Turning a 'No, Thank You' Into a 'Yes, Please'

We've all heard it before: You approach a potential client or customer with your best pitch for your incredible services/products and you get a resounding, "No thank you." You smile politely, scratching your head, replaying your approach and wondering what went wrong. What could you have done differently?

Do any of these sound familiar:

"I don't have the time"
"I don't have the money"
"It's not in the budget"
"The price seems rather high"
"I don't think I'm ready"
" I don't think it will work here"

You can walk away and accept no for an answer or you can turn the objection into a valuable conversation. Obviously, you'd like to hear a yes right out of the gate! But when you don't and you get a big, fat "No" -- more importantly, you should take a minute to ask the right questions and soak in the answers to earn a YES. Yes, that's right, I said "earn" a yes. Sometimes you have to work for it. When someone tells you NO, it's a great opportunity to learn precious information about them. When they tell you why they are saying no, sometimes you learn specific information about you. A "No" will also help you understand helpful information about your customer base and sometimes give you direct feedback about your approach.

So what is there to be learned from getting shot down? Here are 5 critical points to understand about that little objection, "NO":

1. Objections are a key point in all sales communications; they are part of the process. First of all, stop considering NO as a bad thing. You must change your mindset and embrace the opportunity to overcome the objection. Think of an objection as nothing more than a challenge to get to the bottom of the issue. Put your detective hat on and be sure to ask the right questions. If you welcome objections instead of hiding from them or giving up, it will mean the sales process will not come to a screeching halt. If anything, you should be more concerned about a client who has no concerns or objections because they may not be sharing them with you and can later spoil the sale.

2. How you handle a NO is the difference between a lost opportunity or securing a new client. You need to convince your prospect that working with you or buying your product is in their best interest. The most common objections are need, time and money. Take a moment to jot down and address these three concerns as they would relate to your business, services and/or product. Remember, you are trying to fill a need. Without making excuses or broad statements, how can you best convince your prospect that:

  • They really do need you -- focus on the value.
  • They do have the time for you or that you will be ultimately saving them time.
  • They not only can afford you, they can't afford NOT to partner with you.

Understanding these three objections is a great kick-off point -- and will help you identify and overcome further objections stemming from need, time and money.

3. Don't blow a sale, do your research. If you are going to cold call people or sell in a way where they feel you know nothing about them or their needs, they are going to say No. When the customer feels understood it builds their confidence in you. No one likes to feel sold to. Better to create a relationship, take the time to research how you can help them and fill a need so that when the time is right you can create value in your service/product. If you don't have the answers, ask the questions -- or ask them if you can follow up with them at a later time which will give you a chance to better understand their needs.

4. There's a fine line between selling and overselling. You need to find a good balance, be authentic and listen. When we are selling ourselves, services and products we tend to over-talk which is a turn-off to most people. The best quality a sales person can possess is the ability to listen. The prospect needs to feel heard and cared about; they can't feel heard if you control the entire conversation by talking about yourself or inflating your services.

5. Prepare to give specific reasons why they should hire or buy from you. Have relevant stories, examples and case studies of how you have helped people/companies in similar fields/situations. Be ready to and offer them references. Or you can mention how their competition is doing things successfully by using similar services/products.

The key to closing any sale is to position yourself as a trusted advisor. Remember that you are the expert. You are there to make their life easier and more profitable by extending your amazing services/products. Come to the table with confidence and the mindset that they need you just as much as you need them. And understand that not all clients are a good match. For those clients with objections you cannot overcome, know when to walk away and chalk them up to learning experiences. You'll be the wiser.