Objection Handling Technique: How to Respond to “We Already Have Something in Place”

Objections are every SDR’s nightmare.

When you cold call, you tend to face more rejections than conversations.

But the good news is that you can always learn how to handle them using effective objection handling techniques.

When you start out as an SDR, you may not know how to face rejections or objections as we call it in the outbound sales world. But as you keep making cold calls and reach out to a few thousand, you will eventually become a pro at handling any sales objection that is thrown at you.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to handle one of the most common sales objection which is, “We already have something in place.”

How to handle sales objections? 

Now, most rookie SDRs would respond to this sales objection by saying, “Oh, okay, if you’re interested in the future, you can always reach out to us.” And then forget all about the prospect.

But that’s not how you should be responding to this sales objection.

Jill Konrath, keynote speaker and author of 4 bestselling sales books, says, “Unless your product or service is truly groundbreaking, you should always assume that your prospect is already working with a competitor.” So while talking to a prospect, you must be prepared for this sales objection.

Here are two things to keep in mind to effectively tackle the sales objection.

Ask the right questions

The first thing to do when a prospect raises an objection is to listen to it without interrupting them. Once you know the sales objection, ask open-ended questions like what, why, when and how to understand what’s stopping the prospect from switching over to your solution. Asking the right open-ended questions gets the prospect to talk and helps you buy time, thus increasing the chance of convincing the prospect for a meeting.

You can ask questions like:

  1. How are you currently handling <pain point or challenge>?
  2. For how long have you been using the solution?
  3. What challenges do you face in using the current solution?
  4. What would you like the solution to do, apart from what it is doing right now?

However, most of the times, you may not get answers to all these questions. But, with whatever information you get from the prospect, you can use it to your leverage to talk about your solution and how it can help resolve their pain points.

Sell the value, not the solution

Once you understand the reason for their objection, focus on the value the prospect will get by switching over to your solution. To do that, you should

  • always ensure you have at least two concrete points as to why your solution is better than your competitor’s.
  • mention the names of two current customers who have moved from the competitor’s to your solution. It helps to mention customers who share similar characteristics like pain points or company size while talking to the prospect. Having a customer case study is an added advantage.

Here’s how you can answer to the sales objection.

Objection handling scripts

Script 1:

“Amazing! {competitor name} is a brilliant software, John. The reason I’m reaching out to you is that I’ve recently worked with company X and they were using {competitor name} too. But the problem was they were facing issues in terms of customer satisfaction. So I recommended our solution to them and they have seen a whopping 76% increase in customer satisfaction rate ever since they began using our solution. I don’t want to take much of your time, just 5 minutes would do. Can we connect back again on Thursday, at 2 PM CT?”

 Script 2: 

“{competitor name} is a brilliant software, John. We have quite a few customers like X and Y who have moved from {competitor name} to ours because it was a lot easier to overcome {business challenge} since it has {benefits1} and {benefits2}.”

Script 3:

“I understand you have something in place. I’m just reaching out to you to show you how we are different and how we have provided additional value to our customers. In fact, we have companies similar to yours who have moved from other solutions to ours. I don’t want to take much of your time. Can we get on a quick call on Thursday at 2 PM CT to discuss this?

Objection handling tips

  1. Never ask close-ended questions like, “Do you already have a solution in place?” or any other question that gives a response with a yes or no.
  2. Before the prospect brings up the objection, you can open the conversation by saying, “John, I know you already have a solution in place for handling the <pain point or business challenge>”. If they are using a solution, they will agree with you, and then you can talk about the potential value of your solution.
  3. Never ever bad mouth about your competitors. It doesn’t build your credibility, and it definitely won’t find the prospect’s trust in your brand.
  4. Before you can tell your prospects that X and Y companies have moved from a certain software to yours, you have to make sure that there is no Non-disclosure agreement signed by your company.

Understand the reason why they don’t want to switch products

There are, of course, a lot of reasons why the prospect will not want to switch to your software. But the two main reasons—you might hear often—why they hesitate to switch software are,

  • They have a contract with their current vendor that will probably end in 2-3 years from when you had the conversation with the prospect.
  • They have preconceived notions about how difficult it might be to get their sales team adjusted to a new software.

So, what should you do instead?

Create a follow-up sales cadence 

Create a sales cadence to follow up with these prospects. You can follow up with them every month or every quarter by sending them an industry research report, or a new update on your product. The whole idea is to stay on top of their mind, so when they are ready to switch products, they know whom to get in touch with.

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How do you know if the prospect is worth your time and effort?

One of the things you need to be prepared for when following up with these prospects is knowing that the deal isn’t going to close in weeks, but in months. It might take anywhere between 7-18 months to get them to switch to your product. You need to use this time to build credibility and relationship with the prospect and learn about their business and sales process.

But how do you know if the prospect is worth your time and effort?

Most of the time, you can gauge from the tone of the prospect to find out if they’re interested. If they give you a response like, ‘Hey, I know your software is really good, but unfortunately we cannot move at this point of time’, you’ll know that the prospect is interested in the product but unfortunately cannot move ahead with it for any of the above reasons.

The other aspects you need to gauge while following up with these prospects is the company size and the deal value they will bring in. You also need to check if the company fits your ideal customer profiles. If the company matches your ideal customer profile and will bring in a sizable deal value, you can add them in your sales pipeline. Otherwise, it’s best to let them go and invest your time in pursuing deals that are sure to close.

So, how do you respond to this sales objection? Share your script in the comments below.

In the meantime, let’s have a conversation. Tag your friends or colleagues and loop them in this discussion.

Cover image by Sailesh Gunasekaran
Thanks to Nawin Pranav, my co-author on this blog. 

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