Home > Resistance > Indifference or Rejection?

Indifference or Rejection?

How do you define Indifference? Do you believe that "customer indifference is one of the most challenging situations you encounter as a salesperson?*"

What causes customer indifference? How do you identify customer indifference? How do you address customer indifference in your own sales practice?

Finally, how do you define Rejection and do you perceive a connection between indifference and rejection?

(*) Professional Selling Skills (PSS) - by Community Mailbox
How do you define Indifference? Do you believe that "customer indifference is one of the most challenging situations you encounter as a salesperson?*"
I do believe indifference is a very challenging situation. According to Miller Heiman if you have a customer that is on "Even Keel" or Overconfident about thier current situation then there is a low probability of them taking action.

In cases of small accounts or one decision maker situations then it could be really difficult to advance the sales process. In larger companies or more complex selling situations there may be "influencers" that can help sway an "Even Keel" person.

For instance, a "user buyer machine operator" with a lot of experience may be able to influence the "economic buyer" and help bring him into trouble mode. It can be done and that is what sales professional do.

Rejection on the other hand is part of the job and not personal. Overtime, it can even be turned around if you develop a positive relationship with the prospect if your product is truly a solution for the prospect. I believe that people aren't rejecting me personally and that they just don't have enough information to move forward.
Sometimes my product doesn't really fit my customers needs but I can still include that person in my network in case his situation changes. - by Sell4alivn
How do you define Indifference? Do you believe that "customer indifference is one of the most challenging situations you encounter as a salesperson?*"

What causes customer indifference? How do you identify customer indifference? How do you address customer indifference in your own sales practice?

Finally, how do you define Rejection and do you perceive a connection between indifference and rejection?

(*) Professional Selling Skills (PSS)
Indifference in a prospect is someone I will not call back on. Rejection on the other hand can be a prospect that was unwilling to buy today but may turn into a customer in the future. - by steveadlman
Indifference is a lack of desire. People buy for two reasons, fear or desire. Often I have been brought in to close a deal for a salesperson and I find the salesperson has read indifference as interest because they were not told no, or read it as rejection because they were not told yes.
I think this question needs more clarity. Indifference occurs in many situations, I find it most often when the salesperson is not at the right level decision maker. When you are attempting to sell to a person who has no reason to care if your solution improves their current situation then you should expect indifference. However, when you find it in the right decision maker then you have not hit the right “hot button” and you need to back up and do a more thorough needs analysis. This is the only way to uncover what you missed.
There are situations that occur when your solution is NOT the best for the client. This however usually leads to rejection, not indifference.
The bottom line, when I train salespeople I tell them indifference is the hardest “objection” to overcome. - by tw5270
I view Indifference as an attitude characterized by a casual lack of interest or concern with the matter at hand.

Yes, I do believe that customer indifference is one of the most challenging situations salespeople encounter. I also believe that the inability to effectively address customer indifference takes a major toll on sales productivity across the board.

In my opinion, when customers are indifferent to your offering it is often because they are satisfied enough (or even complacent) with their current situation and/or are unaware of your offering's potential for meeting their goals (e.g.; latent want or meaningful distinction). Either way the customer does not perceive a sufficient need and/or sufficient value (i.e.; payoff) in exploring and/or pursuing change.

Examples of customers expressing indifference could be:
  • We upgraded those last year and they are giving us the results we want.
  • We already have someone for that and we're happy with their service.
As it pertains to selling, in my opinion Rejection equates to an offering (i.e.; vendor - solution) being perceived as unsuitable. I can see how some might confuse Indifference with Rejection (and vice versa) when encountering such statements as "I am not interested" without further clarification. - by Jeff Blackwell
How to overcome indifference
  1. Acknowledge that your customer or prospect has an indifference by acknowledging what has been said. When a customer feels ignored or senses you have your own agenda, the first instinct is to walk away or, if on the phone, hang up. If a customer rejects your offer of assistance, an acknowledgment can simply be, "Great, I am glad you are finding everything."
  2. Validate what the client has just said. This makes her feel like you deal with these situations all the time, making you the most appropriate person to deal with her situation. A follow-up can be, "Many of our clients like that the set up of the store makes finding items pretty easy."
  3. Return to the purpose. Your purpose is to make the sale. If the customer is in the suit department say,"I see you are looking at the dark blue suits."
  4. Discover more about the customer, once you have stated your purpose, by asking a question. This allows you to create a customized sale and it allows you to bond with the customer and find a personal connection with him. "Where are you looking to wear this suit?" This allows clients to open up and tell you about themselves.
- by KateB
A story about indifference.

A guy gets a call in the middle of the night. The caller says that they see someone at the guy's front door that appears to be trying to give away a set of expensive tires and wheels. The guy says, "Get f*****" and hangs up.

OR

A guy gets a call in the middle of the night. The caller says that they see someone stealing the guy's expensive tires and wheels from his car in front of the house. The guy immediately grabs his baseball bat and stomps downstairs ready for action.

Now the moral isn't to sell fear or so-called negative selling. The lesson is that people might drop their apathy if they perceive a potential threat to the current situation. The threat may not be that the current solution doesn't work but that some of the client's competitor may decide to use a superior solution.

I used this on one guy that said he already bought a solution although it was non-competing. I said he might want to see my solution just for his own due diligence so he know what is in his competitive sphere. He responded by asking if my product did X. I didn't ask him. Together we formed a product feature list and he wanted me to see him. He had already spent $180K but he still wanted to see me. If I had given up rather than use the 'due diligence' argument, the conversation would have stopped right there.

In sum, apathy may mean that you haven't asked the question that makes the prospect consider what his real needs are. In short, you still don't know enough about him and if you ask, at minimum you might find out more about his business and his market and use that info for the next contact.

Best,
Roger - by rkovack
We only spend our time, resources, and emotional stamina on prospects who are ready willing and able to buy. Then, only if they make commitments to buy from us if we meet their requirements.

We *temporarily* disqualify prospects who don't meet that criteria. - by JacquesWerth
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.