How To Sell When They Don’t Want To Buy – Buyer Apathy

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The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
How To Sell When They Don't Want To Buy - Buyer Apathy


What Do You Mean They Don’t Want To Buy?

Sometimes we get the question, “How to sell when they don’t want to buy?” This made us ask, “What do you mean?” (and we thought) “Why would you do that?” When we asked what they meant, we found out they meant buyer apathy. Buyer apathy is when they act like they don’t want to buy buy you feel like they’re interested.

There are several reasons this could be happening. It could be because of the questions you’re asking, the questions you’re not asking, the product you’re selling, and/or the assumptions you’re making. In other words, always remember that they know their business much better than you do. Never assume they need your product/service.

Remember, when someone doesn’t want to buy, it may be that they feel like they don’t need your product. OR they might not understand what your product is. There are several questions that you should be asking, regardless if you know they need your product or not. They need to discover it on their own…through questions related to their pain. If they don’t see it the way you do, you don’t have pain and you won’t get the sale.

In this episode, Rob & Lane are joined by a listener who has a question about buyer apathy. While we couldn’t use the company name or the actual product name due to confidentiality reasons, we used a company a lot of people know as an example of what it can do. This helped us craft some questions and narrow down where some of the problems could be.

Join us as we discover some of the issues that come up, the questions they might need to ask and why they seem to act like they don’t want to buy.

Some related topics:
How to Sell to a High D Personality D, I, S, C

How to Sell to a High I Personality

How to Sell to a High C Personality

How to Sell to a High S Personality

How To Tell If They’re Not Buying What You’re Selling



Related Articles:

Selling to a Reluctant Buyer



Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:07

Welcome back, everybody to The Slow Pitch and welcome Lane. Lane, how’re you doing over there?

Lane  00:12

I’m doing fantastic. Rob, how are you?

Rob  00:14

I’m doing well, I guess what we’re talking about today,

Lane  00:17

What are we talking about today?

Rob  00:18

Well, today we are talking about buyer apathy. And just when people just are really just don’t seem to want to buy like they’re just like, maybe I should buy. Maybe I shouldn’t buy I don’t know, but we have a guest on our show that this week, and we’re gonna be able to talk about that. What do you think?

Lane  00:36

I think that sounds great. All right,

Rob  00:38

Well, let’s get started.

V/O  00:41

You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  00:48

Alright, so this week, we are going to talk a little bit about prospect or buyer apathy. And I think, Lane, have you ever had it where somebody kind of looks at your product or looks at your service and and says, I don’t know if I’m ready to buy? Or these kind of slow things down or just stall out…ever have that?

Lane  01:07

Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s, that’s no fun.

Rob  01:09

And, you know, it happens with the best of us. And it happens with all of us. We all have that. So this week, we have a guest that’s joining us. His name is Bernie, Bernie, how’re you doing? I’m good. How are you? I’m doing well. And so what we want to do is Bernie’s got a question or a couple of questions that come up. And then we’re gonna have a little bit of a discussion and see how this works out. Obviously, this is the first we’ve done this. You we’ve usually taken questions in a written format. But after we’ve had a little bit of conversation, determine maybe this is a little bit a slightly more complex situation, as we want to talk about it. See if we can have a little bit of conversation. And let’s see how this goes. So if you’re out there listening and you like this format, maybe you have a question, maybe you want to join us, you’re happy, we’re happy to talk to you see if we can do that. But in the meantime, Bernie, can you give us a little bit of a background as to what first of all what this is about? So I know you do one part of the piece of this give me a little high level, what is what is this all about?

Bernie  02:08

Well, I’m I’m working with them on some digital stuff to augment their sales process. And so we actually talked about the sales process.

Rob  02:17


Bernie  02:17

You know, that’s where I heard some complaints about buyer apathy. And then I thought about it for a while. And I really started to wonder like, how do you alter the the sales process to counter the fact that maybe sometimes the buyer can’t very easily see the benefit in switching providers?

Rob  02:39

Gotcha. Okay. So let’s kind of give listeners have kind of a feel for what the product or service that they’re selling. So if you kind of give us a high level of what that’s like, what’s it kind of relative to if we do if we don’t want to share who that is? What is it like?

Bernie  02:54

Yeah, it’s a business service. It’s similar to Rocket Lawyer.

Rob  02:57

So Rocket Lawyer is you get you can buy the services, you can log on their website and say, hey, I wanna I want to just talk to a lawyer. And depending on the type of membership you have, you can pay, you can pay a certain fee, you can a monthly fee, or a certain amount of time, or just a flat fee, depending on what you’re doing. It might cost you something extra, because you’re not paying the top tier, let’s say right, so there’s different add-ons. Is that kind of what you’re saying to kind of like they have a flat fee for certain things. And then add on add on add on sets on, right?

