"Getting to Yes" was a bestselling sales book because as sales people, we look for the green lights, head nods, agreement. Yes is music to our ears and the word we find ourselves saying to questions about our ability to deliver.
"Getting to no" would be an important sequel because sometimes we should seek out the negative from our prospects, table it first and let them know it's okay. There are also times when we need to say no to a prospective client which can mean we miss out on that sale.
Now, some people reading this may think I've lost my marbles. They may think that sales means a focus on the positives, the benefits and the dream. I don't necessarily disagree but I will say not always.
Like I've said before, when you show up for a sales meeting with an abundant mindset, you're able to look for a mutual fit rather than business at any price (to you that is). You're able to table objections first and only go ahead when there is a genuine fit.
Yes, it takes confidence and belief. But then, we are talking about sales professionals here, right? If you're living in the land of desperation, discount and over promising just to get a sale across the line, then you're yet to turn pro.
Seeking the negative doesn't mean being negative. It does require you to be informed, market savvy and to see the world through the eyes of your prospective client. It requires you to consider what fears prospects have, identify their frustrations and then and only then how your solution helps them address those. It means being okay with saying no when it's not going to be a valuable exchange because you know there is another client out there for whom the fit will be excellent.
To me there 2 big signals that tell you when no is the best thing you can say for both you and for the prospective client:
1. Mismatch between what is possible and what they say they want
This is the client who is uneducated about your service offer and as such, knows what they are after but hasn't any factual, experiential or realistic understanding of the time or resources required in order to deliver that to them. Those clients who are okay once they understand what's involved and want to go ahead are worth saying yes to. If a client wants what they want but doesn't value what's required in order to achieve that, you must say no. Saying yes in this situation will wind you up in lots of hot water when you simply can't deliver, or you deliver at the cost of your own business. Time to walk away.
2. Your values don't align
Not what they've got on their website (sorry but so many people say they value integrity, honesty, exceptional service), but the way they behave.
Observe and find out how your prospective client treats their staff, their own clients, their suppliers. If it matches the way you treat yours, you're aligned and the working relationship is more than likely to be harmonious.
3. Own the sales process including smoking out objections. Know how to skillfully table objections as you take your prospect on the buying journey so they feel they're in the hands of a caring professional who "gets them". Avoiding the negative doesn't mean it's not there it's just unspoken. And when it's unspoken, there's nothing you can do to address it. That's when you get a prospect giving you unlikely reasons for not going ahead at the 23rd hour when you thought it was a "done deal", or for cancelling a contract early into the project with buyer remorse.
Be comfortable in the negative and you cancel it out. Be skilled, be courageous and see the world through your customers' eyes.
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