How to turn “Not interested” from a sales objection into a sales WIN


sales objection
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

“I’m not interested.”

If you work in inside sales making cold calls, then you’ve probably heard this common sales objection from prospective clients.

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

sales objection
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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.

Sorry Willy Loman, but your weak sauce sales pitch failed to stand out and grab their attention from the get-go. Right out of the starting gate, your horse has twisted an ankle.

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

sales objection
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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

sales objection
Image courtesy of Ambro /

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.


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James K. Kim About James K. Kim
James K. Kim (Jim) is a commercial real estate advisor with Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany, Inc. in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in helping business owners expand into new locations or sell/lease a commercial retail, office, industrial, or investment property.

19 thoughts on “How to turn “Not interested” from a sales objection into a sales WIN

  1. Hi Jim

    I am in a industry of sales that merchants HATE. I sell merchant services, credit card processing. So when I call I say financial software, cause it is a software. I like the feel, felt found I will try that. My problem is people dragging feet and closing the account. What can be said besides “shit or get off the pot” so to speak. Cause nothing is working… help THank you

    1. Hey Terri,

      Here’s a great script from Mike Brooks that sounds like an effective way to overcome the “I need to think about it” stall:

      “__________, the only thing more costly than making a bad decision is not making one at all. If you don’t change things then things won’t get better for you. Now, you’ve already admitted that this has the best chance to make a positive impact in your production, right?

      Then do what my other clients do and put me and my company to work for you. Once you see the positive results we both know are possible here, you’ll be back to expand our coverage for you. And that’s going to be a win/win for us both, isn’t it?

      Then here’s what we need to do…”

      You can find more great scripts like this from Mike Brooks book “The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts” that’s available on Amazon. It has an entire chapter devoted to help merchant services salespeople like yourself. Here’s the Amazon link for it:

  2. This is really great! I’ve been looking for an email template for rejections or not interested customers. I think customers saying not interested is not the end of it and this blog really helped me reply or reacquire them. Currently trying and will still wait for the response.

    Hope this is effective.

  3. I used to be a door to door salesman and had to close over 60 people a day – so I have had my fair share of rejections!
    I was taught both the “feel – felt – found” formula and also the “Smile – Agree – Re-impulse and Close” which is the one that I used the most often.
    This ultimately involves the empathy through smiling and agreeing. The re-impulse is basically playing on the reasons that a person would buy (the fact that other people in the neighborhood had it was the price etc.) and then closing once again to confirm if it has worked.
    e.g. Objection — “Yes I completely understand where you are coming from, in fact Mrs Cooper your neighbour that I had spoken to before I came here initially felt the same way. One of the reasons that they actually went forward with this was the amount of money you could save and to take advantage of the fact that we are only here today …(etc) … So with that in mind would you be interested in just one for yourself or are you looking for a couple for the family?”

    I personally find this formula works amazingly well – hope that is useful for you 🙂

  4. I cold call businesses trying to get them to advertise on diner placemats and coffee mugs. The prospects always say they’re not interested because it’s not the best market for them or they prefer to put their money in other forms of advertising rather than on placemats.

    Are placemats really a turn-off for businesses? Is it just not classy enough to feature your business on a placemat?

    YET, there’s a co-worker of mine who rakes in the sales almost every day….she’s constantly flubbing up her pitch on the phone, giggling nervously like an idiot and truly sounds like a goof on the phone – and she is getting call backs non-stop. Why is this happening!?

    1. Hi Tina,

      I’ve gotten sales calls from reps selling placemat advertising, and while I like those types of ads, I just choose to invest my ad dollars into things like online advertising. However, that’s just for me personally, and it’s not for every other business out there. I’d recommend you just continue to make the calls, and come from a place of service and helping business owners to grow their business.

      As you adopt this mindset, it will come across on the phone and people will sense that, automatically letting down their guard.

      Be more interested in learning about their business, what they are trying to do, the audience they want to reach, and show how your product can help them accomplish that. And you get to this point by asking the right questions to uncover what the owner is doing to grow their business.

      Also, does your sales process involve a face-to-face meeting with prospects to show them samples?

      If so, I’d recommend the goal of these calls to be simply to book a face-to-face meeting, as opposed to getting them to whip out their credit card immediately and purchase advertising. They don’t fully understand what they are purchasing, which is why you’re probably coming up on a lot of resistance.

