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Why is it ok to prospect?

Prospecting objections. You’re going to get them – even when you’ve got empathy packed into relevant offerings, stories, and solutions.

First, I need to address something important. Should you be prospecting at all? In short, yes of course – and diligently.

There are more reasons than I can cover in a single article, but I’ll give you four good reasons:

  1. All of your prospects are warm right now because you know something about every single one of them:

    They’re all impacted somehow by this global pandemic. It’s the global icebreaker.  So, explore it.  Lead with empathy and grace; follow with relevancy.

  2. No, it’s not insensitive, so stop saying that.

    If you can, you better. To say the economy has been hit hard is an understatement, so if you can maintain business, it’s your economic responsibility to yourself, your company, your community, and your country. I’m not being dramatic here. If you know me personally, you’ve likely heard me rant on this. We must ALL pull together. If you’ve been immobilized with fear, uncertainty, and doubt, it’s time to put on your work boots and do what you can to keep things moving.  If we all push together, we’ll get out of the mud.

  3. This is an opportunity for you to differentiate and lead.

    It’s very easy to do nothing; it’s much more difficult to maintain the gumption and composure to push through. Set a positive tone for the people around you and lead. Your friends and family will notice. Your team and customers will notice. And, your prospects will notice. Do you really want to be overlooked among the masses of salespeople in a prone position until the dust settles?

  4. Your competition will if you don’t.

    I can personally attest that money is changing hands right now, and it’s in favor of those that fervently prospect. They are also empathetic and relevant. They’re offering innovative solutions to problems that prospects hadn’t considered. They are keenly aware that prospects’ leaders are looking for answers to an overwhelming amount of problems right now – so they’re picking up the phone, listening, innovating, and demonstrating value. How many of your clients and prospects have already been called by your competition this week? If you don’t know, you better start calling.

Now, Back to Prospecting Objections

Objections. You’re going to still get them – even when you’ve got empathy packed into relevant offerings, stories, and solutions.

Yes, even when you can legitimately help them with some of their toughest issues, they’ll still object to you interrupting them.

We’ve been keeping track of the objections that Sales Gravy and many of our clients have been getting during this crisis. The data is clear: There are five common objections that you need to anticipate during this crisis.

If you’ve read Objections by Jeb Blount, you learned two important truths about prospecting. First, prospecting objections can and must be anticipated. Second, leveraging the objection turnaround framework (LDA: Ledge, Disrupt, and Ask) is the way to deal with prospects’ RBOs (reflex responses, brush offs, and objections).

When you accept and combine these two fundamental truths, it means that you can and should be prepared with LDAs.

If you don’t, the chance of your amygdala (emotional brain) getting hijacked by fear is increased, and your logical brain is overrun by the need for fight, flight, or freeze.

In an already emotionally charged climate, it’s even more paramount that you are prepared; you owe it to yourself and to your prospect to harness emotional control.

Note:

Prepared means you’re not winging it; it means you’ve written your LDAs out, practiced, and perfected them.

Salespeople who are prepared are much better at picking up the phone because they’ve suppressed disruptive emotions through preparedness; they’re more confident and always more successful.

I need to contextualize objections. You’ve just called into a prospect, they’ve answered, you’ve run through your prospecting script, and then BAM – they throw out an RBO.

Here’s an example of prospecting script we’ve used at Sales Gravy.

ME: Hello, John.  This is Jason Eatmon from Sales Gravy.  The reason for my call is to get some time on your calendar because many sales leaders today are struggling to provide their salespeople with the skillsets and training to sell during this crisis.  It would be great to see if our coaching and educational resources could help you like they are with so many others right now, so would Tuesday at 3pm work for a short call to explore this?

THEM: <Insert Objection>

The Five Most Common Prospecting Objections in a Crisis

Here are the five most common objections you are likely to get in a crisis. You may hear them with slightly different words, but you’ll be able to identify and dispel them with preparation.

  1. I’m too busy.

  2. We’re all working from home.

  3. The budget is unclear right now.

  4. We’re not meeting with vendors at this time.

  5. We need to wait until the dust settles.

I’m too busy.

Well, now we know that this timeless, classic line is never going to stop being deployed by prospects. The reason why is that it’s so damn effective; it just works. Salespeople run and hide from this because any response seems insensitive. Right? Nope. Try something like this LDA:

  • Ledge: That’s exactly why I called.
  • Disrupt: I know that you’re exceptionally busy, so that’s why I want to get on your calendar so that I don’t interrupt.
  • Ask: So, can we get together virtually Tuesday at 3 or 4 pm?

We’re all working from home.

Oh my. I love this one. It makes me laugh when I hear it. I want to say, “Great! I’m glad I caught you working.” But, I don’t. Let’s try an LDA like this:

  • Ledge: Most of the customers I talk to are, so I figured you might be too.
  • Disrupt: I’ve been working from home myself for weeks, and it’s nice to still be productive.
  • Ask: I know that working from home is quite a shift, so how is that going for you?

You don’t always have to ask for the meeting. They’ve thrown something out that isn’t really an objection; it’s more of a wet noodle that they want to see if it sticks to the wall.

Explore it – you’ve got another thing in common with them so use it.

The budget is unclear right now.

This is also not a new one, but it’s an effective way to throw off unprepared salespeople winging their prospecting blocks.

That won’t be you, so try an LDA like one of these:

  • Ledge: Thank you for sharing that with me.
  • Disrupt: I’m calling because of that very reason. Many businesses are using this uncertain time right now to prepare for when the smoke clears – and it will clear.
  • Ask: Even though there may not be an opportunity for me right now, I’d still love to meet with you to learn more about your issues and see if it makes sense to collaborate on a plan.  Does Wednesday at 10am work for a virtual meeting?

OR

  • Ledge: That’s exactly why I’m calling.
  • Disrupt: The current crisis has everyone scrambling, but many businesses like yours are preparing now by leveraging us strategically so that when the dust settles, they’re ready to roll.
  • Ask: It would be great to see if some of these ideas work for you and your business, so how does Friday at 11am work for you?

We’re not meeting with any vendors at this time.

This could mean several different things, but you need to decide what it means to you and leverage an LDA.  Here’s one for you to try:

Ledge:  I hear that often.

Disrupt:  I know that things are crazy right now, and many of my customers have experienced a lot of value in meeting with me virtually.  It looks like virtual is just the new normal for a while.

Ask:  Can we meet on Monday at 11:30am?

We need to wait until the dust settles.

You’re definitely going to get some version of this if you’re prospecting, so it’s important that you are ready for it. It’s a cry for empathy and understanding.

It’s an admittance that things are chaotic and uncertain. It’s also likely a cry for relevancy and answers to any of the problems making them feel like they’re drowning. Time to shine.

Ledge: Wow, that is something I completely understand, and I’m really looking forward to it myself.

Disrupt: That said, most of my customers are finding comfort in knowing that there are some ways to get ahead of that with some strategic planning.

Ask: I realize that it might not be the right time to make a move, but it’s always good to have a plan. How is the organization expecting you contribute strategically right now?

I know that things are hard right now, but if you’re alive and still blessed with a job, then I truly believe that it’s your personal and economic responsibility to pick up that phone and keep pushing through the mud.

You can do this; we can all do this. So, let’s roll.


Virtual Selling is the new normal, and to remain competitive, sellers must differentiate within this rapidly changing economic climate. Virtual Selling Skills Training gives you the tools you need to leverage video-based technology and virtual communication to engage remote buyers.

About the author

Jason Eatmon

Jason Eatmon

Jason is a Nebraska native which is where his work ethic and sense of…

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