar next week, and once you have some time to talk to your team, we can readjust that date or jump on another call? What day works for you to regroup”

Objection #5: “This isn’t something we’re focused on right now.”

When prospects dismiss you by nodding to other priorities, reframe your pitch and highlight the immediate relevance and urgency of your solution. What are the prospect’s pain points, and what happens if they don’t make any changes? Connect your solution to the current challenges and goals the prospect is focused on and highlight how your product can help them achieve their objectives more efficiently and effectively. If you can, share customer success stories that emphasize the importance of addressing the pain points quickly.

How you can respond:

"No problem. If you were, you would probably be giving me a call. But as you know, technology in this sector is always changing and evolving, so it’s important to stay ahead of what’s out there. Would you be opposed to sitting down and having a strictly informational conversation to benchmark your current process, and if it makes sense, we can connect later down the line when this becomes a bigger priority for you or the team?” 

Objection #6: “This isn’t a good time. Can you send me something?”

In a world that moves faster every day, people being busy shouldn’t surprise you. If you hear this cold calling objection, respect the prospect’s time but try to lock down a commitment for a future meeting. Ask them what time works best for their schedule, and be as flexible as you can be. Once the follow-up meeting arrives, make sure you are well-prepared and ready to address needs and concerns.

How you can respond:

“[Prospect name], before I let you go, do you mind if I give you 20 seconds of context to my call to see if it even makes sense to send you an email or give you a callback?”

Objection #7: “I’m not the decision-maker.” 

Next time you encounter this objection, kindly ask the prospect whether they can connect you with whoever the decision-maker is: Might you be able to introduce me to the decision-maker? Prepare materials that the prospect can share with that person ahead of a potential meeting to convey the value of your products. Be patient and understanding, but emphasize that you are eager to connect to discuss how your products can meet the organization’s needs.

How you can respond:

“I understand you might not be the decision maker but it looks like from your job title that this would benefit you and your team. Would you mind telling me a little more about your day-to-day or, even better, toss me an introduction over to the person who controls [decision].”

Objection #8: “I’ve never heard of you.”

According to one recent study, 82% of consumers buy products from brands they already know about. The same idea holds true in the world of software sales. When you encounter this objection, you need to establish credibility and trust. To do this, share information about your company’s history, achievements, partnerships, and any recognition or awards you’ve received. Other references — including case studies and customer testimonials — can be helpful, too. Explain how your solution can help the prospect solve their problems and why it’s worth considering even if they haven’t heard of you before.

How you can respond:

“We are very similar to companies like [Competitor 1] & [Competitor 2]. I see you are currently using [Competitor]. We differ from these companies by offering [Value prop]. If we can help with [Challenge/Problem], would you be opposed to sitting down sometime next week with myself and your account executive to see if it makes sense to continue a conversation?”

Objection #9: “I used your product before and I didn’t like it” or “I like [competitor] more.”

If you hear this objection, acknowledge it while expressing regret that they didn’t have a positive experience in the past. Highlight improvements or updates that your team has made in the interim, and share any customer success stories and testimonials that demonstrate your product’s value. Here, free trials and other incentives can be particularly helpful in convincing a prospect to give you another shot.

How you can respond:

“If you don't mind me asking, what turned you off from [company/service] the last time you used it? Over the past couple of quarters, we've been making strides to make improvements. Would you be opposed to sitting down to take a look at how we have improved from [time period]?"

Objection #10: “I’m not comfortable giving more information.”

Not every prospect is keen on divulging company secrets or sharing information with cold callers, which is perfectly understandable. In this instance, reassure the prospect that your call is confidential and explain how the information you’re asking for will be used — e.g., to offer a unique solution to the organization’s specific pain points. Highlight the benefits that the prospect will receive in return for providing the information, like a more personalized demo. By being transparent about your data-handling practices and your compliance with data privacy regulations, you can build trust and alleviate the prospect’s concerns.

"Definitely understand, by no means am I asking you to spill any company secrets. Was asking because typically when I talk to people in a similar role, they find interest in [pain point], and how we can help with [pain point]. Is that something that you or your team are currently looking into?"

Take your cold calling game to the next level!

Now that you have a better idea about how to navigate some of the most common cold outreach objections, it’s time to continue sharpening your cold calling skills.

When you’re ready, here are some resources you may want to check out:

Happy cold calling!