How to handle rejection in cold calling? 7 tips to make you a pro

Even the most seasoned sales reps will face rejection when cold calling. But, don’t let this phase you! Discover these 7 tips to help you handle cold calling rejections like a pro!
Reading time: 5 minutes

Cold calling is nerve-racking, and we understand why. Trying to reach unresponsive contacts and being outright rejected isn’t exactly worth looking forward to. 

That’s why many SDRs develop a fear of cold calling because of the immense rejection they often get. After all, many prospects aren’t exactly fond of being interrupted by a stranger interrupting their day and selling products to them. 

However, despite this, cold calling is still an effective business tactic. In 2022, 82% of buyers say they accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts that started with cold calls.

With that said, here are 7 ways you can handle cold call rejections to power through and make sure your next call is a good one!

Contents

💡 Counter the most common cold calling objections with these templates that you can just steal!

7 tips to handle cold calling rejection

1. Acknowledge the rejection

An important first tip for handling any cold call is recognizing and accepting rejection in the call. Rejection in sales is all part of the process. 

Understanding and acknowledging when your customers say ‘no’ is essential to let them know they are heard. 

Never force your way through your pitch, pretending that the prospect is still interested. You will end up sounding desperate, and worse, turn off any future opportunities for sales.  

Instead, stay confident. Thank your client for being direct, and keep in contact. Your prospects may not need your product now, but it can change the next day. 

Have the mindset to expect some rejection. Sales reps can get discouraged after receiving five if not tens of rejections. But don’t take the rejection personally. 

Turning down an offer simply means that your prospect is not currently interested in your product or plan. And this hardly has anything to do with you. 

2. Evaluate the nature of the rejections

A tip from Jeff Bezos is that — “No doesn’t always mean no”. 

There are many ways you can get your prospects to say ‘yes’ once you understand the reason behind why your prospect says ‘no’.

So follow up with a discovery question to find out why the prospect feels that way. The rejection could be because they are already using a similar service or simply a form of denial. 

If the prospect is already using a similar service, sales reps can follow up with a pitch about how their service is better. Or perhaps they are unaware of their needs, then prompt them by asking them questions about their business to unveil pain points. 

Ask what would need to happen for the deal to work for them. Questions like “What’s holding you back?” can get the prospect talking and let you understand what and how you can get them back on board. 

Essentially, the idea is to assess “no” as information rather than rejection. Discover the actual objective behind your prospect’s “no” and respond positively and professionally. 

Having a script at hand will help build your confidence even when dealing with difficult clients.

3. Keep the conversation going

During your cold calling journey, you’re bound to meet people who are on the fence or won’t directly reject you. 

They might ask you to send more marketing material or tell you that they’ll give you a call back. Though you should give your prospects the benefit of the doubt, many of them will use these tactics to reject you. You probably won’t hear from them again. 

Bear in mind that these are soft rejections, and you want to keep the conversation going to understand your prospects better to overcome these obstacles. 

Move the call forward by getting more details. Ask them if there is any specific information they’re looking for, discuss cost savings that will fit their budget, or ask them for a specific date and time for the follow-up call

End your call with a good conclusion, as the primary goal of any cold call is to maintain open dialogue and build rapport to further the discussion and exploration.

4. Offer more than one thing to sell

One simple sales tip we swear by is to never go into a call with just one thing to deal with. 

Though the primary goal of your call may be selling a specific product or plan, make sure you’re familiar with all the other products or services in your company. 

Don’t be fixated on selling the latest product of your business. It’s more important to listen to your prospect’s problem and offer the solution that provides the most value.  

By understanding their perspective, offering a valuable solution, and emphasizing positive customer experiences, you will increase your chances of convincing the prospect to buy from you.

Then again, it is difficult to sell a product immediately at the first phone call. 

Instead of focusing on closing the sale, prepare secondary goals with lower entry barriers like getting the prospect to sign up for a free trial for better conversion.

5. Record and analyze your call

Even the most successful sales professionals experience rejection. It is what you do after being rejected that counts. 

Think of your rejections as a learning opportunity. If possible, record your calls and analyze your recordings to see where you can improve. 

You can fix a bad cold call and see better results by diving deeper into your conversations with prospects. As a guide, the first 20 to 30 seconds are the most crucial part of your cold call. 

So if you find yourself rejected even before you have a chance to pitch your product, you need to improve on your cold call opening lines. Reword your opening statement so that your prospect is intrigued by your call. 

For example, after your introduction, tell them your pitch would be brief and show them the before and after results for your product to get their attention.

6. Plan for the next call

Before you make the second call to attempt to convince your prospect again, you need to have a plan.

Take note of whether the prospect has given you a soft rejection or a hard ‘no’. Because if you’re making a follow-up call, you need to have some context from your previous conversations. 

The main goal of any cold call is to start a dialog with the prospect, and being friendly can give you better chances for the conversation to go well. 

Researching more about the prospect or company can also help you craft a personalized pitch. You can highlight how your product will help solve their challenges and make them feel more confident. 

Part of pre-call planning should always involve having a cold call script, creating an outline, and mapping out standard objections and possible responses. This helps you easily navigate and adapt to the conversation. 

7. Go into the call with the right attitude

Ultimately, the secret to handling cold call rejections depends on your attitude. Sales reps who adopt a positive approach to cold calling find that it becomes easier. 

A sales rep who approaches people openly and respectfully with a beneficial and sensible deal will make a more empowering and welcoming call

Going into the call with the right attitude will also make it easier to build rapport with your prospects. The person on the other end of the line can feel if you’re interested in genuinely helping them, or if you’re just there to hit your sales quota.

Think about it — speaking to someone who’s sincere in listening and helping you overcome your challenge is much better than someone who sounds monotonous and disinterested. 

With the right positive attitude to cold calling, a rejection will cease to become a problem, and you will feel excited about a learning opportunity toward success.

Conclusion

Know that rejections are bound to happen, even for the best and most seasoned sales rep. 

What’s more important is to start cold calling and make it a habit. Also, practice these tips on handling cold calling rejections and not giving up to see better results.   

Though we may get knocked down by prospects saying ‘no’, don’t let that stop you from trying to convince them. Turn every call into a learning experience, and you will find success.  

Happy cold calling!

Adela Belin
Adela Belin

Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She is passionate about sharing stories to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.

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