Sometimes a “no thanks” is an opportunity to build trust
In a consultative sales environment it is important to manage expectations and to understand that the sale will happen on your prospect’s terms and not when you want it to happen. This is true in pretty much any sales situation but it is essential in a long-term sales prospecting scenario.
No is the second best answer when you prospect new business.
Why is no thanks the second best answer?
Because it can help you build trust and it will assist you in opening a dialogue with the prospect where you can be of assistance and add value.
Let’s paint a scenario. You are selling a software that enables clients to streamline workflow. Your prospect responds to your outreach saying that they are not interested in a conversation right now because they already work with a trusted company. This is your opportunity to congratulate your prospect on the fact that they already work with a company that helps them in that area and it is an opportunity to ask for permission to reach out again. Should they agree (and in 90% of the cases they do), make it your goal for the next three to six months to arm your prospect with information about your company and your service offering. Don’t just call back, checking the pulse and trying to get another meeting. This is your chance to build a relationship and trust.
Seize the opportunity to educate your prospect
You can send your prospect relevant information on your company, such as case studies. Or, whenever you come across information that might be relevant to your prospect, such as media coverage on your company or news on developments relating to the prospect, make a phone call or send an email.
Add value in your communication and be personal. Weave in personal messages as long as they are relevant. If you know that your prospect is a football fan, you can reach out when their favorite team plays the Superbowl. Set up Google Alerts on the company and make references to developments. The most important thing is to be authentic and not “salesy”. As long as you come from a place of integrity and authenticity you will be successful in building a trusting relationship.
This doesn’t mean that you will win the contract when it is up for renewal, but it will certainly increase your chances to be considered. People like to work with people that they know and trust. But trust is something that needs to be built, it doesn’t happen overnight. Many sales people make the mistake of only communicating with their prospects when they feel that a sale could be made. From a prospect perspective it doesn’t feel genuine . When you show interest in your prospect during times where no sale can be made, that’s your chance to turn a No into a Maybe and eventually into a Yes (if there is a fit). During the times where you build your relationship you can also gain valuable insights on your prospect’s needs, such as their role within the organization, who they report to, what their budget is and so much more.
When does a No really mean No?
When you are not targeting the right person within the organization or there isn’t a fit. It is key for you to find out if the solution/product that you are offering is something the decision maker you are targeting is interested in and/or authorized to buy AND that the solution will add value. If there is no fit, it’s better to move on, gracefully.
The lesson to be learned is that a No doesn’t necessarily mean that your prospect will never buy from you. All it means that the timing wasn’t right or the circumstances didn’t align. The key is to target the right person within the organization and to understand their needs and objectives. Time will work in your favor as long as you are professional, mindful and consultative.
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