Closing Time

Sales Objection Handling: 8 Responses to the “I’m Not Interested” Objection

You’re interrupting your prospect’s day. You have 10 seconds on a cold call to pique their interest and provide some sort of value before they inevitably say, “I’m not interested.” What is your response?

Charlotte Lloyd joins Closing Time to share a few options available to sales reps – using techniques like pattern interrupts, mirroring, negative bias, and the ‘feel, felt, found’ methodology – not only to respond but continue the conversation productively, foster a sense of connection with the prospect, and increase your chances of landing that meeting. 

Turn your outbound around with these eight responses for overcoming the dreaded “I’m not interested” objection.

Watch the video:
Key Moments:
8 Responses to the "I'm Not Interested" Objection

We all want our sales teams to crush their outbound goals and feel we have the right team to answer a live call. They pick up the phone and hear, “I’m not interested.” It’s a crushing blow, but it doesn’t mean you have to end the call.

Most salespeople are trained to try and convince the caller to stay on the phone by pushing their product or service’s benefits – instead; we need to focus on meeting the prospect where they’re at.

If you’re new to cold calling and your prospect slams you with the “I’m not interested” objection, here are 8 responses to help you keep the conversation flowing.

Mirroring the Prospect with a Question

The mirroring technique is a method used in sales to respond to objections by repeating the prospect’s objection back to them, with the addition of a clarifying question. By using this technique, the sales rep shows the prospect that they have listened and understood their objection, which can help to build rapport and trust.

For example, if a prospect says, “I’m not interested,” a sales rep using the mirroring technique will respond with, “not interested?” and wait in silence so the prospect can begin the conversation and, ideally, explain why they are not interested.

By repeating the prospect’s objection and asking for more information, the sales rep can address the prospect’s concerns more effectively and tailor their response to the prospect’s specific situation. The mirroring technique can be an effective way to defuse objections and move the sales conversation forward.

Feel, Felt, Found Technique

The feel, felt, found technique is a sales objection handling approach that involves empathizing with the prospect’s objection, sharing a similar experience or feeling that others have had, and then providing a positive outcome or solution that has been found.

For example, if a prospect says, “I’m not interested,” a sales rep using the feel, felt, found technique might respond, “I’d be surprised if you were interested. When I first speak to people like you, they usually aren’t interested until they’ve learned that I can help them solve,  [insert a problem or a negative outcome].”

By using this technique, sales reps can address objections in a way that is empathetic, relatable, and solution-focused. It can be an effective way to build trust and credibility with prospects and move the sales conversation forward.

Using a Pattern Interrupt

When the prospect says, “I’m not interested.” You respond with, “I’m not trying to see you anything today. I’d like to give you a resource so that in the future when you consider this, you’ll have some insights and options.”

This response includes a sales objection handling technique called a pattern interrupt by offering a resource instead of trying to sell something on the spot. Pattern interrupts are used to disrupt the prospect’s usual way of thinking or responding to a cold call. It involves saying something unexpected that can capture the prospect’s attention and potentially lead to a more fruitful conversation.

In this case, the seller isn’t trying to sell. Instead, they are offering value in the form of relevant analysis, reports, or data useful to the prospect in their industry. By doing this, the sales rep can focus on building a relationship and credibility with the prospect and position themselves as someone who is looking out for the prospect’s interests. 

Using Negative Bias

The sales rep can respond with, “I didn’t expect you to be interested because you don’t know a lot about this yet, but other executives in your industry are, and they are likely interested in avoiding [insert negative outcome or problem].” This negative bias gets the prospect’s attention and makes them want to listen to what the sales rep says.

As humans, we often respond far more urgently to the avoidance of risk (e.g., a negative outcome or problem we’re having) as opposed to the realization of a benefit (e.g., how a product or service can help us).

This objection-handling response focuses on a problem or negative outcome within the first 10 seconds of a cold call rather than just listing the benefits of the product or solution.

This approach is more likely to capture the prospect’s attention and give the sales rep a chance to continue the conversation and potentially book a meeting. By addressing the prospect’s potential concerns and showing them that others in their industry are interested in the solution, the sales rep can build credibility early in the conversation.


