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When you’re not interested in a vendor’s product or service, how do you handle it?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

When you’re not interested in a vendor’s product or service, how do you handle it?

  • I tell them I’m not interested quickly and directly: 74.0%
  • I continue conversations until they realize there’s not a fit: 4.1%
  • I ignore their calls and emails and hope they disappear: 21.9%

Exercise common courtesy. While many of you are up front with a vendor when you’re not interested in their product or service, the 22% of you who aren’t might want to reconsider your behavior. Salespeople and other vendor personnel spend significant amounts of time and energy pursuing sales and partnership leads. When you ignore them and hope they just go away, you’re being disrespectful of their time; and, the silent treatment borders on unprofessional. The vast majority of them would prefer a fast and polite, “I’m not interested,” instead of being ignored and spending more time following up. How would you feel if you were in their shoes and your prospects and partners ignored you? Not so good, I assume. Do the right thing. Be professional. Offer a courteous, “No, thank you,” as soon as you know it’s not a fit. There’s always time for professionalism.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”