Objection Handling 101

May 12, 2021

How To Deal With Common Objections as an SDR

In any space, sales development is a tough task that requires a certain skill set. Very rarely is a sales pitch not met with either skepticism, disinterest, or an objection of some kind.

With that in mind, it is clear that one of the most important aspects of the sales development process is learning how to deal with objections – either by overcoming them, diffusing them, or learning from them.

Or, like Trey said, using them as an opportunity to clarify/showcase the value your solution brings to the table.

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Too often objections cause a rep to stop in their tracks and scramble for a response. They’re viewed as a stopper instead of an opportunity. Now we’re not saying all objections are opportunities, but more often than not they provide you with a chance to focus on the value your solution can provide. Reframing the conversation to think of them as a positive will drastically change the direction of the conversation.

The four most common objection points any Sales Development Rep (SDR) will run across are:

  1. Price
  2. Complacency
  3. Timing
  4. Or the person just doesn’t care enough about you to comprehend the value of your product (aka, “I’m not interested.”)

And in terms of which of those are the most difficult to handle, we ran a quick poll on LinkedIn to see what the public thought:

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So from easy to difficult it’s Price & Timing, then Complacency, then “I’m not interested.” We’ll tackle those in order:


Pricing is arguably the most common objection in sales. Markets are competitive, and pricing is often a key variable. There will almost always be a competitor in your space that sells their products at a lower price point, and you can bet that your prospect has already spoken with them or is at least aware they exist.

In these scenarios, the best way to counter issues with pricing is to emphasize the importance of value. The saying “you get what you pay for” is a great start. Make a list of the value propositions your solution provides that its competitors do not, and if the topic of price comes up early in the discussion you can illustrate the value of your product rather than focusing on numbers.

Also, and this is a big one, don’t beat around the bush with your prospects. We hear a lot of “pricing is better discussed with my manager” and “I can’t give you a number yet, but I’ll send over some documentation.” Truth be told, as a buyer, it’s frustrating to hear that language. If someone asks you about price, dig deeper. Why are they asking? Do they have a limited budget? Are they comparing solutions? Or is it a ‘catch-all’ and they just don’t want to talk with you? You won’t know until you ask, and it can tell you a lot about the prospect and what stage in the buyer’s journey they’re in.

Recap: Pricing objections give you an opportunity to dig deeper – is price a real concern or a catch-all? Once you find that out, focus on the value of your product to address it – don’t brush it off.


The issue of timing can be a tricky one, mostly because there is often gray area. When timing comes into play, it is clear that there is an initiative for change, just not right now. Some companies rely on quarterly initiatives, some work with a constantly changing environment, and some won’t do anything until there is a catastrophe.

One way to tackle the issue of timing is to suggest preliminary alternatives. For example, get them in front of some personalized content or something that is relevant to their process that might push them to increase their interest level. You can also have “discovery calls” with your prospects, where they hash out their future needs and you talk them through how you could address them, very much like a consultation (but without your AE). From there you can set a time in the future to connect again so when they start to look in earnest, you’ll be at the top of their list.

It also benefits you to connect with prospects on LinkedIn and keep in touch over social platforms. By liking and commenting on their posts, sending them relevant articles, and sharing product updates, you’re making sure your name and brand are associated with helping them solve a challenge (and not pushing them to buy something they don’t want). It’s all about carving out space in their brain for your name.

Recap: You can’t make it a better time to buy, so do your best to make the most of the time you have. Carve out calls for educational purposes and prepare your prospect as much as possible. Nurture them on social channels to carve out space for your brand in their brain.


Another very common objection is complacency: the prospect does not have any initiatives to look into alternate systems and is satisfied with their immediate process largely due to convenience. This is also commonly referred to as an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” scenario.

The best way to overcome complacency is to probe the pain points of their current system. You should have a good understanding of these pains because of prior intel & research. Focusing on a weakness in their current system will help prospects understand what they would be investing in, and you can earn their trust by demonstrating your purpose is to help them achieve success.

If you can help the prospect understand what your system can accomplish while also teasing out some of the problems they currently see, it will be a lot easier to move past their complacency and possibly create a champion for your solution. Some of the strongest advocates for a solution begin the engagement at this stage.

Note: Complacency and timing often go hand-in-hand. If you do end up creating a champion, it’s going to take a lot of the same work you go through when overcoming ‘timing’ to build a case for your solution. Lots of educational calls and sending along relevant content accompany this step.

Recap: Sometimes prospects aren’t aware that they have an actual issue with their current solution. If you can illuminate that issue through conversation and show them how you’ve solved the same problem for other companies, you’ll be in a much better place. It’s important to build trust and expertise as an SDR, and that only works if you’re consultative in your approach.

General Interest

The fourth and final objection is interest. Sometimes there are prospects that just don’t care enough about you to listen. They know that everything is working fine, and to them you seem just like a waste of time.

This is the hardest objection to work with. Think of Newton’s Laws – objects in motion tend to stay in motion, but objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Prospects who “‘aren’t interested’ are at rest, and it’s up to you to get them moving!

If you look at the previous examples above you can glean what to do in this case:

  • Are they not interested because they know everything about their company, or is this just a ‘catch-all’ objection (like with price)? Ask open-ended questions to get them talking and thinking about their current solutions.
  • Can you illuminate any problems they don’t know about? Leverage storytelling and customer examples to show them what they might be missing.
  • You’re likely not going to sell someone on that first call – it will take some nurturing and delivery of value over time to convince them it’s worth a follow-up. Create a champion by sharing industry expertise and building trust over time.

Recap: Basically, the best way to overcome someone who ‘isn’t interested’ is to leverage the tips from the other objections. The more you can ask questions and learn about the prospect’s situation, the better equipped you’ll be to see if there’s a real opportunity.

Objections handling was brought up during our SDR Symposium in February, and the reps on our panel had some great advice to share. Here are some highlights:

  • Disarm objections rather than ‘handle’ them. If someone has concerns, it’s your job to help alleviate them, not diminish them. Make them feel heard, not just another obstacle for you to overcome.
  • Keep asking open-ended questions. More often than not, someone will answer their own objection through conversation. It’s up to you to guide them to an answer, not just answer it yourself and move on.
  • Keep a document handy with the objections you commonly hear and how you respond to them – always bring up value and what your solution can do when responding.
  • You can’t win them all. Sometimes, an objection is too difficult to navigate and you can’t help the prospect…yet. If someone is truly in your ICP and you’ve done your research, all prospects have the potential to become buyers. Having a reliable nurture sequence as a backup plan will benefit you greatly as an SDR. That way, when they are willing to have a conversation, you’ve remained top of mind.

At the end of the day, remember this: An objection isn’t a wall for you to hurdle as an SDR, it’s an opportunity for you to learn more about your prospect and accurately assess the value of your solution.

Keep that in the back of your mind and you’ll see success. 

aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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