In my experience, one of the top reasons people avoid the profession of selling is the fear of rejection-hearing the word NO. As a Sales Strategist, one of the keys to success I often coach is the concept that selling is a numbers game. In other words, you will hear the words ‘no, maybe, someday,’ from your prospect much more often than you will hear the magical word ‘yes.’ Detaching from the emotion of not making the sale and riding the wave is all part of the game of selling, I have learned.
There have been instances in my 23+ year sales career in which I was able to convert a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and win business. It took critical thinking and strategy on my part, but it worked in the end. Here are 3 tips you can follow to win:
1. “We are happy with our current supplier.” When I hear this, instead of thinking ‘next,’ I will state, “That is great that you are happy with your current supplier. What do you like about them?” Always give the prospect an opportunity to answer and listen. These are areas you need to take note of. Then I ask “If there were any things that you would like to change about your current supplier, what would they be?” This is the million-dollar question because you now are getting from the other party the keys to what is missing – and better yet, the factors that you may be able to deliver and win the business.
2. “We have decided to go with the competition.” I think it goes without saying none of us like to hear this, but it is a part of the selling profession. No matter how great we are as sales and business professionals, we are not going to win every deal. I heard this once and I asked, “I value our partnership and the time we have worked together. What else would it take to have (or keep – if it is a current client) your business?” The customer told me they wanted me to take some “extras” off my proposal. I did that, they dumped the competitor and went with me.
3. “Don’t call us, we will call you.” The customer or prospect is politely telling you goodbye. Instead of dumping them, think about what value can you continue to bring to them? For example, I used to send interesting industry insights (not sales collateral!), news flashes relevant to their business, invite these contacts to industry events I was sponsoring, find other mutual contacts between you and the customer to break the ice, be a consultant. Most importantly, do not write these individuals off or respond unprofessionally. In any industry, we all move in small circles and you never know where your contact will end up. I had a contact that said ‘no’ go to one of my top accounts. He helped me win business and also finish one of my sales years at the top. I am glad I did not burn that bridge!
In summary, take the high road when you hear no. Always ask ‘what could I have done the same, what would I do differently’ when your no has unsuccessfully converted to a yes. And remember, it is normal to get 5 NO’s before you get a YES!
Amy Lemire, Author of the Amazon #1 Best-Seller, “From Zero to Sales Hero-How to Double Your Sales and Income in 90 Days.”