You’re cold calling. You’ve got the right person, and they’ve answered the phone. Great. But what happens when they give you the dreaded, “I’m not interested” objection. Let’s tackle this common objection on this episode of Closing Time. Hi, I’m VaL Riley, head of content marketing at Insightly. Welcome to Closing Time, the show for go to market leaders.. Today I’m joined by Charlotte Lloyd. She is a sales leader, coach and speaker specializing in social selling and cold calling. Welcome to the show, Charlotte. Thanks for having me, Val. It’s great to be here. All right. Well, let’s get right into it. We all want to see our sales teams crushing those outbound goals. And we feel like they’ve got the right person to answer a live call, which, you know, is increasingly rare and they need to nail it. So hearing, I’m not interested, is a crushing blow. Instead of ending the call, you’ve got some good strategies. Yeah. So, I’m not interested. Typical objection. Most salespeople and in the past as well, have tried to overcome this objection. I think you need to take a different approach and try to meet the prospect where they are and so this is one of my sort of favorite ones. And I put together eight different ones on LinkedIn because I wanted to give the sales community some quick turnaround, some help, because it’s one that I think a lot of salespeople stumble on. And, you know, it’s easy to get panicked and be like a rabbit in the headlights when you pick up that phone, especially if you haven’t been cold calling for very long, and you’re new to it and the prospect slams you with, I’m not interested. And oftentimes they might put the phone down on you before you say anything. OK, so you’ve got eight ways to overcome this objection. So let’s start with number one, which has a bit of humor injected into it. So they say, I’m not interested. And you respond with. I guess you wouldn’t be if you were you would probably be calling me instead. Yes. I really like this one. It’s different. It hits different, doesn’t it? When calling, someone answers the phone and you hear them say,. I guessed you wouldn’t be. So you’re meeting them where they are and you’re putting in a little bit of empathy there. And then by saying, if you were, you probably would be calling me. This is what we call a pattern interrupt. So, you know, it’s something completely different. The prospect is not used to hearing. And if you were, you would probably be calling me and also it helps the seller, inject a little bit of humor into the cold call, because cold calling is hard, right? You’re getting told, I’m not interested, never call me back. So you want to make something memorable that they’ll get a laugh. Well, I mean, I would certainly remember that, too. It’d be hard to put down the phone when you get that response. So I love it. The next one requires a bit of discipline to sit through silence, because that’s awfully difficult. They say, I’m not interested, and you hit them back with, not interested?. And then wait for an answer. Yeah, I think this is one of the hardest ones, especially on a cold call. This is a Chris Voss, and I’ll say Josh Braun as well technique. Respond with a question. So you’re mirroring your prospect here. They’ve said, not interested. Not interested? You raise your voice slightly. The reason I think it’s a great one is because you are letting your prospect do the talking. The difficult thing, if you’re a seller, you’re cold calling you’re saying that, typically sellers want to be able to end the cold call quickly and book the meeting. So we tend to talk too much. So when we ask this question, not interested? We really have to pause, count to five, let the prospect talk. They might say, who is this, after that. Then you’ll say, this is Charlotte from Investment Monitor. Have you heard that name tossed around? So you’ve got a conversation going, but you’re not going in with a pitch, which is what a lot of sales people do on a cold call because they want to book that meeting, but they oftentimes as well try to oversell their product. So this is a really good listening technique by mirroring what your prospect says. Absolutely. I mean, getting them to talk is probably half the battle. So I love that one. OK, let’s move on to number three. This one’s the straight shooter response. They say, I’m not interested, and you say, I get that, most people aren’t when I first call. That’s why we should meet when I’m not cold calling you. So how about Friday at ten? Yeah, again, this is very bold and I want to get the meeting. You know, you’re not interested, but most people say that when I call them let’s book a meeting when I’m not when I’m not cold calling you. So you’re calling out cold calling there, you’re suggesting to your prospect that it’s uncomfortable.. You’re interrupting their day. You as a cold caller, you’re doing this, calling it out. I like this one for several reasons because, you want to get that meeting you’re not actually selling anything on a cold call. You want to try and get a meeting. You want to be able to talk to your prospect. And you want to do that on a longer call because the average cold call is something like less than 60 seconds long. So some people would might say, well, it’s a bit selfish. You’re going straight for a meeting and you haven’t actually said anything about your, your solution or the problem that your solution solves. So I think the most important thing with this one is to do it with a low voice tone. And this is the big mistake. I see a lot of cold callers make is they go in with that high pitched tone full of energy that creates an air of suspicion with the prospect. So this has to be delivered with a really low voice tone. Most people aren’t interested on a first cold call and you want to be able to get that meeting. And how about we meet Friday at 10 a.m. when I’m not cold calling you out the blue? It feels like we could do a whole separate episode of Closing Time on like voice tone because it just seems like something you have to just practice over and over again because it can be exciting when someone picks up the phone when you’re cold calling and you might just feel like a surge in your body. Of like, oh, I’m so excited. And that