The Art of Turning “No” into “Yes”

02/07/2017 04:07 pm ET Updated Apr 03, 2017
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Rejection stings, but when it comes to business opportunities, a “no” isn’t always as absolute as it may seem. Regardless of the eloquence of your pitch, the brilliance of your idea, or the dedication in your delivery, you’re bound to hear resounding “nos” more than once in your life.

However, if you can learn to walk the line between inquisitive vs. pushy and helpful vs. overbearing, your chances of turning that “no” into a “yes” are far greater that you may have ever thought possible.

“No” Usually Means “Maybe”

It’s the rare individual who’s willing to give an immediate “yes” to a new idea. Because risk always feels more immediate than opportunity does, an average of only 2% of sales are successful on the first meeting. “No” is easier to say than “yes,” meaning that it’s not necessarily your idea that’s being rejected, but rather the potential gamble that comes with “something new.” It’s easier to continue on as we are than it is to trust in novelty. Typically, it takes four to five “nos” before someone feels comfortable enough with an idea to change his/her assessment. After rejection, it’s your job to remain positive and continue the dialogue, quell any fears, and give your prospects the space they need to reimagine the possibilities.

Question the “Why”

Every conversation, every sale, must be catered towards the person you’re approaching. Listen to your audience and aim with purpose. In order to turn around a “no,” you must first understand what exactly it is about your pitch that’s deterring your audience. Be friendly and inquisitive: ask the customer for clarity and don’t be afraid to directly ask, “what is it about this proposal that you find off-putting?” Your target is to re-direct the discussion by kindly offering more details, establishing trust, and opening the blinds in a way that appeals to your consumer.

If you’re told that your conveyance is the issue, be guarded against taking offense–it’s not personal–and choose to learn from the experience and rework your tune. Be prepared ahead of time, anticipate the most common obstacles, and know how to be flexible enough to handle each one.

Bring Reality to the Reward

The most common reason why you’ll hear “no” is that someone simply doesn’t think he/she needs what you are selling. Enthusiasm is contagious, and you need to believe in your own pitch. Explain how the product, service or opportunity has made a difference in your life or in the lives of others. Paint a colorful picture and demonstrate how the item is worth the price.

If you can’t work up this type of excitement or dedication, then you may need to reconsider what it is that you’re trying to sell. Your goal is to enforce the benefit and create a truly ardent desire for the opportunity, effectively bringing enough value to the product so that you erase other common objections, such as pricing.

Pressing Time

“No” is a common stalling response, and timing will always be an obstacle to your sales. Conditions may really not be ideal, but more likely your prospect will merely be looking to mull over the idea on his/her own clock. If you’ve done your research, you already have all the details your prospect needs, so it’s your goal to continue the exchange. If timing is the “why,” ask more questions and give the answers that will speed up your customer’s internal dialogue.

Finding New Footing

Whether you’re selling an idea, a product, or an opportunity, people will always be hesitant to take new steps. It’s your job to remain positive, listen, and rework your approach to show how the benefit is worth the monetary risk. When you hear a “no,” avoid internalizing the rejection or sounding like a broken record in your rebuttal. Discover new ways to adapt to the consumer and learn how to anticipate the “whys” before they ever arise. And remember, a “no” is not a slammed door; it’s simply a bump on the road to your sale. Stay vigilant and positive, and you may well be rewarded with a “yes.”

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