When does no really mean no?

Many salespeople never get to hear the word “no”, instead they are provided with the ambivalent response of “maybe”.

Your job as an elite (or developing) salesperson is to circumvent the murky fog of “maybe” and get to either a “yes” or a “no”. Anything in-between suggests you haven’t done your job properly.

There are, of course, always exceptions to every rule, but “no” always means “no” and in my world the word “maybe” also means “no”. Anyone who has been in sales long enough and applied the necessary lessons will attest that chasing dead-ends is a waste of time and energy.

Sure, play the numbers and the law of averages, but you’re better served focusing time and energy chasing the beautiful sound of “yes!” These are people that are ready to buy now, from you, this very moment. These types of customers are out there, but you won’t have much time left to find them if you’re too busy chasing “maybes.”

Leverage is the (absolute) key to hearing the word “yes.” What is leverage? A meaningful and compelling reason to buy now. Any salesperson can conduct meaningless meetings, write proposals and put a cost estimate together, that’s easy, particularly when your boss is paying for the process, yet few salespeople can call themselves masters of getting a “yes”.

Ineffective salespeople seldom have the appropriate leverage to create the right buying decision, or any decision for that matter. They simply present their case and then hope for the best. Hearing responses from clients such as, “We’ll think about it.” Or “Thanks for that, I’ll need to review and come back to you.” These two statements and many others like them are crushing blows to an elite salesperson; but all too common for the average ones.

If a client says “no” at least you know where you stand and you don’t have to submit yourself to the months of following up emails and borderline harassment calls. And if you have done your job properly, which is always to facilitate the right outcome for the customer, you have the confidence to know that there is nothing else to say but “yes” or “no”.

The right customer + the right sales process x value and benefits = Yes or No.

This is the type of conviction and confidence you should have as an elite salesperson. Winning salespeople are clear and concise. Grey is the enemy and so is the word “maybe.”

I translate the word “maybe” to mean “no”. So when I hear it, it’s the last time you will hear from me. I will happily give you as much time and space to make the buying decision as you need, but I won’t chase and harass you with emails and follow-up calls for months on end.

My time is valuable and so too that of my real and most valuable customers. I don’t have time for games, time-wasters or procrastinators. Life is short, but the road to success is long.

Do you want my help or not? Yes or N\no? “Maybe” is not an option for you, sorry. As far as I am concerned, “maybe” customers can go to my competitors and I often provide them with their contact details to do so.

If you get a “yes”, great! If you hear, “no”, that’s okay, just move on. Remember “no” means “no” and “maybe” means “no.” Cut-through both and you’ll find “yes” a lot more often.

For more Selling Strategies advice, click here.

Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.


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