“Don’t accept no for an answer” is a great saying often chanted on the road to success, but of course it should not be taken literally and applied whenever possible, including with your clientele. And, there are techniques that help you get a “yes” in situations where the client says “no” because a large percentage of them successfully lead to cooperation.
Besides, rejection doesn’t always mean no.
The answers business owners get like “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know” or “I’m not ready to give you an answer at the moment” are common because it’s easier and saves your clients time, not because they really thought about your offer.
So your first step is to determine if the “no” is final.
The 3 most common reasons for a client to decline
After potential customers say “no” a number of people are looking for an immediate exit. Others take the negative answer personally and want to undo it at all costs. We want to draw attention to a third, completely different approach.
There are several ways for a client to say “no” without giving a solid reason. These are also the most common objections that can be heard in the sales cycle.
- You are too expensive.
- My business is too specific, I’m not sure you have what I’m looking for.
- I’m not sure how much your service/product will improve my business.
Although it is difficult to face rejection, it does not mean that all chances to do business with such a potential client have failed. Here are some suggestions on how to turn these complaints into a positive business outcome.
An initial “no” does not mean the end of your sales efforts.
In this situation, it is best to agree with the potential client’s complaint at the beginning.
When you admit a client’s objection, you show him a few things: you are listening to them carefully, sympathizing with their problem and understanding why they hesitate to say “yes”.
Be more curious than persistent
Listen carefully to discover any questions and concerns that prevent your potential client from saying yes. If they’ve listened to your presentation, give them a chance to express themselves about it. Especially if they believe that you are listening to them sincerely, you will learn more about what prevents them from taking immediate action and engaging with you.
Repeat their questions again before answering because this will allow the client to hear their own words. In some cases, when potential clients hear what calms them down, they can answer your questions more accurately.
Keep in mind that any topic you discuss during this part of the sales process can lead you to a potential “yes”.
You lose your chance right at the beginning
Although this may sound unlikely, hear us out.
The author of one of the most widely read business books at the moment, the “Win Without Pitching Manifesto”, by Blair Enns, talks about his ups and downs as a consultant in the creative industry. What’s interesting in the book, is that Blair is introducing the idea of seemingly losing your opportunity to strike a deal with the client for the first time, and encourages you to think of it as another way to get business done.
Let’s say a client tells you that you’re too expensive or that he’s not sure you can give them exactly what they need. Try to show that you understand at first and then discuss what doesn’t suit the prospect of your offer. Think about how your creative work can have an impact and help your potential client improve their business.
It is a more advanced concept that completely shifts the dynamics of conversations from the sale of your services and puts the emphasis on actively listening to the client and looking for the best possible solution to their problem.
Accept the initial “no” as a challenge and take steps to re-establish the agreement to get the sales process back on track.
Further establishing communication
Once you have heard the initial “no” it is up to you to continue to build the business relationship. Use short statements to let the potential client know that it is okay for him or her not to say yes right away.
This way you will gain time to get the deal back on track and move on to the next step of analyzing the customer’s needs and determining what you could deliver for their business.
Staying professional after a client says “no” is important for establishing a good business relationship. Tension in conversation or allowing facial expressions to reflect disappointment and impatience can only reduce the chances of sealing the deal.
What’s certain is that the dynamics of your interaction with potential customers change after the initial “no”.
Three generic reasons for a “no”-response
Wrong information. You haven’t explained the person across the street well enough, why hiring you is a good idea. A response like “I’m sorry I didn’t explain that well. I’ll go over that part again and try to make things clearer.” can be very useful in this situation.
Wrong moment. If the client is unable to make an immediate decision and needs some time to think, focus on making a commitment to meet again and discuss the issue when the time is right.
Wrong circumstance. When there is something over which the client has no control and which blocks him from saying “yes”, try a creative approach to help reduce tension and solve the challenge.