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What Do You Do After The Client Says No?

3-1-2013

Wouldnt it be magical if you could hear the word yes every time you presented an idea or a solution? That could be one of my favorite daydreams, but its not the reality of sales. Most salespeople will admit they hear the word no all the time. Let me reassure you, no is not the end of the world. For that matter, it doesnt even have to be the end of the conversation.

I am going to give you three reliable tactics you can use to respond to the dreaded no. But before we get into those tactics, we need to get to the bottom of what caused the roadblock in the first place, and how you can avoid it.

The most common cause of the unexpected no is presenting the proposal too early in the sales process. Often a seller has a good conversation with the client, and then moves quickly to deliver the proposal into their hands. While we all appreciate a strong sense of urgency and that may feel like the right thing to do, it can actually cause the seller to skip some critically important steps. Then, with the cart ahead of the horse like that, an awkward exchange usually ensues. The client is surprised by the price, unsure of the idea, and unable to agree to anything.

That no could have easily been avoided with collaborative or interactive selling. Include the prospect or client in every step of the process and you avoid the awkward surprise ending altogether. How do you do that? Confirm with the client each step of the way that you are on track, and that you understand the need or challenge you have uncovered. Ask for input on the ideas you have presented, and dont move forward until the client has shared with you at least one way they would improve the idea or one thing they are not comfortable with. Using collaborative selling and partnering consistently throughout the process will help ensure that when you deliver the proposal, it will be met with a yes.

Now that weve covered the most common cause for the nasty no and the best way to avoid it, we can begin to discuss how to deal with it. Because, while I guarantee that using the No Surprise Proposal will help you close more business, it doesnt guarantee youll never hear a no when you are presenting ideas and solutions.

1. No means youre starting to get a good feel for what the client likes and does not like. Take this opportunity to dig a little bit and ask specifically what part of the proposal they are saying no to. Did you completely miss the mark with the need you identified? Or is the idea you brought off base? Maybe the dollar amount you put on the last page of your proposal was all wrong. You need to ask questions to get to the specifics behind that no.

2. Show empathy. Its important that salespeople realize that not every idea is a great idea, and that sometimes there is more to the story. When the client has told you no, take a moment to show that you understand where they are coming from and that you appreciate the fact that the client is considering your idea. Express your understanding that it is difficult to choose among all the different opportunities that probably land on their doorstep each day. But while you are showing empathy, keep your ears open. There is a good chance the client will reveal the criteria they were using to make this decision, and that could become your opportunity to get back in and win the business.

3. Isolate the true objection. Figure out exactly what the client is saying no to, so you can fix it. Once you have a clear understanding of the objection, you can begin to solve the problem. Break down that big, broad, frustrating no into a single objection, and then you will be able to solve the real issue at hand.

Hearing the word no is part of sales. Knowing what to do when you hear the word no is what separates the best from the rest.

Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy.
E-mail: mattsunshine@csscenter.com




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- NY
(3/6/2013 12:28:23 PM)
"No" is my second favorite answer.

- Carl Magnuson
(3/5/2013 1:31:41 PM)
One look at you goofy "Jew" ears, it's no wonder clients say "no!".

- LMFAO!!!

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