When yes means no and red means go

We have all walked into a retail environment with our arms crossed and no intention to buy. We then walk out twenty minutes later with our bags loaded, scratching our head and feeling strangely pleased with ourselves.

Conversely, think of a customer that enters a used car lot with a wide smile and wallet visibly open. Yet, they spend two hours labouring over the purchase and then walk out with nothing but an insincere, “I’ll need to sleep on it, but I’ll be back tomorrow, I promise.”

These types of cues and buying signals can wreak havoc on a salesperson’s performance and confidence, leaving them unclear, reactive and untrusting of their own instincts.

Masterful salespeople don’t just trust their instincts, they work to a tested method. They understand when yes really means no, so they’re rarely caught off guard and their time is utilised effectively. They pick up on subtle cues like physiology and tone to help them get a clearer sense of what is truly being said. They also know from past experiences what success looks like, so they move the conversation towards the various scenarios that need to play out.

When most salespeople see a red light and feel the overwhelming urge to stop; masterful salespeople keep going, adapting and drilling deeper. A red light is seen as a moment to pause, refine and advance with enhanced clarity. This elevates them above other salespeople.

A customer that fails to return your calls isn’t necessarily disingenuous. It could mean they’re genuinely busy in their own world. You may be important, but not before more pressing matters. Misreading the signals here could translate into you disregarding a genuine opportunity or mutating into a car-park stalker and pushing them away.

When you see the signals for what they really are, you can press forward or change course with confidence. The word “no” is then seen merely as a red light waiting to turn green.

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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