When did our reaction to “NO” change?
My son recently took up driving and honestly, it terrifies me. When he asks to use the car, and he hears the word “no” a lot and it is typically the beginning of a long debate about why he needs the car. You may remember responding the same way when you heard the word “no” at that age and thinking of a change in strategy until you figured out a way to get a “Yes.” Something happens to us between childhood and our first job. As an adult, when we hear the word “no,” and we cringe. We shy away and quickly give up to avoid confrontation.
You are going to hear “no” at some point and maybe often when doing business development. People, by nature, don’t handle conflict with ease, especially when it comes to selling. If you have already put yourself out there to try to find new business, when you get to the end of the process and the prospective client gives push back on the price or services, you may find yourself frustrated and start to back off. Usually, this is the time when the deals fall apart, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Stopping at the first objection or sign of pushback is a misdiagnosed communication cue. If you have made it through the majority of the sales process to get to a negotiation phase, your prospect is likely interested. You have both invested time in the process, so this is not the time to walk away when you hear some pushback. Objections are not scary; these are just a request for more information and an opportunity for you to continue to sell your services.
Think about a time that you made a big purchase. Did you decide to make a big purchase after the first sales pitch? Did you not need to ask any questions? I’m going to guess that your answers are no and no. Most big purchases require time and thought and clarification. Your client is deciding to make a change in their business which is no different. You are asking them to make a big decision, and anytime you make any change, you want to think through it and make sure you get all of your questions answered.
Now let’s use this thought process to when you are conducting your business development activities. Does it make sense that you would get to the end of the sales process, and prospective clients don’t have any questions or objections? No. They might need more information, or if they say no on price or services, you likely have not sold the value yet.
The word “no” should open the door to further conversations and questions that will help you close the business. When your prospective client gives you the most common pushback, price, it opens the door to ask if they do not actually have the budget or do they just not see the value? This question can make a significant impact on the direction of the conversation, and by asking questions, you will eventually find out what they need to know or do to move forward.
It is incredibly important to always ask questions when you find yourself in the negotiation phase. Typically, the first objection or “no” you get isn’t the true objection, but just a surface level objection. Remember, your prospective client probably dislikes having to tell you “no” as much as you dislike receiving the “no.” It’s up to you to dig deeper. Ask them to elaborate. Ask them what they expect or need. Ask as many questions as necessary to get to the real objection and find out what his holding them back and what they need to know to move forward.
Challenge yourself to rethink this part of your sales process and welcome all of the questions and objections you receive after a sales pitch. By doing this, you can open up the discussion to find out exactly what your prospective client needs and close more business!
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