Six Effective Sales Prospecting Strategies to Get Around Resistance

12 Apr 24

Dealing with resistance is part of selling. These effective sales prospecting techniques will help transform difficult conversations into promising leads.

If you sell for a living, hearing “no” is a part of your career. This is particularly true in prospecting, where prospects offer all types of resistance. However, this resistance typically doesn’t indicate that the prospect is interested in your solution. With these six effective sales prospecting tactics, you can manage common forms of prospecting resistance and book more appointments.

Save the Selling for Later

Before doing any prospecting in sales, it’s essential that you adopt the right mindset. The goal of prospecting is to set the appointment, not to sell.

Unfortunately, many sales professionals can’t help themselves and get trapped in discussing their solutions or pricing. This is a big mistake and should be avoided unless you have the decision-maker on the phone, and they have ample time to spend with you.

When prospecting a client, the last thing you want is to talk your way out of the appointment by giving too much information upfront and lose the opportunity to have a more in depth meeting with the customer. Furthermore, if you start selling during the prospecting call, chances are you won’t be adequately prepared or, even worse, the prospect won’t likely give you enough time to let you discuss their needs.

The selling should happen during the first meeting. Only then can you start selling. Prior to that, your goal is to set the meeting, and to that end, you must be prepared to overcome six common forms of resistance.

Six Responses to Common Forms of B2B Sales Prospecting Resistance

The root cause of most resistance is that the prospect didn’t expect your call and just wanted to get you off the phone to continue their business. However, most sales professionals have examples of great customers initially starting as challenging prospects.

The challenge of managing normal prospecting resistance is quickly redirecting the conversation without appearing too aggressive. Fortunately, you can anticipate and practice managing resistance when prospecting new clients since most of it falls into one of the following categories:

#1 More Information

When a prospect asks you to send them information, they simply are trying to get you off the phone. Remember, if you just send out information to the prospect, you will lose control of the prospecting process, significantly reducing your chances of further conversations with the prospect.

Possible responses that redirect the conversation back to setting the appointment include: “Before sending you out generic information, I would need to understand more about your situation to be sure I am giving you the best solution for your needs. Do you have time tomorrow for a brief conversation?” or “I would be happy to send you information. When should I call back to discuss further?”

#2 Procrastination

The prospect may be genuinely busy, but “call me back next quarter” can be a lifetime in the sales world. In this case, your response should focus on respecting their time and that speaking with you now is better.

Consider this: “I don’t want to take up your time. If we could schedule a 10-minute call, I will show you how we are helping companies such as XYZ [save time/money]. If you are still uninterested, you shouldn’t worry about me calling you next quarter. Would you like to talk for 15 minutes next Tuesday or Thursday?”

#3 No Time

This is more challenging than simple procrastination. Here, the prospect is telling you more forcefully that they want to get you off the phone. While it is likely that the prospect is busy, it is also expected that they don’t understand the value of your solution.

One effective sales prospecting strategy for managing this type of stiff resistance is to let the prospect control the process by asking permission: “Can I take 20 seconds now and explain what we do, and you can decide whether it is worth a follow-up conversation?” Assuming you can create interest with the prospect, you can then ask for an appointment.

#4 No Budget

This form of resistance is meant to be an immediate show-stopper: no budget means not qualified, so there is no reason to continue the call.

The best way of overcoming this form of resistance is to take the issue of money off the table: “Oh, there is no expectation that you will buy now. I just want to share how we are working with companies such as XYZ and how we can create value for your company, even if you buy later. Can I schedule a call for…?”

#5 Already Working with Someone

This is a challenging form of resistance since it requires you to quickly and meaningfully differentiate your offering from the competitor. For example, “Several of our customers also use [competitor] for [use case abc]. But they use us to help them with [use case xyz]. When is a good time to schedule a brief call?”

#6 Not Interested

This is the most challenging form of resistance, since the prospect is effectively hanging up on you. One effective technique is immediately sharing a success story and hoping to generate interest. For example, “That is what XYZ said until we showed them how much money we could save them…”

Sometimes, however, the prospect doesn’t want or doesn’t need your solution. In these cases, graciously accept defeat and move on to another lead.

To determine how hard you should push, use a simple rule of thumb: if you have responded to the resistance and the prospect still says “no,” you should let it go and move on to the next opportunity. Being overly aggressive or pushy is never a great long-term sales strategy.


Successful sales prospecting isn't about forcing a sale. It is about paving the way for a meaningful conversation.

Shift your focus from selling to securing appointments and resist the urge to divulge too much information immediately. Instead, prioritize booking the meeting and then use that time to have a productive sales conversation to understand the prospect's needs and demonstrate how your solution can address that need.

Mastering the art of managing prospecting resistance is equally crucial. Proactively anticipate and address common forms of resistance like requests for more information, procrastination, time constraints, budget concerns, existing solutions, and even flat-out disinterest. Remember, persistence can go a long way.

Sales Training Research Report by Sales Readiness Group


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