Measure Your Sales Success In the “No”

Hearing the word “no” is never fun–but think about it this way: If everyone said yes, there wouldn’t be a need for salespeople, let alone direct selling.

The reason why there’s opportunity for you is because people say “no,” all the time.

Because rejection is something that everyone struggles with, it provides you with an incredible opportunity to distinguish yourself as a salesperson and rise to the top of the pack.

Expect the word “no.” Anticipate it, and be prepared to hear it often. 

Did you know there are different types of no’s?

Here’s how you can transform each into opportunity to forge forward:

The Generic No

When people say things like, “I don’t have time,” “it’s too expensive,” or “I’m not interested,” early in a call, they’re not saying “no” directly to you or your product. They’re giving you generic “no’s.”

At this point, your prospects can’t possibly have enough information to know that your product is of no interest to them.

What they’re really objecting to is giving you timeattention, and credibility.

What they are really saying is you haven’t given me enough of a compelling reason to buy from you or have satisfied all of my concerns and priorities.

Don’t get thrown off your sales game and move on. These are the easy “no’s”—be prepared for them. The way you respond, like the way you respond to all rejection, is your opportunity to stand out, and differentiate yourself from all the other salespeople who stutter, “uh, well, but, why?”

Anticipate the “no,” and disarm them with great attitude: “I didn’t have a chance to explain myself to you. I completely understand your position. This morning, I said ‘no’ to a direct salesperson—it’s the most normal thing in the world. But at this point, neither of us can know for certain if our product could provide massive value to you. My guess is we can, because we’ve helped a lot of women like you. Let’s take one more minute to figure out if this is worth exploring.”

You’ve acknowledge the position that you’re putting your prospects in. But you’re also communicating to them on a more subtle level that they haven’t really said “no” yet, or even taken the chance to hear you out.

If you say it with the right energy, confidence, and clarity, it’ll make all the difference in the world—and start turning the original “no” into a “yes.”

The Maybe No

The later in the sales process you hear a “no,” the more seriously you have to take it. These objections will be more specific, and tend to center more around your actual product—but they’re also not the end of the road. A lot of times, “no” really means “maybe” or “not yet.”

The only way to tell is to try to work around this type of “no,” and dig deeper into the cause of the objection.

Ask lots and lots of questions!

  • Why do they need this specific feature or solution and how would they use the product?
  • Is this objection one that we see often in our target market?

The maybe “no’s” you receive from prospects will often point to holes in your product or services that you can improve upon to deliver more value to all of your customers.

The important part of the maybe no’s is to follow up with them regularly. Shoot them a text or email: “Remember 2 weeks ago, you told me no because of reasons x, y, and z? We’ve improved x, bought y and developed z. Would you be up for a quick demo? I’d love to show you in person these changes.”

If they say no again, or don’t respond, email them again in the next quarter. And the next.

Tenacity and perseverance pay off in the long run. The next time when they think about your product in your industry, who do you think they’ll think of? You!

The “No” = No

Sometimes, “no” means “no.” Push too hard, and you’ll waste time and resources, damage your company’s brand, and worst of all, waste an incredible learning opportunity.

Continuing to chase an opportunity after a no takes time. It takes away from other opportunities. There is a cost to chasing after the no.

Say that you’ve worked on one prospect for six months and she still had not made a purchase.

Take the opportunity to learn, and find out more about why they said “no”:

  • How did we fail to deliver or show value to the prospect?
  • How do people think about the problem we’re trying to solve?
  • Should we change our sales approach, and how we pitch our product?

Find out. Dig deeper into the “no,” and embrace it as a chance to learn. See if you can extract trends and patterns from your prospects’ objections, and iterate them into improving your sales process, your product, and your business.

When rejection happens, sales professionals advise we shake it off, not take it personally, and move onto the next person who may say “yes.”

The important thing is to try your pitch and never give up. As former professional ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

What is your rate of failure?

Measure your success in no’s. Don’t just look at how many deals you win—keep track of your sales rejections, too. Keep a scoreboard for your average rate of failure:

  • How many times a day do people say “no” to you?
  • How many deals do you lose?
  • How many email responses do you get, saying, “not interested”?

You actually want to have a high rate of failure, if it means you’re thinking big, expanding your sales outreach, and constantly testing new opportunities.

Find inspiration from being told “no.” It’s more than just a “glass is half full” frame of mind. It’s about maximizing upside from living in risk-taking and unpredictability. You don’t want to just survive rejection—you want to turn it into a strength.

Failure breeds success

The desire to succeed is natural. But if you work inside a system where you’re always succeeding and winning, you cripple your potential for maximum growth—the parameters for your success is small. You always win, but the cost of constant success is the breadth of that success.

Innovation depends on risk-taking, boldness, and challenge. It depends on the “no’s.”

The “no’s” provide you with the feedback and insight you need to improve—but more importantly, they motivate you to try harder. They push you to constantly test boundaries, and strive at new heights. You chase more opportunities just outside your grasp.

You fail more, but you also win bigger and better.

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