Bernie  03:23

Yeah, it’s a flat fee plus, you know, ala carte stuff,

Rob  03:27

okay. When you say that you get to have these conversations with them about sales, the the issue is that people are slow to buy, but what’s the sense that you have that they’re slow to buy? Why are they making it take so long? Or why are they not buying? Have you guys had any of that conversation? And what do they say.

Bernie  03:42

He thinks they’re just they’ve got a kind of inertia, they’ve already got a provider, it’s a pain to switch providers, even if they could see a little bit of a benefit from changing. It’s not like a huge dollar amount in their budget. And so, you know, I just got to thinking there must be a way that the sales process has to adapt when you’ve got, you know, a buyer who perceives that the stakes are maybe too low for their their attention.

Rob  04:11

So, I think what I’m hearing you say, then, is that unless they’re having a problem where they are without service, why would they switch?

Bernie  04:20

Yeah, well, I know why. Because I understand what’s better about my clients product, but they won’t know why

Rob  04:27

They don’t understand why. So is that a website messaging issue? Is that a sales process issue? In other words, if the clients come in or potential customers come in, and they come in through the website, that’s one thing they have to make a decision to buy or not buy, right? Yeah, but is this a problem where the is there outgoing calls from that company who are saying they’re running into problems when they look at it and go through their presentation or their information that they’re having a hard time people pulling a trigger?

Bernie  04:54

That’s what it is. It’s outgoing calls.

Rob  04:56

When you when you talk about the outgoing calls the people that are on the phone. How much information does the call receiver have before they get this phone call? In other words, I’m sitting at my desk, this company calls do I? Am I expecting their call? Or are they just cold? Totally cold?

Bernie  05:14

I think the first call is totally cold.

Rob  05:16

All right.

Bernie  05:17

And I think there’s, I think the first call sets up another call, maybe.

Rob  05:22

Okay. And, and the price point on each of these sales calls is anywhere from, let’s say, low end to high end, what?

Bernie  05:29

It’s a service that gets used sporadically. So it adds up, the bigger you are, the more it adds up, but…

Rob  05:35

So the more that somebody might need it, that number can get really big fast, or if it’s not something they need very often it’s just be a low number, and it doesn’t really cost very much and they just work through it. Okay, when they’re making their outbound calls. Do you have you listened into those calls? Have you been able to hear some of the conversations that they’re having with people?

Bernie  05:53


Rob  05:54

Okay. Lane, I have some additional questions. But I before I get too far, I’ve just, I just peppered Bernie with a bunch of questions. And I mean, like, it’s like, I smell pepper.

Lane  06:06

What do you mean? Like?

Bernie  06:08

My eyes are burning!

Rob  06:09

Yeah, yeah, your eyes are burning. So it may be your nose is burning a little bit too, because it’s so you’ve been peppered so much. But but but Lane what what do you got for questions, because I want to make sure that we get everything we need to make sure we want to answer that question.

Lane  06:21

Well, I I find it interesting that they’re making these cold calls, and they come away from these cold calls, basically believing the client doesn’t understand the the benefits of their service over competitors. And and so I mean, that really makes me think, you know, what, what is the message being passed in these cold calls, that they’re not able to clearly lay out the benefits of their service to their clients? Or the to the prospects?

Rob  06:44

Yeah, that’s interesting question, Bernie, what do you got? What do you think? Is that do you think that’s part of the issue? Let me rephrase that. Is it? Do you think it’s part of the messaging that’s in that script? Are they I’m assuming they’re scripted? Because most of them they are going outbound calls are scripted? Or if they’re scripted? Or if they’re not scripted? Either way, do you think some of the messaging that’s in there is very cold-cally, if you will, I don’t know how to word it that way. You better way, but like, is it feel like, Hey, dude, you gotta call you gotta buy this today? Because you know, that kind of feel? Or? Or is this more of like, hey, is this a problem for you? And did you know there’s a service out there that’ll help you? Or do you guys already have a service that does this? You know, that kind of question.

Bernie  07:21

I haven’t the slightest idea. What…

Lane  07:26

Do you know, if they are talking to just the the average person in the department there, they’re focusing their services towards or they are they try to talk to, like a VP level or a C suite level individual?


They’re doing what you would do in a sales process? Their first call would be to try to establish who is the decision maker? I assumed, okay. And then, and then they make sure they get on a call later with that person.

