• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
Admin Pro Forum

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

Get PDF file

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.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

E. Mac September 19, 2018 at 8:12 am

Here’s my thought on the subject – If we wanted or needed a product or service, we would call and ask for it. To be blindsided randomly by 20 minute aggressive sales pitch calls in the middle of a busy work day is very irritating.


M-N May 31, 2018 at 2:13 pm

With a sales rep. is how you’ve all probably have got your health, life, 401k policies.. Therefore, listening doesn’t cost a thing. Make a decision based on what you hear, don’t just turn them away they are people too. Put yourself in their shoes. Listen to the product, introduce it to the decision maker and wash your hands. That can be your son or daughter trying to make a living. You can probably make some great changes in your office by listening to new ideas/products instead of just turning someone away without giving them the benefit of introducing their business. This is how your stupid bosses got started with a sales pitch, they just easily forget what it was to start from 0.


Tiffany May 18, 2017 at 10:57 am

I know this is a few years old but thought I’d leave my comments anyway. What I see happening here is that many of you expect the salesperson to accept the “we’ll contact you” answer as a “no”. Salespeoole are human, and therefore know how people behave as well. One of you even admitted that you would throw the information straight into the trash (meaning you lied about passing it on) and then you’re upset that they call back another time to follow up? They know there are many reasons people don’t call them back. One of the reasons being the person taking the message is lying, but others lose the information, or just get busy and forget, others just think they are being polite by not straight saying “no”, or they are afraid to for whatever reason. If you do not want the product, then say that you are not interested and that you do not want any follow ups. Otherwise you share the blame of wasting both your own time and the salesperson’s. After all, they are doing their job just like you are doing yours.


Aaron ortiz October 5, 2016 at 9:45 am

People like James should not be put through and blocked.


EA of the Worlds Decision Makers April 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Oh trust, Aaron. We do block. We don’t the Jameses of the business world get through. That’s why he’s venting here. Nothing they say will get them put through.


James March 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

Hey Ladies and Gents, I’m a salesperson! Whoop! I’m actually reading this to see what you all think so I can better get through. Look, we have a ton of pressure on us to sell, like a TON. The fact of the matter is, YOU don’t own the company, YOU do not make the decision, YOU are a gatekeeper. I want the decision maker to tell me to F off or see the value in what I have and make a deal. The people who own these companies know that money in your savings account is WASTED and STAGNANT, let them decide what they want to do with their money. They wouldn’t put you in charge of their bank account so why are you telling them what they should and should not buy?


Denise June 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

I realize I’m responding to a post that is 2 months old, but I could not help myself. Wow James… you sound like the worst type of salesperson – the kind who does not understand the importance of the Executive Assistant / Admin Assistant position. How dare you belittle that position down to “gatekeeper”. YOU clearly have no idea how much company officers and executive level management rely on the input and advice of the women and men in those positions. YOU want the owner or CEO to tell you go pound sand themselves? Well guess what, they don’t have time for that and they trust their “gatekeepers” to filter out time-suckers like you. You have a TON of pressure on you to sell? Well I don’t care, I really don’t. If you don’t like the high-pressure world of sales, then find another job… one where you don’t have to act like a snake to make a living.


Joanne July 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Denise, nicely said.


Paladin July 2, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Agree with Denise.
Seems like Uncle James fail to understand the company structure that our bosses entrusted their schedules into our hand.
As much i would like to said, my CEO given his authority to me in screening through all appointments, naming me as his “Queen of Control” of his appointments. He will only attend meeting, that i have screen and schedule.

James, we do not care how much of Sales Targets you have in your hand. That is you problem. We will made sure to block all time-suckers like you.


Shanel July 21, 2015 at 11:58 am

Go Denise


Delia February 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Exactly Denise. Now James I hope you’ve learned something to better get through. And the gatekeeper comment, hmmm without us the gate does not get open…..


Vanessa March 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Round of applause for Denise! you nailed it honey and james you suck

Annette July 13, 2016 at 9:51 am

Way to go Denise!
I work for a small company in the AP department and I have to answer the phone all the time, I am going to say half of those calls are rude sales persons ! My boss tells me to never transfer a sales call to him
( hey he is the boss and he is paying me to do the job, of course I am going to listen).


Aaron ortiz October 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

Well said Denise. That guy should be drowned in an ocean . love your post. People like this should never be put through.


Patty August 31, 2018 at 8:01 am

Denise, spot on and very well said!


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.


Linda January 25, 2017 at 9:22 am

I am a buyer and I really don’t need so many outside sources to aquire what I need. I like to keep things simple. Sales people want to keep me on the phone with drawn out, personal chit chat before they zero in on a sale. I have no time for that! How do I articulate a letter to tell them that?? If I need something, I’ll get in touch. It’s just that simple.


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?


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 :)


Paladin July 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Not too sure about the western side. But in Asia, most of these copier machines agreement doesn’t need to go thru to the boss. The decision was made by Executive Asst / Admin Manager.

Bosses do not have time to bother with Copier machines :)
Be nice to administrators and they will bridge the necessary linkage to the correct person who can made the decision. Otherwise, you can forget about getting sales.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


John March 9, 2017 at 2:19 pm

I don’t pretend to know what kind of salesman your father was but he didnt sell much if he took no for an answer everytime someone wasnt intetested. You folks on here are a shining example of that. You have your little playbooks on how to block salespeople yet you roll out the red carpet for your customers. Unbelievable! You should all be ashamed of yourselves and I hope your business fails. @ssholes!


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..


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.


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!


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.


Leave a Comment