7 Ways to Re-Think No / Selling Skills

MazeA big part of your job in sales is to be the person in the company who gets the “no’s.” My job as your sales coach is to provide you with ways to re-think no.

In the English language, the word “no’ can carry many meanings. It would be a financially costly mistake for you to assume that the meaning your buyers assign to the word “no” is the same as the meaning you assign to it. Some of the possible meanings of “no” are as follows:

  1. Lingering questions: In sales, the word “no” very often means that the buyers haven’t had all of their questions or concerns addressed yet. Perhaps they’re confused about how your product compares to that of the competition. That’s a challenge you must be prepared to address. A confused mind often says “no.” It’s an instinctive protective device of the human psyche. If buyers don’t see a clear way to go with regard to your product, they’ll put off making any kind of decision.
  2. Inadequate explanation of benefits: If you’ve done your job of qualifying your buyers and are confident that your product will indeed serve their needs well, a “no” just means you haven’t completed the client education process that’s inherent in selling. If this is the case, it’s not necessarily a flaw in your presentation. Different buyers need different amounts of information delivered in different ways before considering a decision.
    Generally speaking, it’s better to give too little information and have  buyers ask for more (in this case, by saying “no”) than to give too much information and lose buyers on the basis of information overload or boredom. Trust your instincts during your presentations and close when you feel buyers have enough information to make an educated decision. If buyers consistently ask for more information after your initial closing attempt, then it is time to make an adjustment in your presentation.
  3. Additional discovery is required: A “no” may mean that you need to investigate further to determine what aspect of your presentation wasn’t clear. Remember, a confused mind says no. You may need to be more direct and persuasive during your presentations.
  4. A misstep in qualification: You may need to go back to the qualifying or needs identification step in the sales process to be certain you are presenting the right product for their situation. This “no” may be due to you missing something when you were identifying needs earlier in the sales appointment. It also may be due to a buyer being unclear as to his or her true needs. Because your presentation was effective in educating the buyer on what you incorrectly understood to be the appropriate product or service, the buyer may say “no” to your initial offering. The buyer may not be aware that you carry another product that will meet their newly-realized needs. Only with further conversation can you discover this epiphany and then present the better product.
  5. Unrevealed questions/objections: Perhaps the buyer hasn’t told you everything yet about their circumstances as to needs and their ability to afford what you’re offering. What? Don’t buyers tell you everything up front that you need to know to offer a win-win opportunity and close the sale? Sometimes this is merely an issue of trust. After buyers say “no” is one of the most powerful times to build trust.
    As mentioned above, buyers are often unaware of their real objections and questions until they start to become educated about the products and services that provide solutions. Or, perhaps they like the product but not the financial terms you’re offering. The point is that by using the proper selling skills, tools, and strategies in the correct manner, you can continue to move the sale forward despite initial reluctance from buyers
  6. Timing: Their “no” might just be a way of slowing the sales process down. It might mean “no, not right now.” Good timing is important when you make purchases, so why wouldn’t it be important to your buyers? By discussing options in timing, you may discover a time-frame that is quite agreeable to your buyers even if it isn’t for today.
  7. No, not you: With some buyers the “no” you hear could even mean “no, not you.” Please realize that with some product sales the buyers don’t just buy the product—they’re buying future involvement with you. In many cases, the sales person becomes the key connection between buyers and the company and they may just not have been “sold” on you. They may not feel comfortable with your ability to serve their needs. You always have to demonstrate your own level of competence right along with demonstrating your product’s benefits. Remember, people like to do business with people they like. It’s an important part of your job in the sales process to help them to like you and to trust you, so they’ll listen to what you have to say – to take your advice and want to be involved with you in a long-term business relationship.

There are many reasons that potential clients might say “no” but lack of interest is probably not one of them. Disinterested people won’t waste their time meeting with sales people and listening to presentations. So, when you have their attention, it’s because they’re truly interested in knowing if you, your company and your product can resolve an issue or challenge they’re having. The job falls to you to identify or discover what their needs and expectations are as they relate to your product or service.

You are the only one who can ultimately determine what each “no” means in every one of your selling situations. You do that by keeping the conversation alive through the use of precisely-crafted questions. By mining the information you need to know in order to determine if and how you can help them, you’ll close more sales that previously would have gone by the wayside.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. Excerpted from When Buyers Say No by Tom Hopkins & Ben Katt. We match or beat Amazon’s investments on Tom Hopkins’ books.