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No Doesn’t Always Mean No – by Tom Hopkins


Awhile back, I heard about a super salesperson who was extraordinarily successful prospecting by telephone. She seemed to have a real knack for it, even though she was fresh out of college – having no previous sales experience.

The company’s other salespeople had targeted a list of high-profile potential clients and had been calling repeatedly month after month without success. This young woman was given an opportunity to work through the same list.

Almost immediately, the young woman began to get confirmations for the salespeople to make presentations to the real ‘powers that be’ at each company. It seemed the woman had an uncanny ability to get through a company’s bureaucratic layers and into the decision maker’s offices.

When asked about the key to her success, her employer said, “She just doesn’t hear the word ‘no.’ When one method doesn’t work, she simply tries another approach.”

This woman’s example offers a good lesson: No doesn’t always mean no. In fact, it often means something entirely different.

As you meet more and more potential future clients and as you improve your skills, you should find yourself not hearing ‘no’ when they say ‘no.’ You should no longer timidly back out of the door or end the call, apologizing all the way for interrupting your prospect’s busy day with your unworthy intrusion. You should respond with courage and conviction, press on, and try another tack. Extol the benefits of your product or service that the prospect so richly deserves. Capture their attention. Find the hot button that makes them give you a second look.

You need to understand what is really being said between those two little letters that have you so intimidated – N and O.

* No may mean “Slow down, you’re going too fast for me to absorb all of this wonderful and fascinating information. Take it easy. I want to get all of this.”

* Or, “Wait, go over that part again. I’m really interested, but I’m a detail sort of person.”

* Or, “That’s all well and good, but what’s in it for me? You really haven’t shown me anything about the features and benefits that I am most concerned with.”

* Or, “You’re doing all right, but you are really not keying in on my personal likes and dislikes.”

* Or, “I need to hear more about the value of this investment.”

Of course, there will be occasions where ‘no’ really does mean ‘no,’ but those times are actually very rare – especially if you’ve done your homework on the potential client before making the first call. Tucked in there between N and O is a wealth of hidden potential.

Remember, nothing of tremendous value comes easily. It’s your job to don the miner’s hat and do a little excavating. Focus on the end result of having another happily satisfied client, rather than on the dust and rock you encounter along the way.

As you progress and enhance your skills, you will begin to develop your ability to read between the lines…or should I say, between the letters.

* From the book, Sales Prospecting for Dummies by Tom Hopkins.
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