How to Handle Difficult Sales-​Call Scenarios


So many things can go well during a sales call. And alternately, so many things can go wrong. Whether you and the prospect are on different pages or he or she can't stop talking about a different topic, calls can quickly go awry. How well do you handle those difficult moments? Being able to "save" a sales call can be a valuable skill for reps. Sean Higgins, in a HubSpot article, highlights three common scenarios and gives insightful tips on how to navigate each.

One example is the call that makes it clear the prospect just doesn't get it. When you're met by silence and clear confusion, don't panic. First, Higgins recommends asking yourself two questions:

  1. Did you hit the wrong points?
  2. Do you have the right person on the phone?

Thankfully, you should be able to answer these two within just a few minutes into the call. Find out by asking questions like, "Do you oversee the selection process?" or "What do you hope to learn from this meeting?" This quick qualification can give you the information needed to move forward. Now, it's time to get the prospect talking. "Draw from earlier conversations and ask how your product/​service measures up to your prospect's expectations," Higgins suggests. If the prospect is still not responding well, start asking direct questions like, "I'm sensing this call isn't meeting your needs. Is that correct?" Whatever you do, don't panic and drop the price. You should always drop the price as part of a strategy rather than a knee-​jerk reaction. Asking direct questions should clue in to the prospect's mindset so you can adjust the call accordingly.

Higgins goes on to discuss two other common difficulties that can arise during calls. With his tips, he believes that "you'll be able to move difficult calls forward and reduce the number of hoops your sales team jumps through every day."

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision-​makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.