“I’m not interested.”
It’s a go-to favorite for many decision makers because of one simple reason: it works.
It works in ditching the call and getting your prospect off the phone and back to whatever it is they were doing before you interrupted their hectic day.
So how do you respond to the “I’m not interested” sales objection and possibly gain a new client?
Before we examine ways to overcome the “I’m not interested” sales objection, it’s important to first look at things from your prospect’s point of view.
Your prospects are crazy busy these days
Let’s face it, your prospect probably gets dozens of phone (as well as email, snail mail, and live) solicitations per week.
And some of these might actually be useful.
However, your prospect’s main responsibilities are not to take phone calls and watch product demos.
Your prospect has a million other things they need to get done yesterday.
And unfortunately for you, listening to your pitch is not one of them.
And that’s why the “I’m not interested” sales objection is the time-tested, knee-jerk defensive reaction that successfully slams the door on sellers peddling their wares.
Quite simply, if your prospect took the time to meet with every single vendor who called them, they would never get anything done.
The question every sales professional must ask themselves
After hearing those three simple yet disarming words, most inexperienced salespeople simply hang up the phone and just move on to the next dial.
That’s good, right? Because afterall, sales is a numbers game, correct?
Well, yes…and no.
Because if you’re consistently getting the “not interested” sales objection call after call, then you need to ask yourself this critically important question:
How many of those seemingly “uninterested” prospects could’ve been converted into highly interested, motivated, and long-term buyers?
Later in this post, I will show you a simple yet effective rebuttal technique that can help you turn “not interested” into “Tell me more”.
Plus, as an added bonus, this valuable tip can also be applied to areas outside of professional selling.
In fact, it can be used in almost any situation in life where people may be wary and resistant to hearing your good ideas.
But before we get to all that, it’s critical to first look into the exact reason why your prospects are not interested to begin with.
The truth about the “I’m not interested” sales objection
If your prospects tell you they’re not interested, then they might actually be telling you the truth.
The reason why your prospects aren’t interested in speaking with you is simple:
You aren’t interesting.
Because the cold, hard truth is, if you want to get anywhere in sales (and life), then you need to learn how to make your prospects sit up, take notice, and beg you to tell them more.
How to get your prospects interested in what you’re selling
If prospects are constantly telling you they’re not interested, then it’s time to revisit your value proposition.
Your value proposition is the reason why your customer buys from you. And if you can’t clearly state this reason, then you can’t expect your prospect to figure it out, either.
How to create your value proposition
To create or tweak your value proposition, start by answering these important questions about your product:
- Does your product solve a major pain point or address a specific “hot button” issue (e.g. lower sales revenue, skyrocketing costs, ballooning employee turnover, etc.)?
- What is the end result of using your solution to solve the hot button issue?
- How has your product solved the same hot button issue for your prospect’s competitors?
Once you have your answers, then work them into your initial conversations with prospects.
Be succinct and direct and make sure you clearly state end results and benefits. Don’t muck it up with flowery buzzwords and jargon that dilute your message and screw up your value prop.
Do it right, and you’ll be rewarded with your prospect’s undivided attention.
Do it wrong, and you’ll continue to lose out on potentially huge sales.
What your prospect really cares about
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking your prospects will actually care that your company won a prestigious award or you have millions of satisfied customers.
The reality is your prospect couldn’t care less about that stuff because it has zero relevance to solving their problems.
And that’s why it’s absolutely critical to build your prospect’s interest early.
And the best way to do that is by mentioning the benefits they get as a result of using your product, such as:
- Reducing costs
- Increasing sales
- Saving time
- Enhancing safety
By mentioning these benefits early and often in the sales conversation, you gain the prospect’s interest so they can’t truthfully say they’re “Not interested”.
How to respond to the “I’m not interested” sales objection: The Feel, Felt, Found Technique
Even if you clearly state the benefits of your product and how it solves your prospect’s hot button issues, you might still hear the “not interested” sales objection on your calls.
This happens because for many people, the status quo can be more comforting than the unknown future.
That’s because most people like to stick with the familiar; even if the familiar sucks.
So if you hear the “not interested” sales objection, then try a proven technique called “Feel, Felt, Found” that will help push the sales conversation forward, rather than screeching to an abrupt halt.
Here’s how it works.
“I understand how you feel.”
Saying this demonstrates your empathy to your prospect and reassures them that they are heard and understood.
Remember, as a selling professional you are responsible for solving problems by educating prospects about your solution.
By acknowledging their doubts about your offering, you are putting the prospect at ease. And this sets the stage for why they need to give you a closer look, which continues with “Felt” and “Found” next.
“Many of my clients including [name a specific client, preferably one in your prospect’s industry] felt the same way when I first called them.”
Nobody likes to be an outcast, and the same goes for your prospect.
The Felt statement puts your prospect in the same boat as others. It gives them a bit of reassurance to let down their guard.
You’re also acknowledging this initial defensive position by your prospect. This acknowledgement sets the stage for explaining why it’s worthwhile for your prospect to listen.
Afterall, you just stated that current customers eventually softened their stance and became receptive to hearing more. Your prospect may be influenced enough to do the same.
“However, they found that we helped them to [state the key benefits of your product, e.g. reduce costs, save time, generate more sales] which resulted in [annual savings of $X, reduced waste by X%, etc.]”
Here’s where you back up your claims with actual, real FACT. Always try to cite numbers rather than generalities.
Also, by sharing these customer success stories, you create convincing testimonials that leave a positive impression of you and your brand.
And don’t forget to close by asking for the appointment
“That’s why I think we should pencil in a time on your calendar so I can give you some more information and see if we can be useful for you as well. How does next Tuesday at 3 work for you?”
Remember, the goal of your initial prospecting cold call is to get to the most important conversation: the next conversation.
Respect your busy prospect’s time, book the appointment, and let them get back to work.
Early in your initial conversation with prospects, you must clearly state your product’s benefits and how they solve your prospect’s hot button issues.
Do this consistently, and you’ll dramatically reduce the number of times you hear those words “I’m not interested” uttered by your prospect.
And by using the “Feel, Felt, Found” technique, you will ease your prospect’s apprehension in doing business with you.
Do you hear the “I’m not interested” sales objection a lot when making cold calls?
What is your preferred technique for answering this common sales objection?
Please share your thoughts below in the comments with other sales professionals worldwide.
James K. Kim
James "Jim" Kim is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield / Pyramid Brokerage Company in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in retail, office, and industrial tenant and landlord representation.