How do you turn down extremely persistent sales people who want to meet the boss? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

How do you turn down extremely persistent sales people who want to meet the boss?

by on
in Admin Pro Forum

Question: “I work for the president of my organization, and he has a strict policy against meeting with sales people —ever. We have directors that can handle things for their departments, so he doesn’t need to get involved with these types of visits, nor does he have time.  How do I tell pesky sales people that there is no way they are getting a meeting, phone call or anything with him without being rude? I’ve even said point-blank that he doesn’t meet with sales people, and that doesn’t deter them from trying to sweet talk their way into his schedule.” —Amy

See Comments Below.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Craft February 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

I agree with Diana K. Be professional. I always thank the caller for reaching out and then I let him know that at this time there is no interest for a conversation but we will keep his information on file if a need should arise in the future.

Reply

Kristy August 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I’ve used similar tactics like everyone esle has. I ask for their information and tell them that the information will be passed along and if they are interested, they will give you a call back to request more information. The issue I run into, is when they the sales people call back week after week to follow-up like they didnt even hear me tell them we’ll contact them if we’re interested. How do you get around that?

Reply

Susan August 26, 2011 at 10:27 am

Salespeople are people too!

I showed this to my husband, who is in copier sales.

He replied, "I am not a 'pesky' salesperson; I am a revenue generating stud." :)

And seriously, he doesn't want to waste time with people who will never buy from him; if that is the case, do everyone a favor and say so definitely, in the nicest way possible.

Btw, he also says, "They don't understand how much money and trouble I can save them — we can even buyout their old leases and still save them money… the new color copiers are much better, cheaper and more efficient their their old machines, they just don't realize it…I can make them the hero of the office…" etc, etc, etc. (He does very well in sales :)

Reply

S Marie August 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I give them the correct contact at the Fire Department and ask them to send a catalog that I can put on the conference table. I tell them to only send one catalog to save on print and mail expenses. I also say that we throw out duplicate catalogs and that a catalog is necessary before anyone wil be able to speak with the sales person.

This works every time. Who knows that catalog may introduce us to new products that help us provide better service to residents and the public. If they ask me to accept an email and post their flyer, I politely ask them to mail it to me because taxpayers should not pay for paper and print costs that rightfully belong to the vendor. Then I tell themm that I hope their local municipality looks at ways to save his tax dollars too and say I know you understand.

They do understand and if they want us to see what they have to offer, they send us a catalog. We have found reliable vendors with discount pricing with this tactic.

Reply

Karen August 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Just say “We don’t handle sales calls in this office. Let me transfer you to purchasing.” (or whatever department would handle the particular product/service). In my opinion, all sales calls should go to purchasing anyway.

Reply

Karen August 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I tell them that the President-CEO does not involve himself with those matters and that I am the proper contact. I then proceed to tell them that I have that area covered and am not interested. I ask them to take us off their call list. If they come to the door, I crack it open but do not allow them to enter. I determine that they are trying to sell something (toner, copier, etc) and then proceed to tell them the same thing I say over the phone. I allow them to leave a business card, which makes them feel better for some reason, and I throw it in the trash when I get back to my office.

Reply

Lisa August 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

All the ideas for handling it politely are good. But if they are TOO persistent, just remember that they are TRYING to make you uncomfortable in an effort to bypass you, so don’t let them. Also, I was talking with some salespeople once and a few of them had the attitude that if a target does not kick them out of the office or otherwise “slam the door in their face” then they did not try hard enough to make the sale. So no need to be nasty, but after a few times of being polite you can certainly be blunt.

Reply

Getoutgirl50 August 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I have a standing answer, “We do not respond to ANY solicitation” period. They try to get through using his first name at times as if they are buddies, after a few questions, I can usually sniff them out and then they get the response above. My personal favorite is the guy wanting to “talk about their investments”…gotta love them for trying!

Reply

OMM... August 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I start off by screening the call with the following: 1) “What is your name & who are you with please?” 2) “Is he/she expecting your call?” 3) “He/she is not available; I’ll give you voice mail.” Then I immediately transfer them without them having a chance to try a rebuttal. Works like a charm.

Reply

Pam Gould August 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

First of all, who is the salesman sweet-talking? If it is the assistant to the President, that shouldn’t happen. I think being firm is appropriate after telling a persistent salesperson your CEO is not interested or will not take the call. If the salesperson continues to call back, I remind them they have called several times, and they are being disruptive. I also remind them the CEO has no interest and to please take us off their calling list. That is my final comment. I have been given permission at that point to hang up.

Reply

Lisa P August 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm

When salespeople call for my boss, I politely tell them he’s not interested. If they ask if they can call again, I tell them no, but they can send something by email or snail mail and we will call them if we are interested. That usually satisfies them.

Occasionally, I will get a sales person that seems determined not to let me hang up until I say yes.
If they persist after I have politely said no several times in one call, they are the ones being rude. At that point (and I’ve only had to do this twice in my career) I calmly say, “I’m going to say to you what I used to say to my kids. I’ve already said no three times. What makes you think I’m going to say yes?” I found that to be very effective.

Reply

Kathy Workman August 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I take their name, company name, phone number, and what they are selling. Then I tell them “If she is interested, she will return your call.” If there is someone else who could help them, I tell them “The President does not make vendor decisions. The best contact for you is ______________. Would you like me to transfer you to ________________?” Usually they appreciate getting the right contact. Sometimes I have to do this more than once; however, eventually they get the message.

Reply

Dyanna Barnes August 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

This is a never ending situation that I think we all deal with. I let the salesperson know that my Boss is unavailable to them then I direct the salesperson to the proper department. I do believe tact is always a must. We all have Corporate cell phones so I am able to pass the proper department’s phone number to them so they can have direct contact.

Reply

B Moses August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm

My CEO is the same way. I am pleasant with a phone coller and say, “Thank you for calling but we are not interested. Please take us off your calling list.” I record the call and if they call back, tell them I am reporting their call to the “Do Not Call Registary” (https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx) and the State Attorney General. The Do Not Call Registery doesn’t really handle business issues but they do keep a record. I reported the same company three times before they stopped calling.

If it is a sales person live at the door, I tell them we do not accept cold calls or solicitations without an appointment. I also inform them the CEO doesn’t not handle any of these things. I don’t take their information at the door and I’ll tell them we rarely deal with these things over the phone.

If it is something that might be interesting to our company, I suggest they mail something. They rarely do.

My dad was in sales and he said he perferred to be told not to try then to wase his time trying to get in touch with someone who wasn’t interested.

Reply

Debbie August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I agree these sales reps should be told directly that he won’t meet with them. However, you may want to give the name of someone else who will see them. It may help move them along..

Reply

M-OH August 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I would tell them straight up that my boss has a policy against meeting with salespeople and that they would only waste their time trying.

Reply

Amy B. August 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I have the same problem! I kindly remind them that if they would like to give me their name and phone number or even e-mail me with information on the products they are selling, that I will forward their information to the appropriate people and that someone will contact them if they are interested. Good luck!

Reply

DianaK August 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Be direct. Simply reply in a professional, kind but firm manner: “No thank you. He is not seeing anyone.” If they call again and you recognize the business, stress you’d like your business number be removed from their calling list.

Reply

Leave a Comment