Overcoming the 3 Most Common Sales Obstacles

January 18, 2016

To ensure that our team members at InsideOut succeed on personal and collaborative levels, we have pledged to develop a company philosophy, or a company best practice playbook, together. In our first panel, lead by our Accelerators Michael Hinojosa and Ellen Bawcom, we discussed the 3 most common sales obstacles and how to overcome them.

1. The Customer Selling to the Salesperson

On every single phone call, a sale is occurring – the customer is either selling to you on why they don’t want your services or you are selling your services to them. Regardless of the customer’s initial response to our call, it is our job to take command of the conversation. Here are three examples of how to capture the customer’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

Example 1

Customer: “I’m all set.”

Salesperson: “What are you all set on? What is it that you think I’m talking about?”

Though instinct may tell you to give up, this type of situation is the perfect opportunity to utilize probing questions to pinpoint the customer’s exact needs. With those exact needs in hand, you will have greater success in framing your offer.

Example 2

Customer: “I don’t have time right now.”

Salesperson: “When would be a good time? Tomorrow? Morning? Afternoon?”

Similar to the first example, there couldn’t be a better set up for you to book an appointment. The customer is telling you he or she doesn’t have time “now” so instead ask questions to pinpoint a time that is best for him or her. Assure the customer that the offer you are proposing has serious value and will aid in revenue growth.

Example 3

Customer: *Hangs up phone*

Salesperson: “Next!”

When an individual hangs up on you, even though you tried to move the conversation going, just keep going. Say to your teammate’s, “Next!” This will create a sense of camaraderie each time one of you “fails.” The more you dial, the more successful you will be.

2. Navigating the Gatekeeper

It’s impossible to get through a gate easily without a key, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to the other side. Among the many ways, you can politely ask someone for a key or you can simply jump the fence.

Politely Asking for a Key

Engage the gatekeeper in a conversation that assures he or she that you are here to support his or her needs. Instead of selling something, frame your pitch that you are trying to give them something, whether that be increased efficiency, revenue growth, or greater customer success. Document your conversations as well as the gatekeeper’s schedule. When you do so, the gatekeeper will often offer a key to the other side.

Jump the Fence

Call at a time that the gatekeeper is not around – before or after he or she comes to work or on lunch. The decision maker will often pick up the phone to ensure the call isn’t lost, providing you a prime opportunity for a conversation.

3. Capturing Attention with an Email Subject

There are a ton of great strategies regarding email subjects, but here are our Accelerators 3 favorite lines:

*Voicemail_01/18/16, a subject line that appears to look as if it was automatically generated is often a great approach – it looks as if the customer missed a call and didn’t receive a voicemail, incentivizing the customer to open and read the email.

I trust that your all set…, the break up subject line is a great way to engage your customer at the last touch – often they will put off your offer, but this final reminder always yield successful results.

Thank You: Info for Webinar, take a proactive approach when sending out single event details – this subject line implies that the customer has signed up, but internally, shows a call to action for them to “complete their registration.”


Success is self-defined, and as a company, we are striving to ensure that each Accelerator has a fine-tuned definition to ensure the highest level of success. Stay tuned for additional issues that hinder successful closes as we work to develop our collective company philosophy.