Give your Prospect the O-K to say N-O

No_picIf you’re in sales, at some point, you have probably challenged yourself with the attitude that when a prospect says “no” that’s when “real” selling begins, because “no is just the first step to yes”.  Our type A personalities are programed to believe that a “no” is a failure.  While it can be disappointing, it is inevitable if you have a career in sales.  Review these tips to remind yourself that N-O is O-K.

1.  Be open to the fact that not everyone is a perfect fit for what you sell. 

This realization will keep your objectivity clear, reminding you that you are not a failure for not selling to everyone.  In fact, if you push the sale when “no” is really the best answer for a prospect, you can be pretty sure that “no” would have been the best answer for you too.  When the customer realizes that they were “sold”, your persistent push to “yes” can become your biggest nightmare for the next few years, when trying to satisfy an unhappy customer who wasn’t a good fit in the first place.

 2.  Re-evaluate your role. 

Instead of thinking that your job is to convince people to buy from you, take a customer-focused approach, having a desire to help a prospect solve a problem or reach a business objective…with your product or service, of course.  The ultimate success is when a prospect starts convincing you that he has a problem and needs your help.  When your approach is to understand their needs, the dynamics change dramatically, and you end up with a happy customer who tells one person, and they tell another, and so on.  Now that’s a “yes”!

3.  Any sales technique that puts the buyer at a disadvantage is inappropriate.

When your goal is to resist a “no”, you create an atmosphere of pressure that will turn an interested prospect into a defensive prospect. Buyers hate pressure. Pressure kills rapport and trust.  A wise sales person will try to remove the pressure and build trust by actually giving a prospect the opportunity to say “no” early in the conversation. Interestingly, the more opportunities you give a prospect to say “no”, the fewer “no’s” you will actually hear.

4.  Provide an easy exit. 

Although this behavior is contradictory to what a prospect would expect from a sales person, give this a try:

Susan, we may get to the end of our meeting today and find out that our company and our potential solutions may not be an appropriate fit to your business challenges.  If it is apparent that there is no point in continuing this discussion, I want you to understand that I am okay with you telling me that.  I will not try to convince you otherwise if that is your decision.

There are two winners in every sale:  The one who wins the business, and the one who gets out the earliest, realizing that they will not win the business.  It’s simple but true:  N-O is O-K.