Why Prospects Are Not Interested in You & How to Sell to Them Anyway

9 min read
Aug 8, 2022

You make a knock-out cold call and feel certain the prospect will move forward with the discovery call. But then, they hit you with the dreaded, ‘Sorry, I’m not interested’.

The truth is almost 90% of prospects are initially uninterested in what you are selling.

Some prospects become interested after the initial cold call, while others need more pushing.

That said, you can and should continue to pursue cold prospects who say they are uninterested.


Because you still have a high chance of closing with them!

To prove it, I am sharing why cold prospects are not interested in you and how to close a deal with them anyway.

Letting go of prospects who say they are uninterested is letting go of what could be easily closed deals.

Prospects saying they are uninterested should never stop you.


Why 90% of Prospects Are Uninterested in What You Are Selling


At least 90% of your ideal customers are currently uninterested in your products or services.

Don’t believe it?

Why are you making cold calls if your ideal prospects are so interested?  

Why are 90% to 100% of your leads, not inbound leads, who come knocking at your door?

Case closed.

The hard truth about selling is that almost every prospect you initially approach will be uninterested in you.

You can either recognize this harsh truth and embrace it or try to run from it only to get taken down later.


Cold Prospects Do Not Care About Whatever You Sell

What percent of the leads in your sales pipeline are cold prospects?

If you are like most sales pros, at least 90% of your prospects come from cold outreach methods.

That said, the percent of cold leads is the proportion who are initially uninterested in your sales opportunity.

Do you really think cold prospects answer your call and automatically think, ‘Great, I have been waiting for this call all day!’.

Or, do you think they are initially thinking, ‘Okay, I will take this call and tell them they are not interested’.

Of course, prospects do not answer cold calls dying to buy something.

Cold prospects would come knocking on your door first if they were interested in you.


Inbound Leads Are the Only Leads Who Are Initially Interested

If you are like most sales pros, about 10% of your leads are warm leads captured through inbound channels.

Inbound leads are at least somewhat interested because they approach you first.  Instead of you having to make an initial cold call, they send you an email or drop a message.

This means only about 10% of prospects are initially interested in what you are selling (and that is an optimistic number!).

Also, referrals span the line of inbound and outbound leads.

Referrals are typically hotter than your average cold lead but colder than your average warm lead.


Every Uninterested Prospect Can Become Interested


Every prospect that fits your ideal customer outlines can and should become your customer!

Moreover, every qualified prospect should become interested in what you are selling.

Even the most initially uninterested prospects can become the most interested ones (more on that below).

Don’t believe it?

Here is why every initially uninterested prospect can and should become your customer:


Prospects Are Only Interested In Achieving Their Goals

Every potential customer has business goals.

Additionally, every potential customer has roadblocks standing in the way of reaching those goals.

Unless they either remove the roadblocks or find some way around them, they will not reach their goals.

Because of this, every prospect needs solutions to overcome the roadblocks.

If they want any hope of reaching their goals, they need people to provide them with solutions.


Prospects Do Not Care How They Get to Their Goals

Here is the best part: Prospects DO NOT care how they remove the roadblocks to reach their goals.

If having green, three-footed penguins running around their office would help remove their roadblocks, they would buy them!

Moreover, prospects desire the most efficient means to remove the roadblocks.

Again, it does not matter what the means are!  All that matters is that the methods efficiently get prospects their desired results.

Are you not buying it?

Consider this: People with low self-esteem are willing to buy everything from therapy sessions to makeup to cars they cannot afford to make themselves feel better.

They clearly do not care about the means!  All they care about is getting to their desired result.

The same can be said for your potential customers.


You Can Sell to Any Qualified Lead Because of This (IMPORTANT!)

In summary, every prospect has goals with roadblocks standing in their way.  Also, prospects do not care about the means of removing the roadblocks. 

Because of this, you can sell to any and every uninterested, qualified lead!

It does not matter how interested they initially are because they have problems and do not care how they are solved.

You can market to any qualified lead you want no matter how uninterested they are if you know how to make them interested (more on this below!).

Do not think for a second that uninterested potential buyers are dead deals.  You can sell to uninterested prospects just as simply as interested ones.


Having Uninterested Prospects Is Advantageous


Believe it or not, having uninterested prospects plays to your advantage.  

You can close more deals in less time with cold, uninterested prospects than warm, interested ones.

I am not saying warm inbound leads are not worth pursuing.

However, I am saying there are unique advantages to having prospects who are totally uninterested in you.

Here is why having uninterested prospects can help you dominate the sales game.


If Prospects Are Not Interested, You Are in Control

First, you have greater control of the sales process when prospects are initially uninterested.

Here is why: When you approach a cold prospect first, you have the floor to ask them questions.

Asking questions puts you in an offensive position rather than a defensive one.  AKA, it puts you in control of the sales process!

The more questions you ask, the deeper you dive into the prospects:

  • Pain points;
  • Goals; and
  • Business vision

As a result, you come out on the other side with all the ammunition you need to sell like an absolute boss.

Not to mention you made the prospect feel cared about by letting them talk instead of you!

On the other hand, inbound leads often come in wanting to ask you questions.

Instead of you being on offense, the prospect is. As a result, they are the ones running the ball (AKA, they are in control of the score).

When the prospect is in control, you are significantly less likely to close the deal.

Furthermore, having uninterested prospects is like catching a reception in football; suddenly, you are running the ball and have greater odds of scoring a touchdown.


Uninterested Prospects Rely on You For Answers

Second, uninterested prospects do not know what they need to overcome roadblocks.

