When picking up the phone to make a cold call, are you hearing objections or excuses?

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Being on the phone all day, every day is not easy. Most people avoid it like the plague so they don’t have to hear no after no and excuse after excuse. It takes thick skin to keep asking for meetings and next steps. But in order to assess the situation properly, learning to ask the right questions and read vocal tone helps tremendously.

When you hear the following, they are usually excuses to get off the phone before they even listen to what you have to say:

1. We already work with ABC company:

While a company might already be engaged with one of your competitors, not hearing your take on the situation is an easy out. Sam or Bob might be closed-minded or simply trying to avoid hearing a long drawn-out pitch. You may say, “That’s great. I was hoping to share how we can add value to what you already have in place.”

2. I have a call/meeting to attend in a couple of minutes:

Emotion is very hard to ignore over the phone. It is one of the best cues to assess if you are proceeding in the right direction. Does the prospect sound rushed or stressed? Or are they simply trying to get rid of you? It might be a good idea to say, “Thank you. I will touch base at the end of the week” and call then.

3. This isn’t a good time to talk:

Maybe it is or isn’t a good time to talk. Perhaps you can call back in a few days and circle back in. Don’t be intimidated. Avoid asking, when is a better time to chat? Simply say, “I understand, I will reach out on Thursday or Friday” and do so. Keep it simple. The last thing you want to do is keep pushing at the wrong time.

There are numerous cues for understanding who is giving you excuses and who is not. The key is to call back and pay attention to what you learn. Not calling back will not yield the results you want. Calling back will educate you about what others want and the approach you should take on each call. Sometimes less is more. People need to hear your voice a few times before actually LISTENING to what you have to say.


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