Cold calling objections and responses differ from what a salesperson might hear and say when closing. Instead of convincing the prospect to buy, the goal is to find out if your solution is a good fit for them and demonstrate that it’s worth learning more about.
A good sales development rep will use objections as an opportunity to find out more about their prospect, address uncertainties, and reiterate the benefits of their solution.
Most SDRs will encounter the common appointment setting objections included in this post at some point. If you want to set more sales meetings, you need to know the best way to respond in each situation.
Below, we’ve listed some of the best objection rebuttals our SDRs use to ignite curiosity and get prospects talking.
Common cold calling objections
& best responses to use
1. “I’m the wrong person to talk to.”
Your first instinct should be to use the wrong contact as a springboard for finding the right contact.
“Then maybe you can help me out. Do you happen to know who I should speak with?”
If you can’t get a referral, or the person you’re speaking to doesn’t know the name to give you, try to get some sort of direction for your next attempt. They likely have insight into which business unit handles the processes that your solution supports.
“Which department or team would be most relevant for me to try to reach out to?”
And if you can’t get any direction from the contact, do your best to leave a good impression. Even if you know this person will never buy your product or have a say in the purchase, you never know what kind of conversations they’re having within their company.
“Would it be appropriate if I sent you some information on our company to pass along to the correct folks?”
2. “I’m too busy right now.”
When prospects use this objection, what they often mean is “my time would be better spent elsewhere.” The objective here is to prove that your solution is worthy of their limited time.
The first approach is to dive deeper into prospect discovery to uncover exactly how much value your offering could provide.
“What projects are you currently working on?”
B2B buyers grant the most time to matters that will give them the highest return. So use this new discovery to show the prospect how your solution could help solve the business challenges you uncover. Use concrete numbers, when possible, to demonstrate the kind of results you could deliver. For example:
Prospect: We’re in the middle of a big retention initiative. We’re aiming to renew over 200 of our largest customer accounts, and we only have 2 months to do it.
SDR: Sounds like a busy time! If you’re interested, I can give you some info on how EBQ has helped clients retain over 80% of their customers with direct outbound efforts.
Of course, be considerate and recognize when the objection should be taken at face value. If you’ve caught your prospect at a bad time, here are some polite alternate responses:
“When would be a better time to call back and discuss this subject?”
“Would it be okay if I sent you some information on our company to keep in your files, in the event the need to chat comes up?”
3. “I’m not interested.”
This objection is typically a knee-jerk reaction that happens once your contact realizes they’ve answered a sales call. Remember, this person made it on your contact list for a reason: they match the profile of buyers who are interested in your offering.
Use this salesperson-averse prospect as a primary source for learning what buyers in their position care about most.
“I understand. I’m curious to know, though, what could I have said about this topic that might have actually interested you?”
With any luck, the information they provide could help you steer the conversation in a direction they consider “more interesting.” Worst case scenario, you get some solid feedback for your opening value statement.
4. “Is this a sales call?”
If you’re not careful, this question will be a precursor to the dreaded “I’m not interested” objection. But as an SDR, you’re not calling to sell to them. You’re calling to tell them about a product or service that might help their day-to-day life, and offer an opportunity to learn more about it.
As such, your response should reassure them that you’re simply trying to help in their pursuit of an easier life. The first step is to confirm that they’re one of the people in their organization who would benefit.
“I am not in a sales capacity at [company name]. I actually support our marketing efforts here and am calling to see if [area of expertise] is something you’re tasked with overseeing.”
You can also leverage past attempts to contact them in order to stir up familiarity and a sense of helpfulness.
“I’m following up on an email I sent your way to see if [area of expertise] is an area that you or your team deals with. Can I take 60 seconds to tell you a bit about our company, and how our customers benefit from a relationship with us, to see if it makes sense to speak again at some point in the future?”
5. “Just send me some information.”
This objection can be a good or bad sign—it’s hard to tell without proper discovery. Your contact may be using it to get you off the phone, but at least they’ve opened themselves up to learning more.
It’s better to give them the run-down while they’re on the line, so you can gauge their interest. Let them know you’ll make it quick.
“Can we take just 60 seconds right now for me to explain what we do and how our customers benefit from a relationship with [company name], and then you can then decide if it’s worth a follow up?”
If you’ve already explained the offering and they’re asking for more info, pitch them the sales meeting.
“Typically, we find people get more value from a short conference call or solution demonstration to learn about who we are and how you can benefit from working with us.”
These alternate responses can help you gather more discovery information and qualify the contact:
“I have tons of information I can send your way, but I don’t want to clog up your inbox. Is there something specific I said that you are interested in seeing more information on?”
