50 Shades of “Not Interested.” A Sales Rebuttal Objection Strategy.

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Funny story. Newbie in training relates a call in which the decision-maker replied “not interested.” Get this. The newbie actually thought that meant they were “not interested.” Hilarious.

Newbie reps, they are so innocent.

When your prospect says “not interested.” The least likely reality of this blow off is that your decision-maker is actually “not interested.”

If your objection handling response assumes that there is an element of truth present when you hear the “not interested” objection prospecting blow off, you are losing a lot of opportunities and future closes.

Here are some examples to deal with this common sales objection that work better than begging them to not hang-up.

The “Not Interested” sales objection: What is really going on?

First consideration: Your sales prospecting scripts invited that response. What you said and how you said it are the reasons why you hear this common sales objection over and over again.

Sad but true. If you are hearing the “not interested” sales objection too often and want to craft a more effective responses, the first place you need to look is your mirror. Why? The words you spoke prior to hearing the “I’m not interested” objection probably caused the sales objection blow off you now feel a need to overcome.

Your first step is not to focus on overcoming this sales objection blow-off, and most of the time it is a blow-off, not an actual statement of truth. Your first focus is within.

When you hear “not interested” as a sales objection, your decision-maker may actually by saying one of these things.

“I don’t understand what they do so “I’m not interested.””
“Sounds like another dime a dozen service provider requesting a demo and not worth my time, even though I need what they offer so “I’m not interested.””
“This person sounds like the other idiot sales reps who call me and waste my time with a weak sales message so “I’m not interested.””
“I need this but I’m going to select the salespeople I talk to so “I’m not interested.””

Your sales objection and rebuttal script strategy in overcoming the “I’m not interested” objection starts before your prospects even say it.

How to overcome the “not interested” sales objection and “say something” syndrome.

Second consideration: Human compulsion to fill silence in conversation with something. When calling, blather will do.


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When it comes to cold calling many inside sales teams suffer from neurological auto verbiage impulse compulsion. When callers don’t know what to say they say something anyway.

When precision crafting your “not interested” sales rebuttal better salespeople appreciate that many times “not interested” is the equivalent of “I don’t get it,” “I’m buying but this person isn’t worth my time,” “I’m buying but this company sounds pretty run of the mill, I’ll pick someone more credible,” “We are making this decision sometime in the future, not now,” or “I need more time to grasp what is being said.”

It is key that your response assume that what was expressed was not literally true. It is not because “buyers are liars.” It would be convenient for us if that was true because we then would not have to accept responsibility for causing that objection by our confusing, bland, non-credible, benefit-light sales scripts. But buyers are not liars. They may not understand what we offer, get our value, why we are more worthy than the rest or how they will benefit from meeting with us. That is on us, not them.

So your sales objection handling strategy for the “not interested” blow-off starts by understanding that when you hear “I’m not interested” what is really going on is…

1. They don’t understand what you do.
2. They need more time to grasp what you are saying.
3. They don’t think you are worth their time even though they have a need.
4. They will have a need in the future but don’t see the value in meeting now.
5. They will have a need in the future but don’t feel it is worth mentioning to you.
6. They have a need but have already or will pick their own providers to speak to. You don’t seem worthy.
7. They have no need now or in the future.

The least likely reality is #7.

The Worst Response to the “I’m not interested” Sales Objection Assumes it is True.

Third consideration: You need techniques to double-check what the potential customer is really thinking .

So, if you don’t know what the decision maker really means( frankly, most of the time the decision-maker doesn’t know what they mean or is still processing what you said) you have to give them more time to process what you say and reinforce the clarity of what you do, your credibility and value, and what they will get if they commit to a next step with you.

So your objection handling response to “not interested” assumes that what you are hearing is not literally true and gives the decision-maker more time to process what is being said and absorb what’s in it for them.

Your rebuttal to “not interested” must restate and reinforce what you do, your credibility, your benefits and specifically what they will get if they spend more time with you. [Shameless plug: Sample rebuttal scripts and examples can be found in my books available on Amazon.]

If their response is still something other than “yes,” you need to do one more thing. Check for future business needs.

Remember, when you hear the “I’m not interested” sales objection one of the more probable things it really means is “We will have a need in the near future, but not now.”

In my world most of my training and coaching clients sell longer sales cycle offerings. Their sales process acknowledge and reflects that reality. It is far more likely they interact with a decision-maker at a time when they are not in active buying mode. Many of those decision-makers will buy within the next 6 – 18 months. They will buy from a competitor if you are not there.

When you hear the “not interested” objection they may really be saying “not now.” So you have to enable them to tell you how to sell them.


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So after starting with your impactful benefit and credibility laden “set the appointment” pitch,” and responding to the “I’m not interested” objection by repeating and reinforcing what you do, your credibility, the benefits clients get from you and what they will learn at a meeting… end with this.

“Not an issue, don’t want to be on your back, but obviously we do a lot of this. Could you suggest a time for me to be back in touch with you?” Then say nothing. Nothing.

You will be surprised at how many times after hearing the “I’m not interested” objection and hearing it again delivering your response, that you hear “Call me in two weeks, call me in a month or call me in 3 months.”

Your simple response when you do. “Happy to do that, is there a particular reason why that is a good time to call?” Be quiet. They tell you. You promise to call, say thanks and then hang-up.

Your “not interested” decision-maker just turned into a qualified opportunity. Ka-ching.

The next time you hear “not interested,” be ready.

Scott Channell sales scripts & appointment setting