A recent LinkedIn post asked if someone would consider tackling the topic,”How to manage objection handling for cold calls, without being too pushy” I wasted no time forcing my way on the post and making sure I was the guy who wrote the article!
Of course, I am being a little flip there. All level of sales professional has had to face the dreaded stereotype of the “pushy” salesperson- whose sole focus is duping an unwitting prospect in order to earn a commission check.
Let’s face it, “pushy” is the worst insult a prospect can throw at you, and they know it. In many cases, when a prospect accuses you of being “pushy” it is a sign of their insecurity. There could also be a simpler explanation, they might just be having a bad day.
“Pushy” is also a subjective term. In the SDR role, you simply don’t have enough time to brainwash people or “push” a meeting on a prospect. Ultimately it’s up to them to determine if what you have to offer has any value. Don’t get hung up on whether you come off as too pushy.
Now I love analogies, not just because I am old, I just love them!
So, the easy way to think about the role of an SDR is too put yourself in the place of Prince Charming in “Cinderella.”
We start with the prospect, Cinderella. She’s a fine young maiden who looks great in glass slippers, and you, Prince Charming, want to take see if she is a good fit for that extra glass slipper.
You have been trying to get her on the phone for weeks, but her stepmother and stepsisters always say she is “in a meeting” or “won’t be in until later” and keep pushing you to voicemail.
You sent over impassioned emails with subject lines like, “Cinderella- Any Availability This Weekend?” And content letting her know you would like to see if she and the slipper you have would be a good fit.
Now you finally get her on the vine (that is old people speak for the phone) because you called when the stepsisters and stepmother were out shopping for clothes for the upcoming Ball…
Cinderella: Hello, this is Cinderella
Prince Charming: Hey Cinderella, I know you weren’t expecting my call today, but I would like to see if I could earn a few minutes on your calendar to see if you and this glass slipper are a good fit. Would you like to hear more?
Cinderella: What did you say your name was, and how did you get my number?
Prince Charming: Oh hey, sorry…name is Prince, like the musician, last name Charming!
Now you are at the moment of truth. Cinderella gets tons of these calls every day, jokers wanting to get her to try on a glass slipper. She begins the pushback.
Cinderella: I am very busy doing chores, what is the purpose of your call today Prince?
Prince Charming: As I said before, I just wanted to earn some time on your calendar to see if this glass slipper might be a good fit. It has helped hundreds of stepchildren escape the claws of evil stepmothers and many of them go on to live happily ever after. Does that sound like something you may be interested in?
Cinderella: I already have a glass slipper, I don’t think I have the budget for another one right now, please take me off your list.
Now you are at the crossroads.
Cinderella hates phone solicitors. She hates them almost as much as she hates her stepmother.
In your mind, you worry about being too pushy because the last lady you spoke with, Ariel at The Little Mermaid Company, hung up on you after you handled all of her objections. So you commit the ultimate sin and cave in!!
Prince Charming: Hey Cinderella, sounds like this isn’t a good time. I’ll circle back in three months and see if we are a better fit then. Mind if I shoot you an email?
In three months Cinderella will be in counseling for depression because of all the verbal abuse. Eventually, she gets older and meets a guy who can’t hold down a job, resulting in the foreclosure of their home and years of poverty. All because you don’t want to be too pushy!!!!!
The “pushy” way to answer is textbook sales stuff. First you acknowledge and validate what she said, and second, you state the purpose of your call. Here is what you need to do:
Prince: Totally understand Cinderella, I hear that all day. Since I have you on the phone, would you mind telling me about the glass slipper you own? It will help me when I talk to other people…
Now if you are witty like me (and humble like me) you might have come back with a line like “seems like we started off on the wrong foot.” (Use humor with caution, not all princes and princesses are fans of Dad jokes.)
But what you managed to do was shift the focus back on the slipper. Why? Because she already has one and thus clearly understands the value. But the reality is this, she doesn’t want to talk about slippers, she wants to talk about herself, and by asking her questions that get her to talk about herself and her needs will determine if there truly is a fit. That’s not pushy. That’s doing your job.
It may come off as “pushy” because she has already told you to go away, and “take her off the list.” Since she has summarily rejected you, what harm could possibly be done if you try and keep her on the phone? Your prospect could have already hung up, so it’s worth a shot to try and engage verbally rather than have another email wind up in her trash folder.
At the heart of the question about being pushy is that desire to find a happy medium between wimpy and pushy, perhaps best described as being “amiable.” Well when you are amiable, it just means they are doing the pushing. If the prospect is pushy it’s a solid indication that it is simply the way they communicate and do business.
So here’s the deal Prince Charming, you aren’t being pushy when you offer a client something of value. When you get a prospect on the line, it may be your only opportunity to get them to try on that glass slipper. Is it being pushy to have a passion for something? You know the story, Prince Charming went to great lengths to find Cinderella when he could have had his choice of many pretty ladies. Was he pushy? Nah, he was persistent.
So the answer to the question, “how can I handle objections without being too pushy?” is simple. Get that word out of your head and find your Cinderella. When you find her, do whatever it takes to get the meeting, because when you do, you can both live happily ever after now, instead of circling back to nothing three months later.
Thom is a seasoned sales professional who literally got his first taste of sales success when he won a gigantic candy bar for adding the most new subscribers to his paper route when he was 12 years-old. Thom’s first major sales role was for a church directory company where he tripled sales in his territory selling family portraits to church families. After a stint in the not-for-profit world while guiding his three sons into manhood-he has returned to sales and business development, utilizing his media and counseling background. Oh…and he LOVES to talk about the “old days” and using analogies.