In many cases, some uninterested prospects are not even actively looking for solutions to roadblocks.

Because of this, you have an opportunity to swoop in and show them exactly what they need to overcome their problems.

Ultimately, they will rely on you for answers!

Warm inbound leads think they know what solutions they need, even though they are wrong most of the time.

When prospects think they know what they need, it is game over.

No matter what you do or say, they believe that they themselves know best.  

However, they have no idea what they need because they are not subject-matter experts.

That said, it can be easier to sell to uninterested prospects because they have a more open mind than inbound leads who think they know what they need.

Uninterested leads are more willing to listen to your sales pitches with an open mind than inbound leads who are convinced they are right.

Closing deals with warm leads is challenging unless you fit the narrow perspective of what they want.


Here Is How to Respond to Not Interested in Sales & Win the Prospect


You make your cold call, drop your hook, and the prospect suddenly says, ‘not interested’.

What do you do? 

I am answering that question with a five-step method, so that you never have to lose another ideal prospect to a pitiful excuse again.

The keys to ensuring this method works include:

  1. Keeping it simple
  2. Keeping your emotions in check

If you make it complicated, the method will lose its potency.  

At the same time, panicking over a not-interested response will have you falling off the rails.

That said, here is how to respond to ‘not interested’ from a prospect to ensure the deal does not die!


Start With a Mirror Question

Begin with asking a mirror question.

A mirror question is simply repeating what the prospect says in question form.

For example, if a prospect says, ‘Sorry, I am not interested right now’, respond with, ‘You are not interested right now?’ in a curious tone.

Responding with a mirror question helps by:

  • Putting you on offense
  • Making the prospect the center of discussion
  • Keeping the conversation going

Most importantly, responding with a mirror question helps you uncover the real reason why they are uninterested.

After saying, ‘You are not interested right now?’, the prospect will begin peeling back the layers to reveal why they feel uninterested.

From there, you can keep asking questions until you get to the root cause of their response.

Prospects who say they are uninterested say it for a myriad of reasons, including:

Moreover, prospects who say ‘not interested’ often say it for reasons other than not being interested.

Think of yourself as a journalist on a mission to uncover the real reason why the prospect is saying not interested.


Create Urgency

Next, use the prospect’s emotions to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency.

Creating a sense of urgency shows prospects they could lose a valuable opportunity by not proceeding with the discovery call.

Creating urgency with prospects is very effective because humans are loss averse; the idea of losing an opportunity signals an alarm bell that motivates us to move forward.

ALWAYS have a ready-to-go one-liner sentence that will ignite any prospect’s sense of urgency.

Don’t know where to start with your urgency one-liner?

I suggest using your hook line for guidance.  

You can simply devise an effective creating-urgency line if you already have a killer hook.

The creating-urgency one-liner is the sentence that can turn an uninterested prospect into an interested one in a matter of seconds.


Sell the Next Step

Remember, the purpose of the initial cold call is not to sell your product or service.

The initial cold call is about selling the next step; all you are trying to do is get the prospect into a formal discovery meeting.

After dropping your creating-urgency one-liner, immediately move into setting up the discovery call.

Schedule the call for ASAP!  Try setting it up for the following day, if possible.

The last thing you want to do is schedule the discovery call for several days in the future.


Because, time kills more sales deals than any other factor.

Furthermore, immediately schedule the discovery call after creating a sense of urgency.


Pull Out Another One Liner That Actually Works

What do you do if the prospect is STILL uninterested in moving forward with discovery?

Your next move is pulling-out another effective one-liner.

One-liners are effective because they pack a lot of heat in one short sentence.

You DO NOT want to speak a lot while trying to convince prospects to move forward.  In fact, prospects are less likely to move forward the more you talk!


Because talking a lot makes you look less like a confident expert and more like a nervous vendor.

Why would a prospect give a replaceable vendor the time of day?

That said, craft a one-liner that is:

  • Short and sweet;
  • Creates more urgency; and
  • Tugs at the prospect’s emotions.

While there are many one-liners to pull out, my favorite is, ‘I guess I see potential that you do not see yet’.

This line is effective because it increases the prospect’s curiosity about the opportunity. It also makes them feel flattered that you see potential in their business (yes, flattery without overkill does work!).

An effective one-liner packs a more substantial punch than an overkill Ted Talk.


Do Not Stop With the Follow Up

Sometimes, you will do everything possible to get the prospect back in line but they will still resist. 

Prospects still pulling out the uninterested card at this point are usually doing it out of emotion.

If that is the case, do not let the opportunity go to waste!

Did you really think I was going to tell you to let them off the hook?

Furthermore, if the prospect claims they are still uninterested, end the conversation but follow up over the phone the next day.

Continue following-up with the prospect via phone until they agree to speak again.

But Brian, I don’t want the prospect to think I am forcing them to do something they do not want to do!

You cannot force a prospect to do anything. Unless you are a puppet master, you cannot force them to answer your calls or take your meetings.

Therefore, do not worry about looking forceful, overbearing, or desperate.

To put it simply, do not let prospects off the hook so easily.


Final Thoughts on Uninterested Prospects & How to Sell to Them


Think of the many times you hesitated to buy something, contemplated your decision, and ultimately chose to move forward with the purchase.

If that can happen to you, why can’t it happen with your cold prospects?

A deal is not dead until you give up!  Do not let a prospect saying they are uninterested fool you into thinking you cannot close the deal.

Win more deals. Grow your business.

Get more prospects, more sales, and higher-paying clients fast, so you can take your business to the next level.

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