“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett
“Top producing sales reps are OK with hearing “no” and saying “no.” The rest? Not so much.” Scott Channell
“No” is the next to best answer you can get as a sales rep.
Not as good as “where do I sign?” but 20X better than “maybe, I’ll think about it or call me back in a month.”
Those best at generating leads that ultimately convert to sales with ideal clients actively encourage nos. But too many are afraid of hearing no, and the cost of that discomfort is working harder for less.
Four examples of how inviting “no” leads to more sales.
- The opening of your sales script
Hi Jane, this is Bob from quiet consulting, we specialize in waste basket efficiency for large companies located on the left side of their streets. Desk side trash removal improves by 45% or more and 95% of our clients renew. Blah blah yada yada.
Most reps would be uncomfortable being so specific. Why? Because they are afraid that some would say “Nope. We got a guy. All set.” Or they think “Hey, we have some good small size clients. Don’t want to lose them.” or “Some of our clients are located on the right side of the street. Don’t want to lose them.”
So, they water down their messaging to be more encompassing. If you do that, it decreases your perception of value and expertise among those you most want to say yes. Plus, it clogs your sales pipeline and sucks up your time with prospects that will never say yes, because you did everything you could to avoid hearing no.
“No” means “not right now,” most of the time. Are you chasing away future yeses?
Rant mode: Never understood how reps that swear they are consultative, non-salesy and never pushy keep trying to convince prospects well past the time it is obvious they are not going to buy. Rant mode off.
Aside from all the time you waste, continuing to try to convince someone, even someone whom you could greatly help, they just don’t realize it, turns them off from you forever. When you push beyond “no” to try to get someone to see the light, you come across as needy or desperate. Neither are good looks, and they diminish your credibility and chase people away.
It can be a fine line to dance on but to continue to “try to convince” aka be a pain, well past the point of no, pretty much wipes out your chance for a future yes. When you get overinvested in a sale, bad stuff happens. At times, it is better to accept no and start positioning yourself for a future yes.
If you have a long sales cycle business or offer something not purchased that frequently, there are far more sales to be made just beyond an initial yes. Don’t sour those accounts on working with you in the future.
- Embracing no increases sales efficiency and decreases your cost of sale.
The biggest difference I have noticed between top sales producers and all the rest, is that top sales producers are much more willing to say no early in the sales process. Top producers get to a no quickly and are perfectly ok with it. As a result, they spend more time with higher probability prospects.
A willingness to hear no leads to more sales conversations and deeper conversations
No is often not the final word. One of the things no can lead to is a real conversation.
The biggest push back I get from my script training is including verbiage such as “we may not be a fit” or “we hope you think of us in the future.” Trainee’s howl “We don’t want to say that. We want them to buy now, we want to show them how we are a fit.” (Usually, the same trainees that say they don’t want to be salesy.)
But reality is that you are not a fit with everyone and later may be a better time. When you signal that you are OK with those realities, prospects that may be a great fit for you are more willing to talk. When you have a real conversation, you learn more about them. They learn more about your value and credibility. A great foundation for a future sale.