Getting Past the Dreaded Answer: NO

Published on June 20, 2018

What happens when a customer says no to you? What do you do? Ninety percent of salespeople accept no as an outright rejection and just move on. But that is the worst thing you can do! In doing so, you disqualify yourself from numerous sales. Why? Because a good sales executive will encounter between three and five no’s before a customer actually says yes. This means that the first no is no time to give up.

It helps to understand the various things a customer may actually be saying when they say no. Here are some of the possibilities: 

1. “It’s too risky to say yes. I’m not convinced that your solution is going to help me, so it’s safer to say no.” 

2. “I don’t like the terms and conditions so I am going to say no.” 

3. “This isn’t the right time.” 

4. “I can’t say yes because I have a hidden objection.” 

5. “I don’t feel confident that I can push this to the real decision maker and get them to say yes.” 

One of our primary jobs as salespeople is to break through the no’s and find out what is missing. Most of the time, you can convert a no to a yes, but you have to believe it’s possible. You have to use your understanding to work with customers who say no and help them to say yes. Here’s how: 

1. Don’t take no personally. It’s not about you. It’s about the customer being uncomfortable with giving the answer of risk, which is yes.

2. Find out what’s missing. Restate the outcome that the customer is looking for, and ask what is missing from the solution you’re proposing. 

3. Once you find out what’s missing, address it and see if you can overcome the situation.

4. If that still doesn’t do it, then that indicates there is information missing or a hidden agenda. Ask more questions to uncover what is going on.

5. If the answer is still no, it could be a timing issue, or it may be a genuine lack of interest in what you are selling. 

If you go through all of the options and the answer is still no, then you know you’ve done everything you could do and it’s time to move on. As a Sales and Leadership expert, I can assure you that sometimes no is the best answer you can hear because the opportunity is not really a qualified one and you shouldn’t waste your time. You can’t sell to everyone. Find the people who really want to buy from you—those are the people who are going to make you money. 

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