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Don't take no for an answer

8th May 2018

Any small business owner will tell you that getting to a sale is tough. Interest is relatively easy to generate but actually getting someone to say "Yes" is the tricky part. Part of the art of sales, however, is understading what goes on in the potential buyer's mind. 

Don't take no for an answer

Recent research has suggested that 73% of customers say “No” at least five times before they will actually buy from you. How many times have we given up after the first or, if we’re feeling particularly brave, the second “no”? Well, again, according to research, 92% of salespeople give up well before they hear the fifth “no”.

Speed of decision making 

Businesses appear then, to be only focussing on the very small percentage of customers who make a decision quickly. If however, you are willing to be patient, persistent and highlight all the ways you or your products are the best choice, you have a whole field of potential customers whom others have given up on. 73% to be precise. Some customers just take longer to decide but it doesn’t mean they won’t decide to buy from you. 

What this means for your business

It’s all very well looking at interesting research like this, but what are you going to do about it? Your business has to come up with a plan to be persistent without annoying your potential customers with incessant 'selling'. If you can do that you join the 8% of businesses who don’t give up on the first “no”. You can bet they are the most successful 8%, can't you?!

Giving up on the first "no" has another knock-on effect for your business. It means you have to work that much harder to find other customers, people who have yet to see what you do and make a "yes"/"no" decision on what you do. 

Don’t leave it to chance - coming up with a plan

Having great systems in place is essential if you want to get the best possible, consistent outcomes, and the highest percentage of “yes” from any prospect. So, planning with your salespeople a solid, practical approach that makes sense to them is powerful.

The process needs to:

  • remove obstacles that lead customers to say "no" in the first place,
  • stress the real benefits of buying from you,
  • keep your customers’ needs in the forefront of your mind at all times.

This will ensure you have lasting relationships with customers that will have them, and others, coming back to buy again and again.

Once you have created the approach and you know it works, make sure everyone uses it. 

What the systems look like

Each business is going to have a slightly different approach to get past the final “no”, but all  should include you and your salespeople understanding the different reasons why customers say "no" in the first place. These could range from not understanding the difference between yours and another company’s products to risking losing their money or wasting their time on the wrong choice. And for each "no", there has to be a different reason why they should buy. Removing the perceived risk for customers is the most important way to get them to trust you and your product or service.

What if it doesn’t work

Your systems do need to be measurable and flexible so they can be changed if they are not working. Your sales approach has to take into consideration your customers’ needs and you have to be more persistent in following up on for each “no” by changing and testing different sales processes. This will keep each prospect and returning customer in front of you for longer, so you and your team can regulalry move passed the fifth “no”.

 This article is an extract from my new book The Keys to the Kingdom. For a FREE copy of the book, click here


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