“Assume they don’t want to talk to you.”
This is the idea that changed everything for our SDR team. Before, we were on the wrong side of no. We thought we were better than no. It’s a defense mechanism against rejection; hearing ‘no’ call after call, email after email is disheartening. If a customer can hear your smile through the phone, they can certainly hear six and half hours of defeat scraping at the edge of your voicemail. But the reality is: you have to plan for the no. When you do, you are ready to work around it and get to a result that just might be better for everyone.
In our case, we know a great deal about our prospects before we call, so we’re confident we’re only reaching out to folks with a strong fit. But we were assuming they would instantly love our tangible marketing solutions. ‘They’ll just get it,’ we thought, and if they don’t, we’ll stick to the script till they do. Nope. Nothing changed until we flipped our mindset and that gave us the insight to flip the story.
Ask Your Customer Hard Questions and Flip the Story
As sales pros, we had a list of defenses ready to go, responses for every question (good, bad and ugly). We had thought through counterarguments and were on the lookout for any flicker of interest. We are well trained in sales stories and our target demographics. But we have found that nothing works as well as flipping the script. Turning the questions back to the prospect is the most powerful thing you can do.
Example: “We aren’t interested.”
The most deflating words ever uttered, especially if you’ve psyched yourself up for the next great sales call. When we hear this, human nature kicks in, and our knee-jerk reaction is to pull out our bullet list of reason why they should be interested. Instead, be brave enough to ask: why not?
Asking why you aren’t a fit, why the prospect can’t move forward, or why they can’t see themselves benefiting from your solutions, flips the script. You change the dynamic and force a new state of mind on your prospect.
The result? The person on the other end of the phone drops their guard for a moment and starts to process what it is they need. Usually, they’ll blurt it out for you! This is your opening, capitalize on their insight.
Preparing for the ‘No’ Makes You a Better SDR
Here’s how to prepare for the no that’s always coming:
- Follow up the rejection with curiosity. Why aren’t we a good fit right now? If you had our solution, what would keep you from using it?
- Inspire critical thought because it sparks conversation. You can’t inspire conversation if you’re argumentative, so turn a no into a question.
- Don’t pretend to be an expert if you aren’t. You’re an expert in your solution, if you get dismissed, try to turn it into a learning experience. People are generally happy to share their expertise if you’re sincere.
- Be honest. They can tell. It’s such a cheesy line, but it is true: prospects can hear your attitude through the phone. Being genuine and interested rings true.
Preparing for rejection with an open-ended question can create a chink in their armor, that weak point sounds like: here’s what we need. Once you’ve turned the topic around to what the prospect needs, and not why they should love you, you’ve got an opening for a real — and let’s be honest, better — conversation.
By the way, none of this advice means squat if you aren’t targeting the right people in the first place, so lean on your marketing department to provide you with the highest quality leads and lists. And if you want a better way to open doors and get attention, try 1:1 personalized tangible marketing. Once you get through their wall of nope, you’ll keep them engaged with something fun they can hold, share and pass around.