Do you know how important understanding the word NO is in the profession of selling?
It is a word that can cause much grief and challenge when you are new.
NO is a word that you come to appreciate as having many meanings when it comes to buyers and sellers.
You learn that NO doesn't mean just one thing - but multiple things.
For example, retailers used to rush to greet customers with, "May I help you?"
You know what the potential customer says, right?
"NO....I'm just looking."
You know this because you have given that response or at least heard it given by others many times. EVEN when you want to buy something.
But you want to buy on your own terms. You'll be the judge as to when the seller should engage with you.
It's not much different in the B2B world. What is interesting to me is in how quickly a seller will move on if their prospective buyer gives them a NO.
No Means Many Things in Sales
A NO can mean "this is not a good time to talk" - if you have something they want and maybe even need, but have other priorities.
A NO can mean "I'm not sure - you haven't told me enough about why I need this" - they are open but not ready to buy.
A NO can mean "I don't think there is enough return-on-investment (ROI)" - your value proposition fell short.
A NO can mean NO - but often it is just a quick way to get you to move on.
So How Do You Know Which NO They Mean?
You ask questions - insightful, thought out questions targeted to better understand what your buyers are thinking and feeling.
Use real curiosity to lead your conversation rather than some set of targeted questions. Wonder why they are doing things that way, and at this time. Think about how a child learns by asking "why?"
Two Other Great Benefits of Hearing NO
Once you do get a legitimate NO from what you think might be a prospective client - meaning you have satisfied criteria to know that there is not a near-term buying opportunity, then you can set a next action with that potential buyer, put it in your CRM system, and move on. A NO is wonderful in how it can free you up to focus on other possible yes buyers who are ready and interested in talking with you.
When you hear a lot of NOs over the years, you diffuse the power of the NO in your own brain. That is where the power lies. Remember that you bring your own meaning to the words in your head. NO becomes a comment, not a powerful sling shot. I've seen sellers so disappointed when they hear NOs rather than them thinking what they can do to further their conversations.
Ask Andrea Waltz, author of Go For No. She talks about changing your reaction to YES and NO to be of equal emotional intensity.
So do you know NO better now?
How can you EMBRACE a NO, and ask your potential buyer one or two more questions that could open up a different route to success or a different timeline or a different next point of contact?
Try it today - and let us know how it works for you. Know NO!
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.