People have been programmed from infancy to dread the word “No”.  

I’ve never met a salesperson that didn’t quiver and shake at the sound of the word “No”.  I’ve known salespeople who have quit their profession over the persistent exclamation “No”.  The most painful of all two-letter words, (there are one hundred and twelve; btw), none rival “No” for its absolute fear factor.  I can’t think a profession so rampant with the word “No”, as sales.  Most people never recover from being traumatized by the word as children.  My own children knew the meaning of and could speak the word “No” early in their childhood.   

In sales, there are two words that should be equally welcomed by salespeople; the forever sought after “Yes” and the universally loathed “No”.  For some reason salespeople seem to be comfortable with “Maybe”, the biggest deception in the entire English language.  The common interpretation suggests that it isn’t “No” so it must be all right.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Maybe, just hangs out there in limbo.  You can’t do anything with a maybe, it has no resolution.  You assume there will be something forthcoming, but nothing ever materializes and you are left paralyzed waiting for a decision.

“No”, on the other hand can be resolved, a critical point that most salespeople overlook.  They hear the word “No” and everything seems to shut down.  “It’s over, final, no opportunity here, they hate me, I’m a failure, and why did I ever get into sales in the first place?”  “No” has many meanings, most of which salespeople never consider once they hear that dreaded word.  Some of the meanings of “No” are:  I’m busy, I don’t think I need your product, I’ve talked to enough salespeople today, I have concerns, It’s not the right time, I don’t know or trust you, I’m not willing to take the time to learn the value of your product, I had a fight with my spouse, things aren’t going my way right now, I’ve never heard of your company, I’m just on my way out the door, I’m not the decision maker, and dozens more.  The majority of the time, “No” doesn’t mean I’m not going to buy from you.  In fact, “No” means I’m not going to buy from you only 16% of the time.

Do you realize 84% of people say “No” before they eventually say “Yes” in a sales situation?  Think of all the sales you have lost by turning on your heels at the sound of the word “No”.  Salespeople are so focused on listening for a “Yes” that they totally discount the value of the “No” response.  They silently cheer with a “Yes” and welcome a “Maybe” because it isn’t a “No”.  And yet, the vast majority of all people who buy say “No” before they say “Yes”.  Here is the lesson every salesperson should take to heart.  Even those salespeople who have left the profession for fear of the terrifying word “No”.  The word “No” is a conditioned response, one that flows easily from the lips, requiring very little time or thought.  It’s easy, lazy, and for generations has thwarted off the persistent hoards of salespeople.  However, the few salespeople who know the secret power of “No” make the majority of all the sales.

Every “No” deserves an explanation and if you will ask at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way, you will be given an explanation.  You need to politely ask if there would be a better time.  If time is not the issue you might ask if there is a specific reason for the “No” response.  Ask if the “No” response is to everything, or to just a part of what you said.  You might suggest it is your fault for not clearly explaining the product.  You could also suggest that if you better understood their specific situation you could better present your product as a solution, maybe even one they hadn’t considered.  Keep the dialogue flowing and provoke their interest.  Discover their concerns and objections and then seek to resolve them.  Some concerns can’t be resolved quickly, so suggest you will respond within the next day or so.  People don’t buy if they have concerns or objections, and they believe whatever objections they may have can’t be resolved.  Your persistence to discover and show the prospect a resolution to their concerns will turn “No” responses into a “Yes”.  A “No” can be just as positive as a “Yes” if you will spend the time to resolve the buyers concerns.  Remember this fact and never forget that 84% OF ALL PEOPLE WHO BUY A PRODUCT OR SERVICE SAY “NO” BEFORE THEY EVENTUALLY SAY “YES”.