Does No REALLY Mean No?

Published on May 5, 2008

When a customer says no to you, what do you think? Sales superstars know that real selling doesn’t even begin until the customer says no. If you don’t believe me, just ask Mike Evans and Steve Tolkach. Both Mike and Steve were honored by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) this past January for their ability in not letting “no” get in the way of their success.

Mike Evans was honored for bringing in the largest sale by the local SIOR chapter, a $105 Million deal!!! The deal involved two properties side by side with owners who did not like each other and were uncooperative when either one wanted to sell. Mike didn’t let their poor relationship get in the way. He got to know each of the owners better and found out what really made them tick. He then found a third party that was willing to buy both properties together. Through his facilitation and persistence, both owners agreed and closed the deal. It would never have happened if Mike Evans stopped when each of the owners first told him no.

Next up is Steve Tolkach, who won the award for closing the largest dollar value lease by the same SIOR chapter. The client wanted to move and had a requirement that the new location could be no further than 35 miles from the NJ Turnpike to facilitate their shipping requirements. Steve showed them all kinds of properties within the 35 mile target zone, but none of them met all of the client’s needs. In the end, Steve recommended that the client stay right where they are, 70 miles from the turnpike. They agreed and signed the deal. Steve did a great job in showing his client how the current location was really the best suited for their needs and how moving to within 35 miles of the turnpike at all costs would have been detrimental to their business.

What are the key learning points?

  1. When a customer says no, they are simply telling you that based on the present state of affairs, they are not willing to say yes to the risk involved. Simply find out what else is important to them and see if you can re-frame your value proposition.
  2. Many times a customer has a perception of what is really important to them. They will often take an individual issue and blow it up out of proportion. Your job is to get that perception out on the table and see whether or not there are other important factors they should be considering. Often, their perceptions will change when they see the whole picture for what it really is.
  3. If there weren’t any no’s in sales, you wouldn’t have a job. The sale starts when the customer first says no. If it was easier than that and the customer always said yes, your company would be able to sell everything on the internet and save on your commissions. Sales people get paid the big bucks for doing the hard work. There are no shortcuts. Just ask any superstar. It’s true whether you are in sports, politics, business or sales.

Remember: “No” is not a rejection. Simply find out what is missing for the customer and provide it. -there is no magic about it…it’s hard work that makes the change!. As you can see, it is possible to turn a no into a yes. Successful sales people do it all the time!

Congratulations to Michael Evans and Steve Tolkach!!!

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