What you, great salesperson, are shocked that a sales skill is getting to “no”! Think about it. Do you win every sales pursuit? Do you want to convert every prospect to a customer? And aren’t you the one advising those new salespeople that selling is a numbers game? So the sooner you get all those “no’s” out of the way, the quicker you get to “yes”. There are three times in the course of getting the order when getting to “no” is important: Qualifying, Confirming and Presenting.
Qualifying: Looking For The “No”
Great salespeople know they have a qualified prospect when they have rapport with the decision maker, they have a problem you can solve and the budget is there. Any one of these is absent, then you don’t have a qualified prospect. So great salespeople ask good open-ended questions to qualify the prospect. If you can’t build trust and comfort with a prospect, chances are you won’t get good answers. Better to move on. When the prospect doesn’t have a problem they want you to help solve. Time to look for another prospect. No sense waiting to the close to find out they can’t afford your product or service. Get to the budget “no” quickly. Now you see that in the qualifying process getting to “no” quickly saves time.
When great salespeople ask good open-ended questions, they hope for answers to lead them toward the successful conclusion of the sale. But we don’t often hear it right. So we ask confirming questions. These questions validate to the prospect we are listening. Confirming questions also help salespeople better understand the prospects mind. In short sales pursuits a confirming question can lead to the close: “If I can get it in blue, would you buy it?” Getting a “no” here gives the salesperson a chance to go on selling by asking other questions about color and other product features. In long sales cycles the “no” along the way offers insight in what it takes to get the “yes”.
Looking For “No” In The Closing Presentation
Now, Crawford, you’ve really lost it! Why put all the work into qualifying a prospect only to hope for “no” in the closing. Good question. Great salespeople are deaf to “no” during the closing presentation. It’s not they don’t hear the word but they interpret it as: “I have a question.” “No” is often an objection. In other words, an appeal for a clarification. So salespeople can find out the reason behind the “no” and go on selling.
The favorite outcome at the end of a sales pursuit is the “yes”. But the least favorite is not “no”; it’s: “I want to think it over.” The salesperson lives in limbo waiting for the prospect to think about it. And most times : “I want to think over” is a polite way for the customer to say “no” without hurting the salesperson’s feelings. Better to have the prospect agree at the beginning of the presentation to tell you “no” if they aren’t going to buy from you. But great salespeople work hard to get the “yes” and they understand the value of “no”.
What You Can Do Right Now Getting To “NO”!
- Understand “no” is not personal
- Realize “no” is a time saver for you
- Treat “no” as an appeal for more information