In sales, no is actually a fantastic answer!


As a salesperson, of course, you want to hear yes, and you’re a bit afraid of no. No, it’s failure. Who wants to fail? Certainly not me. Fear of failure, however, drives you as a seller to play small. You don’t ask the questions you need to ask because you’re afraid of the no.

No is actually a fantastic answer. When you hear it, it frees you up to focus on a prospect and do the work that can lead to a yes later.

But what about the audition maybe? Too many of us may love because it’s not outright rejection. It’s not no. And potential customers may feel better when they say maybe. Why? Because they can think, “At least I didn’t say no.

Chances are your prospects like you. You have good interpersonal relationships and something worthwhile to offer, plus you’ve spent time with them. So maybe they’re saying maybe don’t hurt your feelings.

Everyone could feel better because they could maybe instead of not. But if you can manage it, all you really have is a colossal waste of time. An incredible amount of time and productivity is wasted, just because people are trying to surrender maybe.

Ask tough questions early

Here is the point. Ask the tough questions and tackle the tough problems early, and don’t be afraid. Coming to an early no (and of course, an early yes) is better in every respect than investing too much time in only arriving at a maybe. Here are some of the hard questions to ask.

“Do you know how much work that will be? » Give prospects a realistic understanding of your brand’s expectations of them and what the day-to-day work will be like if they buy what you’re selling. While discussing these issues isn’t fun, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. And it offers a faster way to sell.

“Have we discussed how much this is going to cost?” Many salespeople don’t like to talk about money at the start of a sales effort. They assume it’s best to sell prospects on the concept first, then talk about the cost. But what does that mean? If you talk about money in the beginning and they don’t have enough, you can come to nothing very quickly. It doesn’t matter how much they like your concept if they can’t afford to buy it.

“Do you have the people, technology and other resources to successfully implement what we’re talking about?” Many sellers avoid asking questions like this because they’re afraid they’ll kill a sale before it’s been properly addressed. But stop and think. Any prospect at some point is going to ponder these issues. You don’t want to hear at the last minute: “We are convinced of what you propose, but we don’t have the capacity to do it. You want to hear about these issues as soon as possible so you can fix them, fix them, or deal with them early.

And remember…

No is also not always no. It’s often a chance to start a new conversation and overcome objections you might not otherwise hear. Many times, in my experience, no is the start of a valuable conversation. If you hear no, start digging into the issues that arise. Be careful though: if the no is really a no, let it rest.

So stop and review your sales process. Are there any questions you put off because you’re afraid of turning off a prospect?

My advice: Move those tough questions to the front. If you’re going to disqualify a client, it’s best to do it early. You don’t have to wait for the fourth or fifth conversation to tackle the tougher questions. You can ask them during your first conversation.

And, like anything, it’s a skill you need to learn and practice.

Evan Hackel, a 35-year franchise veteran, is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and director and founder of Ingage Consulting. He is a speaker, author of Ingaging Leadership and host of “Training Unleashed”, a podcast covering training for businesses. Contact him at, follow him on @ehackel or call 781-820-7609.


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