How to Handle the Quick Brush Off

Objections, Resistance and Rejection

At a prospecting training seminar for a client I was asked what to do with a prospect who blows you off the phone even before you can get your opening statement out of your mouth.

Do you just call back right away and act like you were disconnected, the participant asked. (He had heard that recommended by another trainer.)

I asked fellow group members in our Smart Calling Community on Facebook how they would have answered that, and/or what do they do?


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Here are just a few of the responses:



Christoper said, “I don’t know if there is a better answer but I generally follow up another day. If they aren’t open to even listening I hope to catch them at a better time. Sometimes I’ll email along the lines of ‘I can tell you are a busy man and/so…’.”

Karen replied with, “I would try a different time and day. If the prospect does it a second time, I would put him/her in my email drip campaign.”

Rich said, “I’d go back and check my research on the prospect to determine if he really is a potential customer….if he’s that abrupt with my call I might be a real irritation to him because he really doesn’t have a need for my service…also if he is that rude, I might just move on because there are too many real people with real companies and real problems that I can solve to waste my valuable time with a jerk…….there is also my pride and/or self respect at play here… long as I came to him as a professional then I deserve like treatment.”

Rex said, “Wow. Tough one. Until I began to realize that it wasn’t personal and told myself to try again, I was stymied. What eventually worked for me was to send a quick two line email (if I had the email address) after the call letting them know I realized it may not have been a good time. I would then call 2-3 days later at a different time of day. Do not apologize for the first call. Do not apologize in the email. It’s business. Now, if you reach the prospect and they hang up on you again … then you might plan to call them around Christmas as it may be a merrier time!”

(There were quite a few others that you can see in this thread in the group.

Here was the reply I actually gave him:

If he were to follow the advice about just calling right back right now saying they were disconnected, really now, is that going to cause them to think how clever you are?

I doubt it.

If this truly is a prospect that you want to pursue, consider some alternatives.

First, let’s keep in mind, as many of you mentioned, that the prospect might be having a bad day, or has just experienced an office emergency requiring immediate attention.

Think back to a time when you were in a horrible mood, and/or you were just hit with some devastating news. Then you get a sales call at that moment. Easier said than done to not take the brush off personally, but its a job requirement.

So, if you take the stance that you’ll be getting a person in a different frame of mind, another contact might be worth the investment, just not right now.

And instead of calling, try an email, fax (yes, I still have 8-tracks too) or a brief note, stating,

“I have the feeling I might have called you at a bad time the other day. The purpose for my call was to run an idea by you that could potentially help you to (fill in the blank with some result they would be interested in). I’d like to ask you a few questions to determine if we have the basis for a conversation. I will call you again on Friday, or you can reach me at at 800-555-2922.”

Is this likely to get a high response rate?

No, but any response you get would be better than the flat out “no,” and the upside return on the investment could be huge.

Another alternative would be to simply place them back in your calling rotation for a few weeks down the road without any note and treat it as a totally new call. Get over yourself–they won’t remember you.

Again, these are the types of discussions we regularly have in the Smart Calling Community. If you want a regular dose of inspiration, tips, and interaction with other like-minded sales pros, join us!

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