The 7 Little Lies Prospects Tell Telephone Sales Reps

One of the secrets for being more effective and successful in telephone sales is to know the types of objections you are likely to encounter.  When you do, you are never caught off guard because you are better prepared to deal with them.

For instance, here are the top 7 objections telephone reps typically encounter in the initial phase of a call; usually during or right after the opening statement.  I call them ‘white lies’ because the prospect tosses them out because they want to get rid of you not because they’re honest truths.

Lie #1: I’m in a meeting

When you hear this objection don’t you think, “Oh ya … then why did you answer the phone?”  This is a wonderful lie because it tends to make the caller feel slightly guilty that he/she interrupted.  It tends to work too.  Reps utter some sort of an vague apology and say they’ll call back.  Meanwhile, the lie worked in getting your call deflected.

Lie #2:  Call me back

This is a very clever lie because the prospect leaves you with the feeling of ‘hope.’  We kid ourselves into believing that she REALLY DOES want us to call back and so we fall for it. Sometimes we even suggest a time and a date to which they agree.  The only problem is the prospect is rarely there … thanks to call display and voice mail.

Lie #3:  Send me/e-mail me some Information

This is such a brush off.  Sort of a cousin to the ‘call me back’ lie, this objection creates a degree of hope.  I have watched reps gleefully stuff an envelope or spend 15 minutes composing a wonderful e-mail with 9 attachments, all the while confidently believing the prospect is waiting with baited breath.  Don’t hold your breath on this one either.  The grotesque majority don’t want your e-mail, letter or fax. They asked for it to get rid of you. Don’t fall for it.

Lie #4: I’m busy…

This is not really a lie but the net result is still the same.  Guiltily the telephone rep feels like he’s an intrusion and gets knocked off his game.  Quickly the valiant rep tries to recover by asking when would be a better time.  The prospect says, “There is no better time, you’ll have to just try later.”  The call comes to a grinding halt.

Lie #5: Don’t Need/Want Anything Right Now

Delivered politely, this little lie works like a charm almost every time.  The poor sales rep doesn’t want to appear pushy and aggressive so he or she backs off immediately. I mean if there’s no need then there’s no opportunity, right?  The call ends nicely with a promise by the rep to call back ‘in a few weeks.’  Meanwhile the prospect has dodged a sales bullet and goes on merrily with his day.

Lie #6: Send me a Quote /Proposal

Ouch! This is probably the nastiest of the white lies.  It’s nefarious because the prospect might well be wasting a lot of your time and effort getting you to do work that he or she will never seriously consider.  Proposals or quotes suggest that the client is serious about buying. Diligently and eagerly the rep takes the time to churn out a quote or proposal and makes countless follow up calls. Meanwhile, other, legitimate prospects are ignored or put aside.

Lie #7: Satisfied with Current Vendor

Like its friend, “Don’t Need Anything Right Now” this lie is usually based on a truth. It works because it deflates the eager drive of the unsuspecting sales rep.   We take the prospect at his word and dejectedly hang up.  The prospect may indeed be happy with his vendor but a whopping good offer or an exciting new product may turn his head.

 3 Steps to Managing Little White Lies

The trick to dealing with these lies/objections is not to cave in.  Use these three steps to get past the lie and get the client talking.

Step #1: Empathize.  No matter what the prospects throws at you simply pause and say, “I understand.”  It buys you some time to think and catches the prospect off guard a bit.

Step #2: Ignore it. It’s probably a lie (although in some cases it could well be the truth) anyway so trying to respond to it won’t solve the problem.

Step #3: Ask a compelling question.  Start with this trigger phrase, “Jim, one quick question before I let you go…”  Believe it or not, most prospects have a conscience. They know they mislead you and many of them feel slightly guilty. They will usually feel compelled to answer the question.

The trick is to ask a question that gets them thinking about a pain or a gain; a motivator; something that is compelling and out of the ordinary. For instance:

-A financial advisor might say, “Are you absolutely, 100% satisfied with your portfolio’s performance this year?” 

-A safety poster rep might ask, “Roughly how many man hours have you lost to industrial accidents over the last six months?”

-A sales trainer might inquire, “Are all your reps meeting and exceeding their sales quota for the year?”

– A TENS reps might ask a chiropractor, “Has the economic turn down had an impact on the revenues of your practise?”

Questions like these tend to give pause.  While they won’t always hook the prospect’s interest, some will.  If the question works, you can ask more because now the prospect is engaged. Mission accomplished.

This is where preparation and planning comes into play.  You KNOW with absolute and utter certainty that you’re going to encounter these seven little lies throughout your calling day.  If that’s true –and it is – then you need to have a strategy whereby you don’t fall for the lie and make a game of it by countering with a compelling thought, issue, concern, problem, opportunity.

Never be lied to again! Know the little white lies and have your counter question prepared.

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