Sales Skills: A Better Way To Handle “No”

Not long ago, I took a “no” from a client who should have said “yes”.

I didn’t react well.

sales skills: learn to handle no

photo by fresnel6/dpc

That weekend, I spent a lot of time stewing about the effort I’d put in, the difficulty of communicating with the decision-maker through a third party, and my firm belief that if he’d had the guts to try what I’d recommended, it would have been a profitable investment for him.

What snapped me out of my snit was an old (from 2008) post from Seth Godin called “Two Ways to Deal With No” . Godin lays out the choices this way:

You could contact the organization that turned you down and explain that they had made a terrible mistake, the wrong choice and a grave error…


You could be more gracious than if you’d won the work. You could send a thank you note for the time invested, you could sing the praises of the vendor chosen in your stead and you could congratulate the buyer, “based on the criteria you set out, it’s clear that you made exactly the right choice for your organization right now.”

The full post, which you can read in its entirety here, has much to ponder.

I’ll add a thought of my own — advice I’ve given many times when I’ve conducted sales training, and which I managed to forget during my bout of resentment:

[bctt tweet=”A no isn’t the customer’s fault. There’s always something you could’ve done differently.”]

Don’t blame the customer for not buying. It’s a losing strategy, and most of the time you’re wrong. In the course of the sales process, you have choices in how you present your ideas. There’s always a way you could have done it differently.

If the choices you made didn’t result in a sale, your mental energy is more profitably invested in thinking about what adjustments you’ll make in your presentation the next time you get a chance.

Godin’s second option will go a long way toward ensuring that the chance will come again.

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