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Was That No A Maybe?

Think back.  When you were growing up and you asked for something your parents often said, “No” with a variety of phrases.  Each one meant something different to you; few of them were seen by you as an ironclad turn down – or you wouldn’t have asked more than once.  Really, what kid settles for no?

The Way Kids Define “No.”

  • “No” means not now
  • “Not now,” means to ask again in a little while.
  • “I don’t think so,” means ask the other parent.
  • “I can’t afford it,” means yes, if you can mow a few lawns to help pay for it.
  • “Maybe later,” means yes in a little while.
  • “No, and if you ask again you’re grounded for the rest of your life,” – that actually means “No.”

 yes no maybe so

In Sales

“No.”  You’re Not Talking To The Right Person

Before you make the call, know who you’re calling.  Know their job title and function; determine if their characteristics are similar to your other buyers.  If you have the wrong person, tactfully dig in and try and get referred to the right person.

“No.”  Your Product Doesn’t Fit Their Needs

Less than 15% of prospects called believe that you know their needs.  The best way to know their pain is to know their company.  That means research, which doesn’t have to take a mountain of time.  A practiced eye can make a fair amount of educated guesses in a small amount of time.  If Sales and Marketing are working effectively together you may get someone to do this research and leave brief notes on an account.  Teamwork gets more done.

  • Do a keyword search using negative terms and phrases such as angry, bad service, frustrated, complaints, bad business, etc. along with the company’s name.
  • Do a search that compares the company with their competitors.  Company ABC vs. Company DEF
  • Check the Better Business Bureau
  • Check their Website and see what the topics are in planned webinars and conferences since speakers often address pain issues.

“No”  They Weren’t Prepared To Make A Decision

Know that four fifths of the prospects that wound up as customers via nurturing – said, “No, ” first.

“No” They Prefer Your Competitor

Successful companies know the value in being on the lookout for better.  Being complacent can be a waste of money.  Think in terms of your car insurance or your Internet Provider.  If you don’t periodically evaluate and check for a better deal you often pay more than you have to or you forfeit the chance to get better features.

“No” Simply Not A Good Time

Many things in life are about timing.  You may have just caught the prospect when they have come out of a budget tightening meeting; they are just having an off day, or they are distracted by something personal.  There are a multitude of reasons they may not be tuned into you.  Leave them with an understanding comment and tell them you will check back with at a later date.

“No” Just Plain “No.”

Sometimes “No” really does mean – ask again and you’re grounded for life. Respect their decision and let it go, or risk that they will spread the word about your refusing to get the message.   Use it as a learning experience and leave them on a positive note.  Let it go and document it so someone else doesn’t pester them.

In Sales it serves purpose to take a page out of your childhood and listen to the way an Objection is phrased and try to figure out what “No” really means before you give up.  Work at your technique and find ways to phrase your questions that will get a prospect to tell you their pain.

Learning the Tricks of the Trade

Okay, I’ve never admitted this in public before, but we’re friends, so I’m going to trust you not to snicker. I spent second grade in a one room school house. Yes, a box with a peaked roof, bell with a rope beside the door; a right off of Little House on the Prairie schoolhouse on the outskirts of Jackson, Michigan. No, I’m not older than….

The interesting thing about the one room school was that it was full of students of all ages from multiple grade levels. The one teacher couldn’t adequately cover all educational needs at the same time, so the solution was that the older students taught the younger, and the younger taught someone younger than them. It was a type of hand-me-down education, but it worked. Today I can tell you that I earned a Masters in Education in college, but I learned to teach in the field, in a give and take process. There are times I’m sure I learned more from my students than I taught them.

How did you learn to be a sales person? You may be sitting on more than one business degrees, but if you think about it – you actually learned how to sell on the job by following someone else, and I will bet you’ve paid it forward. Sales is a bit of an abstract, complex profession because techniques are varied depending on the product you sell, the environment you work in, and the unbending insistence that you stay on top of technology, so aside from following the leader, how do you fine-tune your skills and stay on top, while remaining a team player?

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Internet Mentors to the Rescue

We all learn easiest from positive role models. Time and experience adds to our skill wealth, but you have one thing the one room schoolhouse didn’t. You have the power of the amazing search engine. If you have a question and can’t get the answer from a warm body standing nearby – don’t forget to just look it up on the Internet, and then make your sales team stronger by sharing.