Most Common (and Hardest!) Objections to Get Past

Objections are unavoidable on sales calls, but encountering one doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the conversation. If you’re able to anticipate what your prospect’s objections will be, you stand a better chance of overcoming them.

At Trellus, their AI sales coach detects objections, provides real-time suggestions to guide reps during the call, and measures the effectiveness of those suggestions based on different metrics.

We reviewed Trellus’ call analytics from over 161,000 dials to find the most common objections and the most difficult to overcome–then put our findings together to help you address those objections more effectively.

Here’s what we found:

Table 1

This table shows the number of occurrences of each objection. An example for the type of objection in the category is given in the parenthesis. We also computed the number of times this objection arises over calls lasting over 30 seconds to avoid situations where dials are cut short (which is often).


Table 2

This table shows the success at overcoming an objection. We measure this by checking if the prospect speaks for more than 2 minutes after the objection arises as a proxy for having ‘overcome’ the objection. These are ranked in ascending order, where a higher % means the objection was more frequently overcome. For example, delay objections are the hardest to overcome.

These analytics were aggregated based on the coaching that Trellus has provided to its users throughout 161,500 dials. Of that number, 58,619 calls (2.75%) lasted longer than 30 seconds. These longer calls are particularly interesting because they tell us how often each objection can be successfully overcome.

The following strategies will help you address the most common and persistent cold call objections:

1. “I’m not interested.”

According to the data, lack of interest is the most common objection sales reps will encounter on any given cold call. The good news is it’s also relatively easy to overcome.

There are a few different approaches to getting past this objection. The first is to ask what the prospect is looking for if it’s not your product.

The second is to dig a little deeper by asking: “Would you help me understand why?” See if you can uncover the specific reason for their lack of interest. With either approach, focus on asking an open-ended question to keep the conversation going.

You could also try asking:

  • Could you give me 27 seconds to explain what we do?
  • That’s fair {NAME}, many of my best customers also said they weren’t interested when I first called, but now they have {benefit statement}. Do you mind if I take 27 seconds to explain how we did that? 

2. “Just send me an email.”

This response in itself isn’t an objection–it’s an opportunity for you to send the prospect more information, which means they could be interested in your solution.

That said, you should still make the most of the time you have on the call by qualifying the prospect.

Try these:

  • I’d be happy to. We have lots of documentation. Would you prefer a case study or one of our {best pieces of content}? 
      • However they answer, try and get them to elaborate on why a particular piece is important to them.
  • I’d be happy to. Would you mind telling me how your team is handling {problem space}?
  • Happy to. But typically, when I hear that, what it means is you don’t have time right now.  When could we schedule a time when you’re not so busy?

3. “I’m busy right now.”

The classic “bad time” response is extremely common, and according to our data, the second most challenging objection to overcome.

Start by acknowledging the prospect’s objection by saying something like, “I understand you’re busy, and I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”

Then explain why this call will be worth their time. For example, will your solution help them save money or increase productivity? Clearly explain the benefit, then let the prospect decide whether or not they have a few minutes to spare to discuss it further.

Try the following:

  • I’ll be brief… go into your pitch.
  • I totally understand.  You weren’t expecting my call.  I’ll be brief and let you get back to your day…
  • I totally understand.  You weren’t expecting my call.  When would be a good time to talk about {benefit}? 

4. “We already have a solution in place.”

This objection isn’t the conversation killer that some salespeople may assume. In fact, it turned out to be the easiest objection to overcome.

Not only is this a great opportunity for you to explain what makes your solution better than competitor options, but the fact that the prospect already has a solution in place demonstrates they’re a qualified buyer.

They’re already aware they have the problem your product solves; now it’s time to show them why your company is the best option.

Start by asking, “Why did you choose [company X]? What’s working well and what’s not?” From there, you can ask for permission to explain how your solution is different.

5. “We don’t have the budget.”

Budget objections weren’t as common as a lack of time or interest. Still, only 29.17% of calls continued past the two-minute mark after this objection, which indicates that reps have difficulty overcoming it.

