When a Prospect Says, “We’re Not Interested,” How Can I Save This Opportunity?

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not-interestedWhen (not “if”) your prospect tells you they’re not interested, you have to be ready to respond. But are you even sure it’s a legitimate opportunity? Start by revisiting your definition of “opportunity.” The issue may have little to do with the buyer.

For example, a prospect on a cold call may be an opportunity, depending on your definition, but they’re certainly not the same type of opportunity as a buyer who has invited you to their office for a first appointment.

When a gatekeeper says this to you on a cold call, your response needs to be quick and effective, because you have very little time to save the opportunity.

Here’s a good response that I like: “Most of our current clients in your industry were not interested when we first approached them either. Once they discovered what we offered and the timing was right for them, they became a customer. Here’s a list of some of those customers.”

When you’re on an appointment, you should have a little more time to respond. But, what you need is information. Here are a few self-reflective questions to help you:

  • At what point in your sales process did they say this? The earlier in the sales process, the greater the chance the prospect may have already found another vendor. Or, you may not have developed trust and they’re attempting to quickly end the meeting.
  • Are you far enough along in qualifying that you can realistically call this a legitimate opportunity? If you haven’t gotten that far, then it may be a function of the first question. If they are qualified, then issues such as terms, conditions, price, selection, or inventory could be the cause. In other cases, your contact may not, in fact, be the decision-maker and is realizing they are in over their head and don’t want to look bad.
  • What were the buyer’s reasons for wanting to see you and what has changed now? If you’re certain the customer is qualified, then you really need to know why they are not interested in your solution. If you have an internal advocate within the organization, ask them. Maybe you missed something. An event might have occurred in the organization that’s diverting their attention, but you’re totally unaware of it.

When a buyer says they’re not interested, there are places to look to find out why. A good place is to start with yourself. Ask your sales manager or coach to observe you on a sales appointment and look for issues in your approach, words, tone, listening skills, and execution of the sales process. You could be sabotaging your own success without even knowing it. Honest evaluation and coaching from a good sales manager can correct that.

The first goal is not to urgently attempt to make changes or assume what the problem is. Your goal is to accurately identify the root cause, and then fix it. It may be something quite simple and with a little adjustment on your part, can lead to greater sales and fewer objections.

Posted in Blog.