How To Handle “I’m Not Interested” In A Cold Call

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

You finally get through to the decision maker (DM) and before you can even explain the reason for your call, you hear, “I’m not interested!”Orange work No

What you need to realise is that this impulsive, nearly subconscious response is NOT actually an objection. The prospect has nothing to object to at this point. However, most sales people launch into a plethora of “rebuttals” in attempt to overcome this non-objection, resulting in nothing but a virtual fight.

Another Point of View
First, you need to understand the true nature and reasoning behind the automatic, “I’m not interested,” response. It is a sincere instinctive and defensive reaction.

Look at it this way: Just why SHOULD the prospect be interested in talking to you? If the buyer already had a pre-existing interest in your products or services, would it not make sense that they should have called YOU?

The Buyer is Innocent
Realise that the prospect at that time is not yet aware of all of the reasons why they SHOULD be interested. YOU know the problems that the prospect is having, and how you can help. YOU know how you can serve their needs better than their current supplier can.

However, if the prospect was already aware that your company can better supply them; if they already knew that you are a better choice, then why have they not sought you out? If the buyer is someone who KNOWINGLY continues to do business with an inferior company, using substandard products, then perhaps it is someone whit whom you do not want to do business.

Know Your Job
The sales process is an educational one. It is YOUR job to help the prospect and to inform the prospect of the reasons to consider you. However, you cannot expect him or her to be standing there waiting for your call. Understand the prospect’s situation and empathise with how they feel and why, and you will better be able to handle this early cold call response. Here is a generic example.

Sales Person: “Hi, Liam. Ethan James here, with XYZ Solutions…”

Prospect: “I’m not interested!”

Sales Person: “Good! I’m actually glad to hear that you are not interested. In fact, if you are running a successful business, I would not expect you to be interested right now. Do you have about 30 seconds, and I can explain?

Prospect: “Ah….Well, I guess…”

Sales Person: “You see, Liam, my information is that your company is a leader in the industry and that requires an astute business head, especially in this economic climate. So, I have to assume that if you HAD an interest in my company/product, you would have called ME. Does that make sense?”

Prospect: “Yeah.”

Sales Person: “I also have to assume that you already have a supplier you work with and are completely satisfied. I mean if you were NOT satisfied, you would have dumped them already—isn’t that right?”

Prospect: “Well, actually, yes. I’ve been dealing with the same company for six years—have no complaints.”

Sales Person: “Of course. And that is exactly why I called. At this time, I dare not even think about asking you to GIVE me any of your business; I haven’t earned it. However, I have found that most business owners in your industry…”

Now you should be into your presentation and you have a mind that is a bit more open.

Understand that it is normal and OK if the prospect is not interested when you call. Don’t fight it. Use it.

Want To improve Your Cold Calls Even Further?

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Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 7 August, 2012

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