tone could be misinterpreted. Yeah. Especially when you’ve made several, let’s say you’ve made 20 and nobody’s picked up, you know, as a salesperson, you’re great. Somebody pick up the phone now. I can get my pitch in and get my meeting booked. I need to book my meeting and you know that energy and that enthusiasm can, can have a detrimental effect. So you have to be really careful with voice tone. All right. So the next tip is more of a persuasive point. They say, I’m not interested. And you respond with,. I’d be surprised if you were interested. When I first speak to people like you, they usually aren’t interested until they’ve learned that I can help them solve and then you insert maybe a problem or a negative outcome. It’s a really interesting approach. Can you talk us through it? Yeah. So again,. I’d be surprised if you were interested. So this is something that the prospect is not expecting to hear. Not, you know, 99% of cold callers are not saying that, it’s a pattern interrupt. You know, you’re putting yourself on the side of the prospect, understanding them, you’re empathizing with them, you know that they’re not going to be interested because you haven’t said anything yet and they don’t know why you’re calling. Then, you know, from there,. I would say, when I speak to and if you speaking to marketing directors or CEOs or CFO like you, they aren’t usually interested until they learned how our solution could help them solve X, Y, Z problem.. So this is more of an old technique. It’s a feel, felt, found. What I find with this, it’s a great way to say, typically when I speak to you, you’re appealing to their their peers, the job title, typically when I speak to marketing directors like yourself, they’re not interested until we learned how we help them solve a problem. So you want to drop a typical problem or a challenge that they’re having. So again, something negative because our brains are wired to negative bias. So we’re more likely to listen until they learn that they could stop getting fines or until they learn they could stop losing something. It’s that sort of loss aversion. Again, we’re more afraid of losing something than we are of gaining something. Right. And just having someone empathize with a pain point that I feel might make me pause and say, Oh, let me chat with this person, because they have identified a pain point that, for lack of a better term, keeps me up at night.. So that’s great. It’s a pain point that peaks your interest. Something really powerful that’s going to peak your interest rather than saying, here’s our solution. You know, we help Val save hours of podcast recording by doing X, Y, Z, you’re not really going to be interested in that right? Doesn’t appeal to you. The salesperson hasn’t really thought about the problem that their solution solves for. So yeah. Right. You could have someone feel seen, heard and understood just in one sentence. I think you’re going to have a good odds of continuing that conversation. Great tip. Yeah. All right. We’re shifting gears to more of a bold response, which, you know, be cautious. They say, I’m not interested. And you say, well, Jim, I’m not asking you to make a decision right now. Tell me how this one goes over. So, well, Jim, you’re using the person’s first name there, and that tends to get a much better response. Their ears are going to prick up.. They’re going to listen. You’ve used their first name and then you say, I’m not asking you to make a decision right now. It’s a little bit maybe arrogant compared to some of the other responses that we went through. But it’s actually, you’re not asking that person to make a decision, giving an opportunity to revisit the topic in the future. And also, you want to avoid creating a sense of pressure or discomfort for the prospect when you say that. A cold call, is pressure right? There’s a certain amount of pressure because the person, they want to guard their time, don’t necessarily want to be on a cold call. Most prospects we call up, we are, as we said before, interrupting their day.. They picked up the phone. You need to sort of offer a bit of sensitivity towards their day. Give them some flexibility and not ask them to make a decision right now.. It’s also a little bit funny as well, so it’s injecting that humor. It’s the same as saying, I’m not I’m not selling anything I’m not selling anything or I’m not selling anything yet. I want to have a conversation with you. So, you know, you’re being direct. You’re being upfront. All right.. We’re going to go to number six now. They say, I’m not interested. And you ask, may I ask, what specifically about this opportunity is not of interest to you? And I think that negative, what’s not of interest, is super interesting. Can you talk us through this one? Yeah. What’s not of interest to you? So again, answering an objection with a question. Most salespeople have been taught to respond to objections by trying to handle them or overcome them. And this is sort of the wrong way to go about it. The psychology around objection handling has to change. You know, they say I’m not interested. May ask specifically, what about this opportunity is not of interest to you? You’re getting them to do the talking rather than coming out with a statement. You just saying, look, tell me what’s not interesting. And, if you’re just starting a cold call this way, it’s going to sort of put them in the headlights in a way they’re not expecting this kind of response. So they might say something like, who is this? Where are you calling from? And then you’ve got your opportunity to go into your, Hey, this is Charlotte from Investment. Monitor typically when I speak to leaders like yourself and you drop your priority or challenge there, but I like this because it it pushes that back onto the prospect. And as we said on one of our previous responses, when you’re not interested, when you’re doing that mirroring, most salespeople, avoid that question in the first few seconds because again, they’re too keen to get the pitch out there, the too keen to get the meeting. So they often talk too much rather than letting the prospect talk, you put the ball in the prospect’s court, get the prospect to respond to you in that first instance. And