Get the “No” and get better with time management, an area in which most clients say they would like some help.  One of the biggest time wasters in sales is the ubiquitous “I need to think it over, call me in a week or so”.   This can lead to an incredible amount of time (and energy) wasted while trying to get back in touch with them in an attempt to further the sale or get a “no”.  The fact is most “maybes” become “slow no’s” so why not get the “no” in the first place?  Many salespeople have a hard time with hearing “no” so they permit the prospect to drag them down this pathway of hope and despair only to eventually give up or get a “no”.  This approach can lead to a lot of lost time, pipeline and forecasting problems, a false sense of security, and attitude problems from the disappointing result.  

Sellers rationalize this behavior by highlighting some pain indicators they got from the prospect or by reliving the one or two times a prospect has come back from the dead to eventually buy.  Buyers know that sellers will always be forthcoming with information on the latest developments in products and services as well as what special deals may be available that they otherwise may not have obtained.  They have become very proficient with enticing sellers with an indication that problems exist with their current product or provider.  What they do not divulge is their strategy.  Do they want to buy from you, do nothing, or buy from someone else (like their current provider)?

You will not close everyone, we all know that.  Here are some suggestions to avoid this situation:

  1. Take a look at your system:  Even though most sales teams have adopted some sort of consultative selling process, still too many salespeople rely on things like their product or service features and benefits, their unique offering, customer testimonials, or long history of providing quality products and services.   Prospects buy for their own reasons, not yours and if you did not uncover a compelling reason for them to do business with you or change and get a commitment from them, you may get stuck.
  1. Discuss potential outcomes at the beginning of the meeting and get agreement.  You could agree to decide if you should keep talking and what the next steps should be.  
  1. Let them know it is ok for them to tell you if they do not see a fit to do business or to continue the dialogue.
  1. If you sense there may not be enough of a commitment to make a change, give them an opportunity to say so.  This could turn it around by causing them to discuss their commitment or enable them to open up and tell you what is really going on.

Every time you give them a chance to say no and they don’t take it they will be one step closer to saying yes.