The best way to handle cost objections depends on what the underlying issue is. It could be that the buyer is unqualified, or it could be that they don’t yet see the potential ROI of your product.

To move the conversation forward, ask them to tell you more about their budget constraints. This should help you understand which category they fall into so you can tailor your approach accordingly.


  • Pause… “that’s not why I called”, pause… go back into your pitch.
  • That makes sense; I have nothing to sell you today and was hoping to learn about what you’re doing about {problem space}, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
  • That makes sense; I have nothing to sell you today and was hoping to learn about what you’re doing about {problem space}, if you answer a few questions I’ll stop bothering you ;). How does your team handle {problem space}?

6. “Talk to me in 3 months.”

Delay objections were the hardest to overcome, with only 10.34% of conversations continuing for two minutes after the objection arose.

First, try to better understand the prospect’s motivation: “I’ll touch base with you next quarter. Before you go, I’d love to understand why now might not be the right time and what your expectations are for next quarter.”

Then, set a specific date to follow up so you have something on the calendar.

You can also try: “Happy to. Out of curiosity, what’s going to change between now and then?”

7. “I don’t have decision power.”

This objection was successfully overcome 24.63% of the time because it’s not really an objection at all.

If you reached the wrong person, there’s no point in continuing a sales conversation. Instead, your goal should be to secure a warm introduction to the decision-maker.

Try responding with, “Thanks for letting me know. Who is responsible for making those decisions? Would you mind introducing me?”  

8. “That’s not my role.”

Similar to the objection above, this can be overcome by simply asking to be redirected to the right person:

  • Sorry about that, I must have gotten lost in your phone system. Who handles {problem space} for your company? 
  • That’s why I called. Most {job title} I talk to are involved in the {problem space}. Could you tell me how you’re handling X?

One bonus of reaching the wrong person is that when you connect with the right prospect, you can tell them someone internally sent you, and this lends instant credibility to your call.

9. “I haven’t heard of you.”

This objection was overcome 40.16% of the time, one of the highest success rates out of all the objections in this study. Think of this as a request for more information.

Give the prospect a quick summary of your company or product’s value proposition. Then explain why you’re calling and why it’s relevant to them: “We help [companies like the prospect’s] achieve [specific results]. I’d love to speak to you about…”

If the prospect still seems unsure, you can mention past case studies or social proof to build legitimacy.

You can also try:

  • I hadn’t heard about us either before I joined, but the more I learned about {your product} and how it’s delivering {benefit} for customers like {case study customer}…
  • {NAME}, I completely understand that you haven’t heard of us.  In fact, that’s the same thing we heard from {reference customer}. However, they gave a rep like me a chance and have {received benefit}. I would love to help get your team the same results.  {insightful question}.

10. “How did you get my number?”

This objection tends to stop inexperienced salespeople in their tracks, especially if the prospect sounds angry or annoyed. If you encounter this type of resistance, keep a light tone and don’t get defensive.

Honesty is the best policy here. Tell the prospect truthfully where you got their number from, whether it was a signup form on your company website or if you came across their information during your research process.

You can try:

Fair question.  I work for a company that helps build outbound sales teams, and my job is to find leaders whose teams might benefit from what we do.  So when I come across someone like you, I move mountains to get in touch with them. <insightful question>” 

This objection can be a tricky one (our data shows that it’s only overcome successfully 14.29% of the time), but it’s not impossible to counter. Be honest, stay positive, and remind the prospect that the reason you’re calling is that you think your solution can help them solve a problem.


Until the prospect understands why your product or service is unique, the no is not really a no. It’s just a no for now given the circumstances, and the circumstances could likely change over time.

So, until you both arrive at a point of mutual understanding – you fully understand their situation, and they understand yours – you’re not receiving a no; you’re receiving a brush-off.

Anticipating the most common objections will help you better prepare for sales calls. Even the most difficult objections can be overcome, and great salespeople know how to turn those objections into opportunities.