“Great, I will send some information your way. Can I call you back in a week to see if you had a chance to review it and answer any questions you might have at that point? What day and time works best for you?”
This last response sequence creates a backdoor path to setting the sales appointment. Make sure you get the information you need to qualify the contact before ending the call.
6. “We already have something in place.”
This objection tells you that the prospect has a need for a solution like yours, but that you have some competition.
However, cold calls are not the time for an exhaustive side-by-side competitor comparison. The main objective here is to trigger your prospect’s curiosity about what they might be missing out on.
First, find out what you’re up against. This discovery will be vital information for sales later:
“Have you brought in a 3rd party solution to help with this area? Who?”
These next responses allow you to amplify their concern about opportunities they may be missing, as well as steer the discussion toward setting an appointment.
“Have you been satisfied with the return you are receiving on the investment in this area?”
“I think it would prove beneficial to spend 20-30 minutes with us to allow us to share how we compare and contrast to your current solution, so you can make a fully informed decision on future selection in this area. Are you open sometime in the next few weeks for a quick call?”
Sometimes overcoming this objection is a matter of choosing a time that works best for your contact (and allows you to intercept the account from your competition):
“I would love to call you back at a better time when this particular subject is up for review again. Do you have a renewal coming up in the next year or two when it would make sense to revisit this conversation?”
Their existing solution may not be a direct competitor of yours—they could be using simple spreadsheets instead of a competing software provider, for example. It’s helpful to know how your solution stacks up against each of the available alternatives, so you can leverage the right value proposition to close on the meeting.
7. “We don’t have the budget for anything.”
Odds are that most of the people you cold call won’t have your solution listed in their quarterly budget.
This conversation is possibly the first time this contact has heard about your solution or considered their need for it, so it makes sense that they haven’t planned to spend money on it.
The strategy for handling this objection involves 1. being considerate of their current limitations and 2. getting them thinking about long-term ROI from their business purchases.
“I completely understand. It would be a gold nugget for me to find someone who is actually budgeted for a project in this area.
What I am really trying to accomplish is market education. We’d just like the opportunity to share what we are doing and see if it’s valuable to your company.
Can we schedule a follow up call sometime over the next couple of weeks?”
We’ll reiterate the central theme here, as it’s particularly relevant to this objection: you’re not calling to sell to them but to find out if your product or service would be a good fit for them. This approach is beneficial for both current and future efforts, as it acts as a form of market validation.
8. “Can your [product/service] do [X, Y, and Z]?”
While considering whether they’ll act on your offer, it’s reasonable for prospects to ask about which features and capabilities your solution includes. This might indicate some level of interest in a product or service like yours.
The contact could also be looking for a reason to cut the conversation short, so it’s best not to dive into the product features and instead leave that to an experienced closer.
“That’s a great question, and I am glad you asked. I think it will be helpful to set up a time where we can answer this question and others you might have with someone on my team who is a bit more knowledgeable in this area. When is a good time for us to talk?”
9. Admin or personal assistant objections
Whether it’s an office administrator or executive assistant, the person tasked with screening calls can be difficult to get past.
Instead of considering these gatekeepers just another obstacle, enlist their help in finding the most relevant person, or perhaps even building out your contacts on the account.
“Maybe you could help me out. I’m looking to speak with [lead name] about [area of expertise] to determine if this is an area that our company can help out with. What is the best way for me to go about getting in touch with [lead name] or put some time on their calendar to chat?”
“I completely understand that [lead name] is a very busy person. Maybe you can point me to someone that reports to them who would be more directly involved with [area of expertise]. Do you happen to know who I should be trying to reach out to?”
It’s important you keep the conversation very high-level when speaking with an admin, instead of getting into the weeds about your offering and its features. At most, offer a brief value proposition that proves your call is valuable.
When to back down & accept a cold call objection
Ask for the sales meeting, ask for a next step, ask for the meeting again.
When you hear “no” twice and ask for something different just to be told “no” again, let it go. There are plenty of people to call!
Remember that you’re representing your company (or your client’s company, if you’re calling on someone else’s behalf). Don’t try to bully people into a meeting, as it reflects poorly on the brand and can sabotage future opportunities.
We get it—you have a quota to hit—but keep it professional and know when to move on from a contact. Not acting appropriately on behalf of your company or client will ensure you don’t have a number to hit for them next month.
Knowing the cold calling objections and responses above is enough to get you closer to your appointment setting goals. If you’re well-acquainted with your value proposition, company information, and competitive landscape and have put your best effort into overcoming your lead’s objections, you did your job well. And if you still need help setting more sales appointments, ask EBQ to do it for you.