I think this takes a lot of practice. You know, when you do cold calling, you need to feel very comfortable perhaps when you’re using this questioning technique at the very beginning of the call. Yeah, absolutely. I think letting them talk themselves into a follow up call with you is probably the best case scenario. Yeah. All right. Number seven, this is perhaps my favorite because I feel like with this one, we’re offering some future value. So they say, I’m not interested. And you say, I’m not trying to sell you anything today. I’d like to give you a resource so that in the future when you consider this, you’ll have some insight and options. I really do love this one. Yeah. No, it’s a great one, isn’t it? Because you’re saying I’m not selling you anything today, so you could be selling me something tomorrow or in the future, but you’re actually not selling anything on a cold call. The only thing that you want to be said before is to get to the next meeting or get some level of interest. This is, again, a bit of a pattern interrupt because most prospects are not expecting to be given something. So you might want to, you’ve got some specific analysis or report or data that’s relevant to their industry, if they’re marketing director,. CMO or a VP of Sales might put together something that they’re really going to like. And this has a good way to build trust so and also your credibility as well as a salesperson because, you know, cold calling still has a bad name. And a lot of today’s sellers think that with email that they can avoid it. So reframing this interaction in a way that’s sort of helpful, it makes it all about the prospect is focusing on building that relationship in the moment and that future relationship to be able to then create a future opportunity. I feel like today’s executives, regardless of industry, we all feel like innovation is coming at us so quickly that it’s impossible to keep up with every small thing. So I really feel like that could be an effective approach just to let people know, hey, this might be on the horizon and you might not even realize it yet. And then you’re kind of looking out for their interests which puts you in a position as a seller to have a lot of trust. So I think I think number seven is my favorite, but we still have one more. So number eight, I feel like this one is more like a bandwagon appeal where you’re showing them, hey, your peers are experiencing the same issue. So they say, I’m not interested and you say, well I didn’t expect you to be interested because you don’t know a lot about this yet, but other executives in your industry are and then maybe trying to avoid and insert a negative outcome or a problem that you’ve observed in the industry as a seller. Yeah. So again, when are you getting I’m not interested. It’s resistance isn’t it. So we didn’t mention this in the beginning, but you’re getting that resistance. Prospect doesn’t want to be on the phone with you. I didn’t expect you to be interested or I guessed you wouldn’t be interested, it’s a really nice, fresh, sort of empathetic way to which, again, your prospect probably isn’t expecting you to saythat.. You don’t know a lot about this. You don’t know you don’t even know why. I’m calling, but other executives in your industry are likely interested in avoiding and then you’ve got the problem, the negative outcome. This negative bias is what really pricks up a prospect’s ears, so you know, are they interested in avoiding getting a fine or losing $20,000 on their insurance premium, something like that. Too many cold callers think that oh I’ll just say what the benefits are and I’m still hearing this. You know, when people start a cold call, they’re talking about how their product helps, you know, X, Y, Z, competitor do A, B, C, and it’s just not going to cut it, you’re not offering insightful information. So within those first 10 seconds you have to say something powerful, focuses on a problem, focuses on a negative outcome to your business. It’s going to make that prospect ears prick up. And then you’re buying the next 10 seconds to be able to then perhaps include your value prop or focus on how you solve that problem with your solution. So, with every cold call it’s about buying those next few seconds to then book a meeting a few days later or the week after. I love that. I love that. Just buying the next ten, 15 seconds is all you’re trying to do. So those are eight really good options, Charlotte.. I guess it comes down to picking a few that work best in your industry, with your ICP, becoming comfortable with them and then using them repeatedly in your outbound. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s always going to be, two or three that you like to use.. As a seller, You need to be open minded though, to trying other responses, seeing how they work.. Every seller, I think sometimes we can pigeonhole ourselves into, OK, this works, I’m going to use this and I’m not going to do anything different. And what you do in sales and cold calling one week is completely different the next week or the week after. So you have to be open to trying new responses and being able to just put your prospect at the heart of your messaging, not your solution. The most important thing, how are you going to pique that person’s interest? You’re interrupting their day. They’re going to say I’m in a meeting the go to say I’m not interested. They’re going to say, don’t call me again, in some instances, you have to be able to nail those responses quickly. But be open to using different ones. Don’t just get stuck with two or three because they’re comfortable. Got it. All right. Well, that’s all the time we have for this episode of Closing Time. Charlotte, thanks so much for joining me on the show. Thanks for having me, Val. All right. It was our pleasure. Thanks to all of you for joining us for Closing Time. Remember, subscribe to the channel like the video and hit the bell so you don’t miss any episodes. That’s all for now. Take care.

You may also like:

See all episodes
B2B Sales Objection Handling: How to Overcome a Lack of Urgency
Flipping the Script: How to Get Started with Cold Calling & Enjoy it!
SaaS Demo Best Practices: How to Crush Your Next Demo Call