      And don’t compare yourself to your colleague. You are in competition with yourself. Your goal is to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.

  5. Hello i really need someones help. I started a new job a month ago and at first I did really well, I even got 4 deals on my first day on the phone (bare in mind i’ve never done this job before) Let me explain it, I live in the UK and as some people know the UK gets a million cold calls per day which all you pretty much hear is “im not intrested” phone gets put down or simply “we don’t need help we have it all sorted” Now bare in mind a lot of people we speak to really don’t have it sorted you can tell it’s simply just to get rid of us in the nicest way but some on the other hand just are rude and tell us to fuck off.

    Now let me explain what it is we do. WE DO NOT SELL ANYTHING and everything we do for them is free of charge so that is a start. our company is called the retirement ready campaign, all we’re trying to do is help them for when they do retire so they can live comfortably, (it’s pretty difficult to explain as it’s to do with pension and even i don’t understand it just yet im only 20 – Female) Every time I speak i’m already polite, nice and bubbly. All we do is book them in to talk to the customers service. Right let me get to the more or less what we say at the beginning of our pitch.
    The retirement ready campaign is set up for people who are NOT yet retired and the campaign is also set up to give you a quick glimpse into the future and lets you see what your retirement will actually look like, it takes a few moments its a completely free assessment. (its more or less of an example)
    Then we ask a few questions regarding how long they expect till they retire, if they’ve had a retirement review recently and if they have they’re own IFA who looks after their finances for them currently.
    they we explain why the government are urging everyone, and we explain this advert on tv where they transport people 10 to 20 years into the future to show them how life will be for them once they retire (that is what we do, and they’re is no charge) also a big thing normally cold calling numbers are on private ours isnt.

    I need help and ASAP.

    1. Hey Carmen,

      When it comes to the future, most people are content to not think about it. However, what you’ll want to do is get people to think about a future where they do not have the essential things they need to survive. Press this hot button, and they will be more likely to take that meeting.

      I would start this conversation with your name, your company, where you’re located, and then a BRIEF statement that sums up exactly what you do. Perhaps something like, “We are a free service that helps you evaluate if you have enough saved for retirement”. And then you can mention how most people simply cannot retire, they must keep working, however more and more jobs are being automated or will be hard to come by as more young people are waiting in the wings to snap them up.

      Just plant a few of these seeds, then ask for the appointment. Remember, all you want to do is pique interest (or make them nervous), then offer them an opportunity to learn more and see if this is right for them…all free, with no obligation.

      Also, if the consultation can be done over the phone, mention that. Or if they need to come into an office, let them know as well. All you want to do is present one more option to your prospect. You don’t know what’s going on in their life right now, and it is up to them to decide if this will be helpful to them now, in the future…or never. All you want to do is share your service and know that the right people who need it will be grateful you called. It’s up to you to continue finding these people and planting that seed. Plant the seed, water it daily, and eventually it will bare fruit. But if you feel yourself getting negative, down, or think nobody out there will benefit from your offer, then this will subconsciously come through in your calls without you even realizing it, and if you don’t believe…how do you expect a prospect to believe?

      Perhaps you can also augment your pitch with a quick case study example…such as “We recently helped this woman to retire after 50 years in the industry once we showed her a few tips she did with her savings to ensure income for life.” Obviously this is just an example, but you get the idea. Stories tell, facts sell.

      Keep it short, hit upon their hot buttons, back it up with examples that make sense, and just pencil in chats on the calendar to help more people achieve a better future.

  6. I am working for a digitizing and vectorization company i had working since last year but i am not succeed to complete a target can you help me how to deal with not interested customers.

    1. Hey Shawn,

      If you’re hearing “not interested” then make your offer more interesting. What are the hot button issues or challenges you are helping clients to solve? What are some success stories working with other clients that you can share with potential new clients? What are some of the cost savings or new opportunities that working with your company can generate? What current client can refer you to other people they know?

      Make your offer all about how you help make your client’s life easier, and you’ll have their attention, at least enough to book a face to face meeting, which should be your only goal when making calls. All you want to do is sit down for 15 minutes and show them what you have and why you are valuable.

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