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Hearing "No" Needn't Be a Sales Killer

When Nancy Reagan suggested you “just say no,” she probably didn’t know that her advice was perfect for sales. Here’s how you can get better results in sales if you’re not afraid to hear the word “no.”

Is it good for you too? 
When you call for an appointment, how do you start the telephone conversation? Do you launch into your sales spiel, or do you first ask the customer if this is a convenient time for him or her to talk? Just because the person answered the phone doesn’t mean he’s in the right frame of mind to hear your message. Why not check to be sure it is a good time for him to listen? If you get a “no,” you know the prospect isn’t going to be listening anyway. Your customer just might appreciate it when you show concern for his feelings. You can ask when he would prefer you call back, and you might even get more attention from him when you do call back.

“No” builds trust. 
Next, do you try to strong-arm your way into the appointment? You’re doing exactly that if you say, “I can save you money. When can we meet?” You’re afraid to hear “no,” so you don’t give your prospect a chance to say it. What are you afraid of? If you said, “I’ve helped clients like you, and I’d like to meet to see if I can do the same for you. What do you think?” The prospect can say “no” — or “yes.” The conversation is less threatening when the prospect feels free to express himself and has the right to say “no.” Why create barriers that might never come down? You create barriers when you deny someone the right to say “no.”

“No” gives you direction. 
Some salespeople are afraid to ask questions that they don’t want to hear the answers to. Imagine giving a presentation to pitch your product without getting any feedback from your prospect about what she thinks. Do you feel confident that you’ll make the sale? Probably not. If you ask a customer if she thinks the problem you’ve uncovered is important to her and she says “no,” you had better stop that presentation and fast. Pushing a product to solve an unimportant problem is a good way to get to “no sale.”

Hearing “no” is good for sales. Just make sure you’re hearing “no” at the beginning of the sales process so you don’t hear it at the end.