Let's face it, you'll hear no far more frequently than yes when you're in sales. A lot more frequently. So, what do you do when you hear that dreaded phrase from a prospect?
Maybe you overheard someone suggest that all you have to do is "stay in touch" and keep calling until you receive a yes. That's one way of going about it.
However, as Tom Hopkins and Ben Katt (authors of When Buyers Say No) will tell you, "no" isn't necessarily synonymous with "no."
They've discovered eight distinct reasons why a prospect could say "no." Even if they say "no" several times, it's possible that they don't mean it.
You'll be well on your way to earning more sales than you ever imagined if you understand these eight reasons and what you can do about them. Most significantly, no aggressive movements or manipulations are necessary.
Just the bill, please.
Many times, you've undoubtedly been on the receiving end of a "no" that mysteriously transforms into a "yes."
You've just had a delicious lunch at your favorite restaurant and are completely full. Your waiter begins to clean your plates and inquires as to whether you would want dessert. "No, just the bill, please," you say.
Inexperienced waiters will go away silently and perform exactly what you've ordered.
As the writers point out, a competent server will not accept that as your final response. They'll go on to describe a number of the desserts in great detail. They'll almost certainly point out their favorite dessert on the menu, which is even better than his mother's - just don't tell her.
Of course, you have the option of declining. But every now and again, something the waiter says makes you realize that yeah, that pecan pie with vanilla ice cream is exactly what you want. After all, you've worked hard all week and deserve it.
So, now that you know that, like the seasoned waiter at your favorite restaurant, you can salvage a sale, let's look at why prospects say no when they actually mean something different.
8 Reasons Prospects Say No When They Really Don't Mean It
Here are eight reasons why a prospect could decline your offer:
- They still have unanswered questions. It might indicate that the prospect's worries have not yet been addressed.
- You haven't sufficiently described the advantages. You probably haven't presented the benefits effectively if your prospect is qualified and you're confident that your product will meet their demands.
- You may need to do further research. A perplexed mind, as the authors point out, says no. So you'll have to delve a little further to figure out what they're baffled about.
- You didn't properly qualify them. It's conceivable that you underperformed throughout the qualification procedure. You may need to go back and double-check that you're at the right benefits and products for that buyer.
- There are certain unspoken complaints. It's conceivable that the prospect hasn't given you all of the information you need to know about whether or not they'll buy from you. It's now your responsibility to dig deeper into their objections.
- The prospect may be attempting to stall down the sales process. They could really mean "no, not right now" instead of "no."
- A prospect may object to a certain feature. When they say "no," they actually mean "not that size" or "not that color."
- The prospect may mean "no, not you." Isn't that a pain in the neck? It might indicate that they aren't sold on you as a salesman, who will be their future point of contact at your firm.
So there you have it: eight reasons why a prospect may say no to you without actually meaning it. While there are additional reasons that may be added to this list, there is one that will never be included: indifference.
Remember that the prospect is just like you and me. They don't spend time meeting or talking to individuals who aren't interested in buying from them.
Turning No Into Yes
The writers put out a four-step method for closing a deal.
- You establish a connection;
- You determine the needs of the prospect;
- You provide suggestions;
- You complete the transaction.
Get a copy of this book if you want additional information on those four stages. Even if you're a seasoned salesperson, you'll find something useful here.
But what if you follow each of those steps and the person still declines?
Step #1: Reestablish Rapport
This is where the learning begins, and if you skip it, you'll undermine the remainder of the sales process and walk away empty-handed.
You've asked your prospect to decide whether or not to buy from you, and they've declined. This is a form of non-compliance that makes even the most irritable of us feel uneasy.
Things have become a little awkward now, and your relationship has been shattered. So, before you go back to probing inquiries, you must get your rapport back on track.
The good news is that regaining rapport takes a fraction of the time it took to develop it in the first place.
For example, you may say something like, "I understand your hesitancy, Jim." Maybe I misinterpreted that part of your situation." What you're saying here is that it's fine if your prospect doesn't buy straight away from you.
Step #2: Identifying Questions
Now that you've gotten everything back on track, it's time to discover where you didn't fully comprehend their requirements. You must determine what questions remain unanswered in your prospect's mind.
There are five phases in this process:
(1) Pay attention! If your prospect explains why they aren't moving forward, you must sit there and listen to what they have to say. Don't interrupt them until they are finished.
(2) Reiterate their concerns and inquiries. It's your responsibility to figure out what's keeping your prospect from taking action. "So your issue is...am I correct?" you may simply say.
You'll probably discover that you don't fully get what the prospect is trying to say, and responding with a solution when you don't fully comprehend their issue is worse than not responding at all.
(3) Come to an accord. Always find something to agree within the prospect's concerns if at all feasible. Here's an illustration from the book.
If your prospect responds, "I don't believe I need this product," you may respond, "I agree that you should only spend on goods that benefit your firm." It's worth noting that you didn't mention the buyer didn't require your goods.
(4) Verify that all of the purchasers' issues have been addressed. This does two things: it helps you maintain control over the conversation, and It aids in identifying your prospect's ideas.
(5) Confirm that the buyer is prepared to proceed. Simply say something along the lines of, "Would you be willing to proceed with the purchase if I can fully address your concerns?"
After that, and only then should you give your responses to their issues.
Step #3: Presenting Answers
You are not providing your full product and service line-up at this stage in the sales call. You're delivering little bite-sized chunks of information that solely address your prospect's problems.
Only offer as much information as you require to assist the prospect in making a decision. If you continue to present, you risk introducing new issues that will push them further away from a choice rather than closer to it.
Finally, when you've delivered your response, double-check that you've given the prospect all of the information they need to make a decision.
Step #4: Ask for the Sale (Again)
You've returned to the moment of truth. Now that you've reestablished rapport, recognized their issues, and provided reasons to address their worries, it's time to ask for the sale.
This is where the majority of salesmen fall short. You must ask for the precise action you want your prospect to perform clearly and directly.
Because this is such a crucial part of the sale, you should have the two or three lines you'll say to seal the transaction written ahead of time. It's a beginner error to wing it here.
If you want them to sign a purchase order, be sure you know how you'll get them to sign it.
Never Stop at No
The nature of a salesperson's job is to overcome the objections customers have about their product. If you want to be an amazing salesperson, master your ability to turn a no into a yes by following these four steps.