What Happens After the Prospect Says No?

A master salesperson knows that four out of five times the nitty-gritty of the sales process begins after the prospect says no; yet too many salespeople pathetically accept that initial no and surrender without a fight (that’s “fight” figuratively speaking; you don’t want to win a battle and lose the war).  Why?  Are they afraid of the prospect?  Are they worried they’ll offend his sensibilities, wear out their welcome?  Alas, yes, yes, and yes.  Truthfully, the one out of four occasions when a prospect immediately bought after my standard close, it caught me off guard; it just seemed too easy and usually I was somewhat taken aback.

When a prospect says no, it’s time to go to work, not pack up and leave.  If he’s given you an objection, you already have something to sink your teeth into; if he hasn’t given you an objection, you must ferret it out by asking a question: “I’m sure you’re saying that for a good reason, Joe; may I ask what that reason is?”  You’ve put him on the spot now: if he doesn’t want to be rude to you, he has to tell you why he’s not buying.  He’s going to give you his objection for turning you down, and once he gives you that objection, you have something to rebut—“The game is afoot,” Sherlock Holmes would say.  A master salesperson has heard every objection imaginable and, without exception, has a rebuttal for each one.  (You do, don’t you?  If not, it’s time to go to school, isn’t it?)  As I said in a previous blog, “Objections to a confident, poised, calm, fearless salesperson are keys to the treasure chest—an asset, not a liability.”  When you hear a familiar objection you should jump for joy; and after a while, they’ll all be familiar.

Let’s rebut a common vague objection you’ve all heard—I can’t afford it; our salesperson sells windows and siding.  Adapt the rebuttal to fit your business.

The prospect says, “I can’t afford it.”  He needs replacement windows throughout the entire house, but probably is loath to spend the money.

“Why do you think so, Joe?”  ‘I can’t afford it’ is ambiguous; we need to know specifically what he means by that, or if it’s his true objection.  Often a prospect won’t divulge the real reason he’s hesitant.

“Well, lately things have been pretty tight; I’m watching every penny.”

He’s sticking to affordability, but let’s make sure it’s his true objection.  “In addition to that, Joe, isn’t there something else in the back of your mind, another reason you’re hesitant, something you haven’t mentioned?”  I learned this explorative query from Frank Bettger, author of How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.  It’s a powerful tool to uncover a hidden objection; I used it ubiquitously.

“No, I really like the windows; I just don’t want to overextend myself financially.”

Time to rebut, but first let’s use an objection-limiting close to seal off any other avenues of—you should pardon the expression—escape.  You don’t want him coming back with more objections if you can help it.  “If money wasn’t an issue, Joe, would we have an agreement?”

“Definitely.”; he’s committed to buy if we overcome the objection.

“I can understand your concern, but there’ll never be a better time to replace those old, dilapidated windows, Joe; you know prices are just gonna keep climbing higher and higher.  You’ll be way ahead of the game if you bite the bullet now instead of spending a fortune down the road, and think of all the money you’ll save in energy costs.  Besides, is any price too high for making your castle so much more beautiful?  It’s sort of like a MasterCard® commercial, isn’t it?—‘priceless’!  You’ll be glad you spent the money now, Joe.”  (Shut up and wait for him to respond.)

We could drag the sale out, but because of space constraints I’ll stop here.

Remember, when the prospect says no, you ignore it and start digging; otherwise you’ll miss four out of five sales, and you didn’t become a professional salesperson to do that, did you?  I didn’t think so.