Prospecting objections: “I’m too busy to talk to you.”

If there’s one area of sales I feel confident about, it’s telephone prospecting.  Why?  Because I have to do it all the time.  And the more I do it, the more I learn how to do it better.  You would too if you depended on telephone prospecting in order to eat.

I conduct lots of workshops on prospecting, and much of the content is about using the phone effectively.  I help the learners develop a script and practice it until it sounds natural to them, not like a script at all.  But the learners always fuss. 

“I don’t like to work from a script. It makes me sound like a telemarketer,” they complain.  Okay, let’s talk about that.

The winner of the Academy Award for best acting delivers his movie lines from a script.  He doesn’t make them up as he goes along.  Politicians who give those seemingly heartfelt, rousing speeches read them on the teleprompter.  Ask Jim Perry how Presidential he looked in New Hampshire this weekend when he decided to ad lib.  His bizarre speech is now all over the internet.  Professionals all use scripts. 

If you’re worried your script sounds artificial, then practice it a few times until it sounds natural. It will after a few tries, and what’s more, you’ll also sound confident.  People buy from confident people.  What could be easier? 

For most salespeople, the difficulty is not that they don’t have a good script. It’s that they don’t know what to say when they get an objection.  As the famous boxer and felon Mike Tyson once commented when told his opponent had a game plan for beating him in an upcoming fight, “Everybody has a game plan until they get hit in the mouth.”  An objection from your prospect often feels like a hit in the mouth, and many salespeople don’t know what to say when the prospect objects.

Strong, experienced salespeople always know what to say when they get an objection, either on the phone or in person, simply because they’ve heard it before, and have developed a script for the best reply.

One of my favorites is “I’m too busy to talk to you.”  In a prospecting workshop I did many years ago, one of the learners told me that one day he kept getting this “I’m too busy” objection.  Finally he lost his temper and blurted to the prospect, “Why does everyone I call keep telling me they’re too busy to see me, when my whole purpose is to save them time?  What is it that makes you too busy to talk to me?”

Well, as luck would have it, the prospect told him exactly what keeps him busy, they ended up having a nice chat and the salesperson got the appointment!  I asked him, “What did you learn from that experience?” He said, “I learned not to lose my temper, but I also learned that my question is a good one to ask when I hear that objection.”

He rephrased it like this:  “You know, so many people tell me that these days.  We’re all busy I suppose.  If you don’t mind, can you share with me why you are too busy to meet with someone whose goal is to make you less busy and save you time?”

So persistence and experience are the best teachers. 

In next Tuesday’s newsletter (no blog post on newsletter day) I’ll continue with telephone objections, and then in this blog give you some of the best responses.

 Think Like Your Customer!

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

2 Responses to Prospecting objections: “I’m too busy to talk to you.”

  1. Tim Connell says:

    This is a great piece Gregory, in education we refer to resilience- a person’s ability to bounce back quickly under adverse circumstances.
    There is a strong evidence base that links high levels of resilience to improved outcomes in almost every area if life including mental health.
    As you note, people respond positively to resilience in others and in many cases an intial hurdle or rejection can be the stepping stone to long term success.
    Sales, education, running , it’s all the same really, we have a clear goal, train well and prepare for every eventuality with meticulous planning. Success is inevitable.

    • Coming from a professional educator and coach such as you Tim, this comment means a lot to me. I had not thought of it in terms of “resilience” but that is exactly the right word. Thank you. Gregory

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