Rob  07:55

I think one of the other questions we haven’t asked yet either is his size of the company, meaning the size of the target audience, I should say. So what size companies? Are they calling these mom and pops? Are these like, imagined small restaurant? Are these like small offices? Where there’s 1015 people there? Are we talking like hundreds of people or 1000s of people? Who are they after

Bernie  08:12

it would be hundreds of people or 1000s of people.

Rob  08:15

It would be hundreds or 1000s. So decent sized companies, so it can get a little bit dicey and how you connect to on the phone? And then they’ve got to navigate through that I call it the phone tree, but it’s like they’re gonna navigate to the right people. Right.

Bernie  08:28

Yeah. Or more elaborate than the tree?

Rob  08:31

Yes. And I’m wondering whether or not they have a database that is very accurate, meaning that they know who the president is, or the CEO, or the Vice President of whatever department they need to speak to. So if they need to speak to Vice President, let’s, you know, it’s like, let’s say it’s like Rocket Lawyer? What if they just called up and said, Hey, I need to talk to the VP of the legal department? And would that be the right person? And maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but if nothing else, you’re at least getting in the right department in the right area. Right. So the first question I would ask is, who are they calling? So in your conversations with them? The next time I might ask the question, we were oh, by the way, who are you guys calling because if you’re calling the wrong client than that, or the wrong department or the wrong layer, then that might be the wrong thing. Let me give you an example. A while back, I had a problem with something that was happening outside of our business. And I did not know what to do about it. There was nothing I could like there was the people that were out there, the things that were happening, all the different elements that were all fitting together, it was something that a landlord couldn’t control, it was more of a bigger problem, let’s say right? And so what I ended up doing is I ended up knowing a couple of contacts and I called somebody that I thought was at the appropriate level in the city. And when I contacted that person at the city, they said, Okay, well you know, there’s not much we can do about it. Thank you very much. Wow, this would seem like this would be something I could do right this is this seems like something that would fit for their, their area. So I happen to have another contact which happens to be much higher in the city and so like that person and I said, I hate to bother you. This is not something that I wanted to call you on ever. But I’m having this problem. They’re like, tell me what’s happening. They said, All right, let’s let’s have a quick conversation on a call here with this other person that he knew. And so he loops another person in the phone call, that person then says, I got it, I’ll take care of it. Well, how come the first guy couldn’t take care of it? Well, because it wasn’t the right level. And here’s the other thing that I’m found in cold calls, if you call as high as you possibly can, and get away with getting in front of that person, whoever they kick you down to, is going to listen to you, and is going to listen to them. And they and that person that they kicked you down to they don’t know if your best friends from high school or if you just talked to him for the first time. So there’s a benefit for going as high as you can. So the first question I would ask is, are you calling… Are they calling the right target audience? And we don’t know the answer to that. But let’s assume that that’s part of the issue. The second issue can that can come up is how to how to create that messaging that will fit to a problem that that person on the other end of that phone is having. So let’s do this. Let’s have a practice with Lane, that Lane… Lane can can give you a quick 30-second commercial about let’s say he’s calling on behalf of Rocket Lawyer and he wants to talk to somebody that’s pretty high up and so Bernie, you’re going to be the person receiving the phone call. And Lane you’re going to be the one making the phone call.

Lane  11:25

Yeah, great. Thanks, Rob.

Rob  11:25

This let’s play this out. Let’s see what happens. Lane. What do you got?

Lane  11:29

Ring ring?

Rob  11:30

Bernie you have to answer the phone?

Bernie  11:31


Lane  11:32

Hi. Is this Bernie?

Bernie  11:33

Yes, it is.

Lane  11:35

Someone gave me your your name and suggest I reached out to you. Thank you might might be interested in and some legal services. Is this a good time to talk?

Bernie  11:43

Yes. Okay.

Lane  11:44

Well, hey, listen, I you know, I don’t know what, you know, I’m not real sure why these people suggest I call eye contact reach out to you. I don’t know if maybe they just happen to know you and know you might be looking for some different services. We offer some great services that

Rob  11:58

Alright, so I’m going to cut lane off a little bit place. Thanks. All right, no problem. So hey, Bernie, are you I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself first. And I I mean, you probably want to know who this is. I know. Sorry about that. Hi. My name is Rob. I’m with Rocket Lawyer. And we’re trying to get a hold of a certain person at your office. I have no idea if you know, this is

Bernie  12:21

A certain person.

Rob  12:22

Yeah. Oh, I should explain who that is to.

