Stalling Tactics To Use On A Sales Call

Sales calls can be difficult when your prospect stalls the sale. Read on to learn stalling tactics, how to deal with prospects who refuse to answer, have objections, and delay the purchase.


In this article:

  1. Understand Why Prospects Stall
  2. Preparation is Key
  3. Start with a Clear Objective
  4. Needs Analysis
  5. Qualify a Stall or a Delay
  6. Be Strong but Not Pushy
  7. Time is Precious
  8. Teach Your Customers
  9. Know How to Handle Difficult Prospects
    1. If they refuse to answer your questions
    2. If they have many objections
    3. If the prospect delays
  10. Know When to Walk Away

Stalling Tactics Tips and How to Handle Difficult Calls

Around 80% of business is lost to no decision at all, and customers have become increasingly risk-averse. This could imply that salespeople need to get better at leading conversations and gaining a definite yes or no decision.

Successful sales reps must challenge their customers and use their unique abilities to gain business during the sales call.

The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) led a survey of more than 6,000 sales representatives around the world and in numerous industries.

The ‘challenging’ sales reps were much more successful at handling stalling tactics and closing deals using teaching, tailoring, and taking control strategies.

But how can that be done? Read on to find out 10 tactics you can use.

Understand Why Prospects Stall

Michael Pedone is the founder of, an online training company for B2B sales teams that need to overcome call reluctance.

Michael has been a straight commission sales rep for over 25 years. “He launched an internet marketing company during the dot com meltdown and defied the odds by turning it into a massively successful venture. A large factor in its success was Michael’s ability to teach his proven phone sales techniques to his ever-expanding staff, creating swift growth for the company”.

Stalling is a reality of sales. But why do prospects stall? One of the main reasons is because salespeople have not given their prospects a good enough reason to buy now.

Prospects could be stalling because of anxieties or uncertainties to buy, or they are torn between different products or services.

When the desire to buy is enough, your prospect will go ahead with the sale.

Preparation is Key stalling tactics

Salespeople need to be ready for objections and prepare to negotiate using tactics to handle each issue. Preparation is key to handling a stall, and a good closer should be able to anticipate stumbling blocks and challenge stalls.

Start with a Clear Objective

Having a clear, set out goal prior to any call is the key to controlling the call.

Your mindset before the call quite often determines the outcome before you pick up the phone.

Look at the 5 Ws and 1 H (or, in this case, 4 Ws). Establish who you are calling, why you are calling, what you need to accomplish when you need to accomplish it by, and how you will achieve it.

Why you are calling isn’t just because your prospect is in your pipeline, it should be about why you want to achieve success. Visualize your goal and then determine how you will get it done step by step.

Empowering yourself will lead to a better call and a more positive outcome.


Needs Analysis stalling tactics

a man having a call and looking at document | Need Analysis

Qualifying a prospect and asking questions to establish needs will determine if the prospect can or wants to buy the product. A needs analysis task must be carried out on each customer.

Allowing the prospect to talk as much as possible will enable the salesperson to learn a lot about their business and what they want to accomplish.

Getting permission to ask questions in the first instance will bring down defenses when you start to question your prospect.

Many salespeople don’t realize their low responses could be due to their message being off.

The opening value statement when contacting prospects by phone has two objectives:

  • Piquing interest
  • Gaining permission to ask questions/continue with the call

Ask astute questions to control the call, actively listen to responses to uncover needs, and then find solutions. Establish pain points, challenge their thinking, and discuss product resolutions.

Establishing the real reason for the stall will allow the salesperson to eliminate it. Uncover what exactly is making the prospect uncomfortable and how to get them off the fence.


Qualify a Stall or a Delay

Understand if the objection is an actual stall or a delay. A stall might be an objection around choosing a product variable, but a delay, for example, could be about not having enough funds to make the purchase for a few months.

Knowing which is necessary to find solutions.


Be Strong but Not Pushy

Take charge by using ‘friendly strength’ and expertise to lead the call. No one wants a pushy salesperson, but also no one wants an ‘impartial doormat,’ so find the balance.

Call your prospects when you have the most energy in the day; this is typically in the morning. Your tone and enthusiasm will then resonate through the phone.


Time is Precious stalling tactics

a senior man watching time while having a call | Time is Precious

Mentioning that time is valuable, for both parties, is a respectful way to determine if the prospect is genuine about the purchase, but this needs to be done delicately so as not to annoy your customer.


Teach Your Customers

Challenging your prospect and teaching them something is more likely to drive their purchase decision. By testing their thinking, they will be curious about your product or service and buy into it.

Offering suggestions can sometimes help move stalling prospects on, even if not directly related to the product or service. This promotes better relationships and shows that you care about their success.


Know How to Handle Difficult Prospects

What should you say to control a call with difficult prospects?


If they refuse to answer your questions.

Make sure the customer recognizes that they have a problem, even if that problem is with their existing product. When they know this, they should open up and let you find a solution.

Your goal is to demonstrate that answering your questions will benefit them.

Tell your customer it will be quicker if you can ask questions because you would have to be generic otherwise and possibly talk about unnecessary points.

Turn their questions around to present a qualifying question secretly. For example, if they ask for a price, ask them if they have a budget, why the price is important, what price means to them, etc.

If they continue to refuse, and the sale is that vital to you, then make the sale the way they want but let them know they could be missing out on something, including a discount.


If they have many objections

Let your prospect talk until they have no more objections, but actively listen to what they are saying.

Prioritize objections. Ask them – of all their points, which is the most pertinent, or which one is the deal-breaker. Then define which issues are still relevant and which ones are the nice-to-haves. Then focus your conversation on the deal-breaking points.

Ask – if all the points could be resolved, “would you allow us to be your solution”? If no, clarify what still needs to be done.

Keep the call on track. If your prospect starts talking about issues other than the deal-breakers, bring them back to focus on what matters.


If the prospect delays

Once you’ve established there is a genuine delay, ask your prospect if anything could threaten your partnership or sale. This will help you further identify obstacles, confirm their commitments, and close the deal quicker.

Go back and resolve any issues, if you can, and state the next steps in the sales process.


Know When to Walk Away stalling tactics

Knowing when to walk away from the stall will save wasting time in the long run.

If you have done everything in your power correctly, yet the customer is still stalling, suggest they get back to you when they are ready, or arrange a follow-up call at a later date.

What time of day do you do your first-time calls? What sales mistakes have you made in the past? Please share your sales mistakes and thoughts in the comments section below.

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