If you have been in sales for any length of time, then you have heard this sales objection, “I just don’t need what you have.” This sentence can be a conversation killer if you don’t follow these simple steps:
1. Stop everything you are doing and thinking
If you are in the business of cold calling, transaction-based sales, then it is very easy to become distracted by your emails, social media sites, other people walking into your office/cubicle. It’s even easier for you to begin calculating and strategizing your answer in your mind before hearing the reasons your prospect is saying “no.” When you get this objection, stop everything, clear your thoughts, and truly listen.
2. Manage your emotions; it’s not personal
Simultaneously, manage your emotions. It’s not personal, and the word “no” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to power up into the “win-at-all-costs” mode of conversation. Instead, stay calm and shift your perspective to discovery mode. Change your physical posture by leaning back in your chair in a reflective position. This subtle shift in your posture will reorient the negative emotions and help you channel curiosity and exploration instead. This is not the time to convince or pull out data sheets and scripts. This is the opportunity to understand why you are being told “no.”
3. Listen carefully
It is important at this point to discern the true, underlying issue or concern. Some people aren’t as genuine and forthright with their motives. Thus, it’s your job to uncover the deeper reality. Is the “no” simply a test to see if you have the ability to move past it? Dominant, competitive people may need your product or service, but they certainly won’t engage with someone they believe to be incompetent or lazy in their knowledge base. On the other hand, the person may be accurate in their belief that what you have to offer isn’t valuable to them at this time. Perhaps your prospect is simply overwhelmed at the moment and doesn’t want to make any decisions or be pressured into a decision. Lastly, maybe your contact thinks they know all about your product, but they don’t. It’s important to take the time to ascertain what’s causing the “no” so that you can respond effectively and win the business.
4. Respond with questions
The only way you can actively listen to the real issues is if you ask open-ended questions. The first question most successful people ask is, “I am so sorry you believe our product isn’t valuable to you. Please tell me why you think this.” Another option is, “If you don’t think my product can provide a solution, then what problem do you need to be solved today?” From these conversations, you have to be prepared to weave their value throughout the remaining phone call. Rather than convincing people to select what they don’t think they want, provide solutions that can match the current need. Don’t forget to weave your product’s capabilities throughout the discussion. It’s critically important to identify services that the prospect may not be aware of and then sell your offering from a new perspective. Lastly, your questions should be driving toward a mutually beneficial solution and should never put him on the defensive. Otherwise, your “no” today, may become a permanent “no” going forward.
5. Ask for the business.
If the conversation has revealed that your product or service can provide value for your prospect, then don’t shy away from asking for the business. Attempt to get the appointment, the next phone call scheduled, permission for a follow-up; anything that gives you the ability to keep the door open for continued conversation.
As a final word, when your product or service doesn’t meet the needs of a potential client, your professional decision to accept this reality will help you build trust and opportunity for future meetings. In sales, there are times when “no” means “no.” Accept it and move on to the next call.
- Schiffman, Stephan (2011). 25 Toughest Objections and How to Overcome Them. Kindle Version. Objection #3.
- McCormick, M. (11.6.2015). 30 Common Sales Objections and How to Handle Them. https://blog.blackcurve.com/30-common-sales-objections-and-how-to-handle-them, retrieved 7/8/2018.
- Efti, Steli. Learn to Love the “No” (and win Sales). http://blog.close.io/learn-to-love-the-no retrieved 7/8/2018.