Bernie  12:25


Rob  12:26

I’m not very good at this at all. Holy cow. I’m so sorry. I’m looking for of the vice president of the legal department. I don’t know if you have. Now if I knew that person’s name, I would use that person’s name. So I’m looking for VP of legal? Do you happen to know who that is?

Bernie  12:43


Rob  12:43

How would I get ahold of that person?

Bernie  12:45

You just call his number? I could give it to you.

Rob  12:48

You mean right now?

Bernie  12:49


Rob  12:50

I really appreciate that. Go ahead and give it to me. Alright, so now I’ve got this number. Right. So that’s the first thing so

Lane  12:57

You’re much nicer than I am.

Rob  13:00

Lane says that but you don’t know how many times that actually works. For me. It is in incredible how many times that I’m calling and I get the right person on the phone? Who gives me the right phone number who then I get to call that person so I call the Vice President of Legal and now, Lane, you’re going to be vice president of legal and you’re going to be a little more gruff, of course. So. So the phone rings.

Lane  13:23


Rob  13:24

Hey, is this Lane?

Lane  13:25

Yes, it is.

Rob  13:26

Hey, I just I just got your name and phone number here from somebody in your office here. And they said you were the right person to talk to about about this is that,

Lane  13:33

Who did you talk to? Who do I need to fire?

Rob  13:37

Well, I know you better than that. I know as you’re in the legal department probably not going to fire him. I know. I understand. Now. I’m just kidding. I listen. i They said you were the one I should talk to. And in in, in this conversation. I thought maybe in the conversation that I had with them. I thought maybe I should just reach out and give you a call. Do you have I don’t know if I caught you to but did it get you to bad time?

Lane  13:58

It could be better what’s what’s going on?

Rob  14:00

All right, let’s get to the point. Sorry about that. So here’s the deal. I’m reaching out because I’m I’ve had several conversations with other companies that are very similar to yours in in my conversation with the legal department, what I’m finding is, is they’re looking for a an alternative to stuff that they’re doing already. And, and a lot of times, there’s some, there’s legal things that are happening that don’t take a lot of complicated efforts on your end. And it’s just like paper pushing and garbage stuff that you just don’t feel like doing. And so one of the services that we can offer is something that takes care of that probably just takes it off your plate. So you’re dealing with more of the real heavy lifting stuff. Is that something you guys aren’t even thinking about? Or have you guys ever thought about saving saving a little money on your end?

Lane  14:40

Well, I guess it would depend on what kind of money savings we’re really talking about here.

Rob  14:44

Well, it can be it can be money, it can be time and there’s that…

Lane  14:47

Well, time is money. Yeah, yeah.

Rob  14:49

Yeah. So do you want to because I know you don’t have a lot of time. But should we schedule the time to grab a little bit more information together and just kind of talk through that? Maybe half an hour? Would that work?  All right. So that’s usually how it goes, because they’re usually willing to be open. But then the next piece of that is is really the messaging that went on through that, which is trying to address what some of their pains are. In the questions. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s a question about whether or not they have the problem. So I feel like when people say they have a buyer apathy situation going on, typically, what I find is that they’re trying to push, and sales is really a pull, there’s two jobs that I find that are both pull jobs, but people try to make them push jobs. One is sales, and the other is management. Both of them really require somebody to pull people along to come along. Let’s go this way. And that’s how it works. So in the sales process, they have to have a mentality of is this person, even the right person to follow along and go in the right direction? And if they are, and they’re open to have more conversation, let’s continue to expand that conversation. So in that conversation that I just had with Lane, my goal was not to sell him My goal was to find out, is there a problem? And when he says, Well, time is money. Yeah, no kidding. Time is money. Let’s, let’s talk a little about that. So if we ended up having a little more time, or we didn’t say, Hey, am I you know, I got five minutes, you know, that kind of thing that I might get into? I know, time is money. How much time do you guys think you guys spend on and then you start asking all these questions. And by having that conversation, what I’m hearing, when they hear there’s apathy is you’re not getting to the pain point fast enough. It’s got it especially for somebody that’s higher up, that higher up person usually has a higher D personality, which means their dominant personality, the ones that they want to answers, they want to move fast and follow me, let’s go. So you have to talk to them that way. All right. Listen, you’re, if you’re talking about these issues, it’s taking time to do this paperwork that doesn’t return any investment of time, it’s just extra stuff that I got to do. Or I’ve got to do X, Y, and Z, it’s just a waste of my time. All right, we’re gonna solve that problem for you. Yeah, it’s gonna cost you a little bit in dollars, but you’re gonna save time, you’re not gonna be so aggravated. By asking those questions, you’ll know whether or not that’s an issue. And once you get to the other side of that now, you know, not only how much time they’re wasting, how much is that costing them? How much is that affecting that person that you’re on the phone with? Directly? And how much of the is their responsibility to control that? So now they have that I have a vested interest, if I have to control that, I have to control my costs, I have to control my time, their time everybody else’s. Now it’s it’s vested interest to make sure this is right. What do you got? I want to know, I want to learn more. Now you’re pulling them through the sales process. So that’s what I typically hear. I don’t know that that’s what this company’s doing, or has the problem with, if you will, but it sounds to me like on their website landing page, if people aren’t converting there, there might be a problem with people understanding that, here’s the pain you might be having that this then solves and has to be subtle. And I think there’s nothing wrong with having a video that says that explains that or ask those questions. And then in the sales process, when the outgoing calls happen, if they’re not getting those questions answered, then they’re probably not going to get the sale. And one of the things that I’ve been, you know, Lane and I have talked about this too, before, for those of you listening is if you don’t have the pain, and you don’t have monetary value to that pain, and sometimes time and sometimes effort, energy, everything else that goes along with it, unless you have that you you’re never going to get a sale, then it’s time to plant seeds. So when they come up, and those conversations that they’re having, they should be then going on and saying, well, listen, you may not have this problem today. But let’s pretend you have a problem in three months, would it be helpful to have my contact information so that we could talk again, and see if there’s a little smaller plan that we can kind of get you started on and you can test it out? Try it, you know, and then off you go. So they’re usually interested in something like that. But planting the seeds becomes the biggest and most important step when you know, you’re not going to get the sale because there’s no pain. So do you think that’s going to help them at all? Bernie? Yeah, I think it could. Good. Lane. Did you have anything else you wanted to add? Or?

