Ten Additional “Go for No!” Sales Tips

UPDATED: October 2, 2009
PUBLISHED: October 2, 2009

1) Work on your NO-Awareness

Here's a question for you: How many total NOs did you personally gather yesterday? Last week? Last month? Where are you for the year? Do you know? And if not, why not? The very act of tracking the number of times you hear the word NO creates what we call a strong NO-Awareness. And while 'yes' is the destination we all want to get to, 'NO' is how we get there!

2) Have an equal emotional reaction to 'yes' and 'no'

Most salespeople see 'yes' as positive and 'no' as negative, which is a big mistake. And while there's no denying that there will always be some part of us that will be happier when we hear 'yes' (after all, we’re human), top sales performers have learned to avoid the emotional yes/no rollercoaster by being somewhat dispassionate about the outcome of a presentation.

3) Keep a full 'pipeline' of prospects

One of the best ways to minimize the impact of hearing NO and the disappointment of a lost opportunity is to keep a full pipeline of prospects. Having too few prospects in your pipeline makes most salespeople bear down and push, when the best approach in virtually sales situation is to be relaxed. And having lost of 'irons in the fire' makes that possible.

4) To value 'NO' start calculating its value

One of the most powerful approaches to learning to enjoy hearing 'NO' is to calculate the dollar value of each no they obtain. For example, it took inventor Allen Breed 30 years to get the auto industry to say 'yes' to his airbag concept, creating an 'instant' profit of $120 million dollars. In reality, Breed didn't earn $120 million when the auto makers finally said yes… he earned $4 million per year for every year they said no!

5) Offer more options to every prospect

Do the math: when you offer only one option from which to choose, the only answers you can get are a 'yes' or a 'no' ("Do you need socks today?") while offering lots of options ("We've got a 3-pak, 6-pak or 12-pak of socks – which would you prefer?") increases the chances of hearing 'no' but it also increases the size of yes.

6) End every sale with a 'NO'

Most salespeople, when they get a 'yes' from a customer, stop selling and rush to write up the order before the prospect changes their mind. Big mistake. It is always more effective to end the sale on a 'no' (or a series of no's) which guarantees you didn't leave huge dollars on the table.

7) Go for bigger NOs!

It takes no more energy to get a BIG “NO” than to get a small one. After all, a NO is a NO is NO… no matter WHO it’s coming from or HOW BIG the opportunity. As the saying goes: Easy yes's produce little successes!

8) When people say 'no', learn to ask, "Why?"

The most common reaction top performers have when they hear 'NO' is not to get upset or to get packin'… it's to get curious! Because top performers understand that behind every 'no' is the information they need to get to YES.

9) Focus on quantity first and quality second

Look at it this way: Sometimes the worst approach will end in a YES if the prospect wants and needs your product, while the best, most skillfully delivered presentation to the wrong prospect can leave you empty handed. And while we don’t want to discount the importance of making quality sales presentations, the number of presentations you make is significantly more important than how well do them.

10) Stop 'qualifying' and start 'disqualifying'

What's the difference? Looking for 'qualified' prospects is like looking for small nuggets of gold in a mountain dirt, which (as any miner will tell you is extremely ineffective because there's so little gold. 'Disqualifying' prospects, on the other hand, is a process in which the dirt is removed until all that remains is the gold.

Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz are the authors of Go for No!