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Sales Process - Increase Your Sales by Going for the "No"
However, getting prospects to say "no" can be equally critical to your success.
How is this possible? I'll answer that question by asking two more questions: 1.
How many of the prospects in your sales opportunity pipeline say things like, "Let me think about it" and "Call me back in a couple of weeks to check in"? 2.
Do you really think these are truly SERIOUS prospects? If you do, you are only kidding yourself! There are many reasons why prospects may be reluctant to tell you "no".
Here are just a few of them:
- Many prospects are nice people that don't like to disappoint others.
They know telling you "no" will disappoint you.
So, they avoid disappointing you by stringing you along.
Eventually they ease themselves out of the situation by no longer returning your calls.
- Prospects may think they have the clout required to sell your product or service within their organizations, only to find out they don't.
It would be embarrassing for them to admit this to you.
So, they string you along to "save face.
- Prospects may find they are unable to come up with the funding required to pay for your product or service.
Yet, they know you have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources in an effort to help them fix specific business problems.
They think you may get mad if they tell you the truth.
So, they tell you "maybe" or "let me think about it.
- Prospects are afraid that telling you "no" may cause a confrontation or encourage you to "hard sell" them in a last-ditch effort to salvage the sale.
So, they string you along to avoid getting into an uncomfortable situation.
If a prospect can't or won't buy, a top salesperson wants to know as quickly as possible! They would much rather prospect for new, truly qualified prospects than waste time on opportunities that will never close.
So, they are sure to ask for the "no".
So, how do you "get to NO"? The first step in getting to "no" is explaining to your prospects right up front that "no" is a perfectly acceptable answer! The conversation you have with a prospect might sound something like this: "Bob, as we explore the possibility of working together, we may decide there isn't a fit between what your company needs and what I offer.
If that happens, to avoid wasting each other's time, are you comfortable telling me "no"? Once a prospect agrees they are willing to tell you "no", you have a powerful weapon you can use to jump-start stalled opportunities and minimize wasted time.
How does this weapon work? Well, if you ever feel an opportunity may be stalling, or if a prospect has not returned your calls or e-mails for week or two, put your cards on the table by saying (or writing in an e-mail) something like this: "Bob, the last time I heard from you was on (date).
Is (product or service name) still on your radar screen? Remember, "No" is a perfectly acceptable answer! I don't want to waste your time or mine, and I don't want to be a pest.
Please let me know whether I should continue calling you.
Thank you!" My experience has been that, if a prospect is serious about acquiring your product or service, they will ALWAYS respond to this kind of communication.
If they don't respond, it is a strong indicator they are not serious.
You have little to lose by scratching these non-responsive prospects off your call list and removing them from your sales opportunity pipeline.
Conclusion If you want to be a top-performing salesperson, you need to view your time as your most precious resource.
After all, time is a salesperson's only inventory.
If you fritter away your time on prospects that can't or won't buy, how will you ever achieve your goals? To earn the greatest return on your time investments, go for the "no".
Tell each prospect right up front that "no" is a perfectly acceptable answer.
Then, if you ever suspect an opportunity is stalling, or if a prospect stops returning your calls, remind them that "no" IS an acceptable answer.
Giving prospects permission to say "no" gives YOU permission to stop wasting your time! If you stop investing your time in prospects that can't or won't buy and instead use that time to find and work with truly qualified prospects, you will be rewarded with a significant increase in sales! Copyright 2006 - Alan Rigg