Every time a salesperson contacts a potential lead, they are at an automatic disadvantage. Their prospect always starts out on the back foot, on the defense. It’s not because they hate being sold to, and it has nothing to do with the product.
They’re defensive because in their experience, it’s going to take an enormous effort to make the salesperson accept a simple “No.”
When you make your pitch, and you hear your target clearly say that they’re not interested, what’s your first reaction?
Many salespeople will try to take away the power of that “No” and dismiss their prospect. It’s like creeping up on someone and snatching away the only thing they had to defend themselves with.
But that’s antagonistic. It kicks off your customer’s fight-or-flight instincts, and it frequently ruins your relationship with someone who could have been a great asset to you down the track.
Here’s are five reasons why the best response is to actually take no for an answer.
1) You’ll surprise your lead.
Nobody expects a salesperson to be reasonable. That’s a sad fact about the state of the profession: When prospects encounter a person who wants them to buy, they are pre-programmed to expect bad behavior and manipulation.
They expect you to use every trick of the trade, every manipulation or coercion technique you know, desperately trying to pull them over the line.
Maybe they watched Boiler Room or Glengarry Glen Ross too many times, or maybe they’ve been burned by a bad experience. The bad news is that you’re starting off with a point against you. The good news is that your reasonable reaction is the last thing they’ll expect.
If you respond to their “No” by showing that you respect their decision, you immediately change their perception of who and what you are.
2) You can build a foundation.
A “No” that you respect the first time around has a lot more chance of being a “Yes” later on. The way you can make that happen is by asking your lead’s permission to talk to them again in the future.
You don’t have to set a time or make a promise. All you have to do is ask them to agree that down the line, you can have a second conversation.
Maybe you’ll send them an email with something they could be interested in — not necessarily about a sale — or maybe you’ll pick up the phone one week and try to reconnect.
Whatever you do, by starting the relationship with respect, you are setting yourself up for a much more positive interaction the next time you try.
3) You’re saving yourself time.
Trying to sell something to a person who genuinely does not and never will want your product is not a good use of your time. That’s like putting all your energy into pushing on a door that says “Pull.”
It’s not going to budge, you’ll lose your temper and the people on the other side will think you’re an idiot.
Identifying the people who won’t ever become customers is crucial. Listen to their “No.” Learn that they aren’t the right fit. And then move right along.
4) You’ll avoid a bad reputation.
Do you want to be a case study in someone’s rant about crummy salespeople? That’s not a good look for you, your company, or your product.
But that’s where you’ll end up if you don’t respect your lead’s power of No.
The easiest way to build a bad reputation is to treat your would-be customers badly. People love sharing bad experiences more than good ones.
If you want to avoid getting that bad reputation, take “No” for an answer.
5) You’ll remove negativity from your job.
Dealing with a bad sales experience isn’t just a negative part of your lead’s day, it’s awful for you too.
You’re not being listened to, you’re possibly being insulted, and it’s easy to feel like you’re talking to a brick wall. If you hate arguing with people, trying to convince them to buy when they don’t want to buy or forcing round pegs through square holes — then stop doing it.
Take “No” for an answer and you can have a positive experience every time someone chooses not to buy from you.
I want to share two sales experiences I’ve had recently.
Here’s the first. Just this past week, I’ve been harassed and hounded by the sales team from a SaaS CRM company. No matter how many times I’ve stated that I don’t have the emotional or timeline bandwidth to go through a software demo, they just won’t let up.
Three phone calls where the reps refuse to let me off the line and four emails later, I’m just waiting for a carrier pigeon to turn up.
What are the chances of me ever signing up to this company now? Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
Here’s the second story. I stepped into a record store six months ago, and the owner came out from behind the counter to chat. He recommended several albums that he thought I should buy, and while they looked interesting, I wasn’t convinced.
I didn’t buy anything, and he was fine with that. I’m sure he would have loved to make a few sales, but he didn’t pressure me. Instead, he hung out and talked music for a good 20 minutes.
Now every time I’m in that part of town, I stop in at his store and buy something. Without fail. The experience I had with him was so positive and respectful that it’s just something I legitimately want to do.
Which of those scenarios would you rather be in?