What you need to “know” about “no”

NoXS“Sir, I have noticed something interesting about more successful entrepreneurs,” I began hoping to engage The Effective Detective on the topic.

“Indeed Watson, and what is that interesting something?” The Detective answered, opening the door for me to continue.

“They rarely take no for an answer. But they don’t do it in the annoying stereotypical used car salesman way that you would usually associate with that phrase – not allowing you to leave the office, throwing up another ‘tell you what I’m gonna do!’ line. Sometimes they will even walk away. What I can’t figure out is how they make the determination whether to walk away or continue,” I explained, watching The Detective for a reaction.

“Simply put Watson, you have observed someone or perhaps several someones who understands that there are three types of ‘no’s ,” The Detective replied.

“I’m intrigued sir. I can possibly think of two types of nos, but three?” I interjected.

The Detective gave me his half-smile, which sometimes meant he agreed with me, other times that I should stay quiet while he explained something to me. I decided I would stay quiet and let him continue.

“Yes, Watson, three types. The first is the one that we who are selling are the most familiar with. ‘No, you haven’t convinced me.’ In this case, you simply have not convinced the prospect of the value of your product or service to them. You may be certain that the value is there, but you haven’t illuminated them. This ‘no’ is actually an invitation to continue, but you may be wearing their patience a bit thin.

“The second type is ‘No, not yet’, or more correctly, ‘No, not today’. This is the one that a lot of people do not understand, and why some of the more aggressive closing techniques were developed. There may be very good reasons why a prospect will tell you ‘No, not today’. They may actually see the value in what you are presenting but understand that they are not ready, or simple do not have the resources or the bandwidth to take advantage of. This response is the heart of relationship marketing and the concept of staying top of mind with a prospect. The preferred way to handle this no – after you establish it is real – is to let the prospect go.The key is to not just let them go – which is what most salespeople ending up doing after badgering them for a while – also highly ineffective, but to start a relationship with the prospect, show them some respect, but don’t allow them to get out of your “sight”, get them on your list and send them useful content, you want to be their first choice when they decide “yes, today.” The Detective paused, and I assumed this was my invitation to jump in.

“I never considered it that way sir, but that means the third type of ‘no’ is…” I trailed off to allow The Detective to finish the conversation.

“I suspect you know the answer Watson, but the third type of no is ‘no, not ever.’ There are simply some people who aren’t going to do business with you for some reason – good or bad. Life is too short to waste time trying to get such clients. You may be able to browbeat them into a deal, but you will regret it. The percentage isn’t that high of this type of ‘no’, perhaps 30% of your market. Why waste time when there is 70% of your market out there ready to say yes  – after you convince them, or they are truly ready?” The Detective concluded.

“Well put sir, well put!” I exclaimed.

“Let us move on, Watson,” The Detective responded, ending today’s discussion.

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