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Make Them Tell You No

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If your customer needs the product or service you are selling, there are only two possible outcomes. Either you will 1) Ask for the commitment and they will say yes, or you will 2) Ask for the commitment and they will say no. Seems pretty stinkin simple right? WRONG! It’s not simple because salespeople don’t make it simple. They throw a third possibility in there which really doesn’t even exist. They allow for the maybe.

The definition of maybe is “a mere possibility or probability”. There is no commitment in that definition at all. I mean, could you imagine if a man asked a woman to marry him and her response was “maybe”? The guy would freak (hopefully). Or what if on payday you asked your boss for your check and he said “maybe?” Maybe doesn’t work in those instances and we shouldn’t let it work in the sales conversation either.

If you are getting a “maybe” from a customer, they are probably saying:

  • I have no intention of buying but I don’t have the heart to tell you, or
  • You didn’t show me any reason why I should buy from you, or
  • I need what you have but can’t afford it and I am too ashamed to admit it, or
  • You are a terrible salesperson and I would never buy anything from you (ok, so hopefully you never have a customer thinking this).

So what is it that you do in the event of a maybe? You make them tell you no. I know, I know, it sounds a bit crazy right. I mean you don’t really want to encourage a “no”, but if you handle the conversation well, it won’t always end that way. Years ago I was in a Sandler training course and they shared a variation of this exercise with the class. I thought it was ridiculous but when I did it, I ended up purging a huge “sales pipeline” and actually converting a few leads that had been lingering forever. I learned two lessons that day actually. The first was that this exercise works, and the second was that I don’t know everything (I am continually learning that one!). So let me share with you a few practical steps to trying this, and then perfecting it as time goes on.

  1. Find ten prospects that have been on your list for the longest period of time. The main reason for doing this is you need some practice, and the old ones are good ones to practice on.
  2. Do a quick review as to what sales opportunities you had/have with them.
  3. Pick up the phone (no email or text here) and call them.
  4. Use a simple script like this:If they ask you to keep them on your “list”, find out why they want you to continue. Maybe your information is valuable to their business or maybe they do intend to buy some time down the line. Get a definitive answer and don’t take anything less. If they aren’t specific, again push to possibly remove them. This takes practice but because most people don’t like to hear “no” (you telling them no), their urgency to buy from you or commit to you may increase.
    • Hey “Bob”, we have been trying to connect for sometime regarding “service/product”. While I would love to work with you, it doesn’t seem to be a priority for you at this time. Unless you see a reason for me to continue contacting you, I am going to go ahead and remove you from my follow up list. (**at this point, wait for their response. If you don’t get a solid yes or no, push for it).
  5. If they ask you to keep them on your “list”, find out why they want you to continue. Maybe your information is valuable to their business or maybe they do intend to buy some time down the line. Get a definitive answer and don’t take anything less. If they aren’t specific, again push to possibly remove them. This takes practice but because most people don’t like to hear “no” (you telling them no), their urgency to buy from you or commit to you may increase.
  6. If they agree to be removed, do two things. 1) Ask them if they know of anyone who may find value in your product/service, and 2) Put them on to a drip campaign or something similar.

This process takes time. But when you are able to make them tell you no, you will become more efficient in your prospecting and sales conversions, which turn into increased sales success.

If you are interested in learning more about this, or any other sales activity, I suggest you sign up for my 9 session online sales training, RJM Educate. Or better yet, call me first and let’s discuss your needs. Who knows, I just may tell you NO :).

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