Nobody likes pushy salespeople – and as a sales coach in Vancouver who deals with this misconception a lot, I should know. I’m often coaching sales teams to do a better job of refining their qualifying funnel. Part of that job is helping them understand that ‘no’ is a good thing – and I wish more customers realized that.

If you, as a customer, really have no intention of buying something from a sales rep, then please stop saying these kinds of things just to be nice:

  • “Could you send me a bit more information?”
  • “Could you call me again in a week or so? I’m a bit busy right now.”
  • “It all sounds very impressive. But let me think about it, OK?”

We’d really rather you just said ‘no’.

Now, you may have gotten the impression from movies or television that good sales people will “never take no for an answer” – and if you like the sales person as a person (but don’t really like what they’re selling) that you’ll be hurting them by rejecting them. You’d rather let them down easy.

Being that nice is counter-productive. Stop wasting your time – and stop wasting theirs.

The Faster We Get to ‘No’ in Sales, the Better

The truth is that sales people deal with rejection every day, on an almost constant basis. It’s OK, though. If sales people took it personally, they’d be in therapy. They don’t. They know that even in highly targeted sales campaigns, they’ll typically be hard-pressed to convert 50 percent of a list of hot leads freshly-submitted from marketing. Lists aren’t always accurate – sometimes, the timing really isn’t right, but quite often, the product or service just isn’t a good fit for the customer. Not every office needs a Sony high-quality printer; not every manufacturing plant needs a 30-foot long buzz saw; not every person on the street wants to drink a Starbucks frappe (even if they just had one last week, and loved it!).

‘No’ is OK – and the faster you tell the sales person, the faster they can leave you alone and get to helping someone else who actually needs what they’re selling.

How You Can Help Pushy Salespeople Do Their Job

Let’s say you’ve got a reason to go that extra mile and help them. This sales rep is an old friend from school, a longtime colleague, or maybe even a family member. Maybe you’ve just got a kind heart. Here’s a thought: tell the sales person why you’re saying no.

Is their solution totally inappropriate for you? They need to target better. Is the pricing not feasible for you? That could be a targeting problem, too – or maybe they just never made you aware of the generous financing terms available? Were you just turned off by their whole presentation? Perhaps it seemed too scripted and didn’t take into account your particular situation? Maybe they need training – or perhaps their entire sales team is being hobbled by a bad script and worse presentation advice from management. If you’ve got a moment to give them feedback, help them out. At the very least, the next customer will appreciate it.

Keep in mind that as long as you keep giving them yes or mixed signals, they will take you at your word and keep calling! That is a good salesperson, not a pushy one.