Lane  14:59

Yeah, I can do that.  No, I think you I think you really covered it there. Because it’s, it seems like the prospects don’t necessarily understand the pain isn’t being pointed out clearly enough to so they they go Oh, yeah, I need your service over what I’ve already got. So

Bernie  19:21

Or the problem is they’re not feeling the pain.

Lane  19:24

That’s true. That’s true. And I know we can’t really get into it, but I, you know, I, I can understand from previous conversation where it’s hard for them to really feel feel that pain unless something comes along where someone goes, that’s not really me. But then that was at that point, do you trust the applicant? Or do you trust the service provider? And that’s tough.

Rob  19:42

Yeah. And I think the other thing is, is that when you have a conversation with somebody and you find out that they have no interest, because they don’t have the problem, then there’s two questions that come up to me is one is are you asking the right questions to get that pain truly asking the questions to get that pain out of them because sometimes we think we are but we’re not we’re just glazing over stuff and thinking we’re reading their minds, we think that they actually are telling us what we want to hear. And it’s really not the right thing. In that sometimes happens. But then another side of that is is the next question. And again, I’m not suggesting this for this client, per se. But sometimes you have to ask the question, is this product even needed necessary? Is there a problem that they’re saying, This is not an issue? I don’t, why would I even need this. And it’s such a small audience that you might be able to get some sales out of it, but it’s going to cover the monthly bill that needs to happen. And sometimes that’s the case. But But really, 9 times out of 10. It’s about getting the right questions asked, so that you know whether or not to have pain. And if you don’t get anybody to have pain, ever verify that you have the right questions being asked, verify that it’s all correct. And if you’re getting all the pain you need, and nobody still wants to buy, then there might be some other issues going on too. But for now, I think I would, I would wrap it up with just saying one simple thing. And that is every message that goes out from this company should be pain-based at by asking questions. So all the questions that are on the website, all the questions in the sales process, they have to be a lot of questions. Put that person who’s buying mentally into into pain, basically, make them feel like well, here’s the problem. And oh my goodness, I hadn’t been thinking that this is costing us this much every day, or every month or every whatever. So the more you do that, the better. Bernie, do you think that helps? Does that help at all

Bernie  19:42

Yes, we’ll give it a try.

Rob  20:37

Alright, sounds good. All right, Lane. Well, I think we’ve hopefully helped out and, and hopefully help some other folks that are out there listening.

Lane  21:36

Yeah, I hope so.

Rob  21:42

Until next time. We’ll see you guys later.

Lane  21:44


Bernie  21:44


V/O  21:48

Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569 or you can email them to Slow Down and Close More.

Rob  22:38

Thanks as always, for listening today. If you liked this podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at The Slow Pitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis. And we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on the slow And we’ll be back with another episode soon.

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