'No thanks, I'm not interested' can be a blessing


"No thanks, I'm not interested" is not a phrase that professional salespeople think they want to hear.

The fact is, most salespeople assume that if faced with resistance, they must be tenacious and determined and push to make the sale.

There is a misconception in selling that, unfortunately, many subscribe to -- that is, that a salesperson should never take "no" for an answer.

The fear of letting a prospect get away brings into play a variety of time-honored tricks and tactics aimed to prevent the prospect's escape and to secure the sale -- regardless of how much arm-twisting may be involved.

What if, however, being turned down could actually be a blessing in disguise?

What if instead of dreading, avoiding or denying a "no" response you could recognize that there are underlying issues that generated it?

"No, I'm not interested" can signify many things that may be going on in the prospect's situation.

It could be that the company is unable to (or should not) make a significant purchase at the present time or that, regardless of how effective and affordable your product or service is, it simply does not fit the prospect's current needs.

Perhaps they already have a vendor with whom they're happy and so, at this point, they would not be willing to consider a switch. Whatever the underlying reasoning, if they're not interested, there's probably very little you can do to change that.

Just as in any situation that isn't going your way, it's important to recognize when it's time to let go.

You may feel frustrated, particularly in the case of prospects who are unwilling to listen to what you have to say or who are negative (or even rude).

Understand, though, that it's highly likely you would have found yourself in a tough or even impossible situation trying to sell to someone like that. Therefore, respecting their wishes to not continue to pursue them is in both their best interest and in yours.

For many go-getter salespeople, learning to take "no" for an answer could, at first, be a painful proposition. Nevertheless, salespeople should understand that, as a matter of principle, they should only sell a product or service to someone who will benefit from it.

The salesperson has no right to sell a prospect something they can't use, don't need or don't want.

If the salesperson can clearly see that the prospect will not benefit from its use, then, ethically speaking, that salesperson has an obligation not to sell to them. Overall, if the prospect does not benefit from the sale, the sale should not take place.

On the other hand, the salesperson has a responsibility to sell the product or service if it takes care of the need or solves the problem the prospect is currently facing.

Since, above all, the purpose of any sales professional is to be of service, it would be doing the prospect a great disservice to withhold something from them that could improve their life, their productivity or their bottom line.

In the long run, it is far better to know today that the answer is "no" than to find out further down the line.

Considering that it costs companies on average $99-$452 per sales call, wasting time pursuing what will eventually turn out to be a dead end can be very expensive and a waste of both money and resources. Instead of falling into this dead-end trap, successful salespeople understand the importance of budgeting their time and they choose to use it wisely.

Professional salespeople really only have one thing to sell: their time -- and their success hinges on how well they choose to use it.

Save yourself valuable selling time (as well as saving the company money) by utilizing an effective cold-calling procedure from the very beginning.

Start by identifying the key prospects you have in your area. Then do research through the Internet, news media and other sources to find out who they are, who their suppliers are and who the decision makers are. Read their press releases and annual report.

Once you've done your research, you'll be prepared to make a cold call with a far greater degree of knowledge of who you should be talking to and how you should approach them. You'll also have a greater understanding of the possible need for your product or service within their organization.

Once you have researched, understand the needs of, and have made contact with your prospect, listen carefully to what they have to say.

If it sounds like there's a need for your product or service then you should move forward.

If, however, they say they are not interested or don't want to talk with you, regardless of the reasoning, respect their decision. It may be difficult to appreciate at the time that this "no" is actually a good thing but understand that you really can find a better prospect out there.

Choosing to take "no" for an answer gives you the opportunity to do just that.



Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.