>Why are we so afraid of the word no? In all the training and work I do with sales people, it amazes me the lengths we will go to, the work and stress we will cause ourselves just so we do not hear the word no. What is so bad about the word no? Why are we so afraid of that word?
Now I agree, no one likes to be rejected, and no one likes to hear “I am not interested or just plain no.” However, when you really stop and think about it, the prospect is only telling you that, for now, you did not convince them that your product or service has enough value for them to part with their money or their time. Wow! When you put it that way, no is actually pretty good information for you to have. It means, you should just go back to the planning stage of your calling efforts and think about how you could add more value. In fact, that is such great information that we should all say thank you so much when we hear the word no! (Okay, I may be going a little overboard here, but you get the point. No does not mean never – no means, no thank you right now.
If you want to turn your prospects into clients you must learn to be persistent. Persistent without being annoying but persistent. You need to accept rejection, learn from it, and have enough stamina to get back on the horse and try again. Ask yourself, are you willing to keep trying , go the distance in order to get what you want? Persistence actually means, lasting or enduring tenaciously and constantly repeated and continued. If you want to be good at sales you have to be persistent.
I think our biggest fear right after hearing no, is if we are persistent we fear others will find us annoying. So how do you be persistent without being annoying? How do we keep going after someone has told us no, and do it in a way that makes us feel comfortable. Here is my five step plan for being persistent without being annoying.
- Thank the customer – whenever I lose a sale to a competitor or a prospect says no. I make sure I thank the prospect. For their time, their consideration, and for the information I learned about their company and their needs. While I am quite sincere about this, it also leaves the customer with a positive feeling about me. Remember, buying is emotional, and if you want to leave the door open for future sales, you need to leave your prospect with a positive feeling about you.
- Make sure you heard the customer – It is amazing how much we don’t listen. We think we are listening, but truly all we are doing is waiting for an opportunity to give our opinion or our reasons for why they should buy our service. So, when the customer says no, sit down and take a few moments to try to understand why? Often the answer will be,because you were not solving the right problem, filling their need, or understanding what is going on in their life that is preventing this sale.
- Know your customer – Do your research, again. Go back to the research phase of the sales call and learn more. The amount of information you know about your prospect is vital in understanding where, when and how to sell to them. Understand their personality styles, their interest, their reasons for being in business, the types of clients they work with, and what they are looking for in a vendor. If you heard the word no, chances are you don’t know enough about your prospect and therefore you don’t deserve the business – yet!
- Send an 11th Hour Letter – If you lose business to a competitor always send an 11th hour hour letter. Why? Because once people reject you, they may feel awkward or embarrassed to call on you if things do not work out. Again, no just means no for now. You want to make sure you do everything to keep that door open, so when they are looking for new opportunity, or their sales person is not delivering, you are the first person they think to call.
- Don’t be desperate – Keep the top part of your funnel full. Sales takes time, and especially in this new economy. By having plenty of prospects to call on, and plenty of opportunities to pursue, you keep yourself from being desperate. Meaning you remain in the value add part of the sales process and not in the need to close part of the sales process. If you focus on listening, adding value, and being approachable prospects will become your customers in their own time. You need to have enough prospects in your pipeline that if one takes a little longer, you have the time to let the prospect move at their own pace.
Learning to embrace rejection, being persistent, and building your stamina are key in your ability to turn your prospects into customers. Remember, if you fall off that horse, think about what you learned, put these steps into place and get right back on for the ride of your life!