For those of us involved with sales and service delivery, we usually want to get our prospects to yes.
Yes means a contract.
Yes means revenue.
Yes means agreeing to take action on a recommendation.
Yes validates our product, our service and—us!
However, getting a yes from some also means getting a no from others. While it may not feel as good as a yes, why is it just as good to hear no?
No has as much clarity as yes.
No has commitment.
No means you’ve taken a client as far as he’s ready to progress.
No gives a choice for both parties to do something else.
No frees up time and energy.
When I worked at HP, we talked about the importance of “fast fail” principle in programming: It’s better to get to failure (no) quickly so you can fix the bug!
Unlike coding, recovering in daily life from some “fast fail” nos may take time. A few things you might try are
- Learn from the no by asking yourself what you could’ve been doing differently. For example,
- Did I push too hard/not heard enough in the process?
- Is this person my ideal client? (Someone I love to work with who energizes me).
- Do something life-giving like a walk outdoors in nature.
- Line up rejuvenating activities or people.
- Quickly go on to your next project!
In conversations with financial advisors and business owners, what causes the most consternation is stories of client conversations that stall out with a maybe:
- I’ll act on your recommendation (maybe)
- I’ll consider your offer—later.
- I know you’re right but….
We become so uncomfortable with their discomfort, we don’t know what do. And, unfortunately, that person’s indecision or confusion is contagious and can become our indecision and confusion.
What’s behind that maybe?
Maybe means I don’t want to feel bad/hurt your feelings.
Maybe means I don’t want to look bad/make a wrong choice.
Maybe means I’m hiding behind confusion.
Maybes become like those leaky faucets that end up ballooning your water bill.
Maybes are time wasters for both parties—in more ways than you might suspect.
Check back next week to see if it’s gold or fools’ gold hidden in the maybes.
Want to get to no quicker? Here are four things you might try to speed the process to get to a no (or a yes).
1. Be clear on your ask: is your prospect crystal clear on what you’re asking for?
2. Set a firm deadline for a date by which you want a yes/no.
3. Agree to a follow a post-proposal process with deadlines. Make the deadlines sooner (2 days) than later (2 weeks). Do what you say you’ll do.
4. Provide an out: if you sense a silent no, give the person a gracious “out.”