follow up

3 Things to Do When You Get a No … And 4 Things to Do When You Get a Yes

You’ve been working on closing a sale, and you finally got an answer. It might be good news, or it might be bad news. Either way, an answer is hardly the end of the road. 

1b2bae201c438c7299fe3ed0cb46d5d1

.

Here are 3 things to do when you get a No:

.

Ask for Feedback

Don’t simply take a No at face value. Is the customer hiding some kind of objection that you can overcome? Ask questions about why they made the decision they made. Maybe you can rescue the sale. At the very least, you want to keep the lines of communication open for future opportunities.

Also, asking for feedback gives you a great chance to learn how you can do things differently. A customer might clue you in on some ways that you can grow and evolve as a seller. If you made some kind of mistake, you don’t want to keep making it. Listening to feedback can increase your closing ratio in the long run. Simply say, “Thanks for getting me this answer. Let me ask you a question. What kind of feedback can you give me about our product or solution and how I presented it to you?” I bet the answer will be very enlightening!

.

Keep Up Your Activity

Your experience researching and presenting to this customer is very valuable. Don’t waste it. Are there other prospects in the same business category that could benefit from the same idea? Are there aspects of the proposal that can be quickly and easily repurposed? Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. Without sounding too cut-throat, if you think the client has made a colossal mistake, is there any way to make them regret their decision by signing up one of their competitors? You won’t know if you don’t try.

.

Get a Drink and Get Back After It

Or take a walk. Or nap. You’ve invested a lot in your prospecting and proposal. It makes sense that you would be disappointed. You don’t have to pretend like it’s all OK. Find a safe friend or two to blow off steam to. Do whatever self-care is necessary so that one No doesn’t send you into a funk. You can’t control whether or not your customers say “Yes,” but you can control your activity.

.

A Yes is so much better than a no. But your work is not done. Here are 4 things to do when you get a Yes:

.

Confirm Expectations

During your proposal, you undoubtedly provided the client with some kind of timeline. Don’t expect that they’ll remember. When you get a Yes, immediately and clearly recap it for them. Send them an email with what the next steps are so that everyone is on the same page and your sale runs smoothly. Include how payment is going to be received, what deliverables are needed from both sides, and schedule a follow-up meeting to review how things are going. Successful salespeople don’t make one-and-done sales. They build long-term relationships with repeat customers.

.

Own the Execution

Once a sale is made, many salespeople hand off the execution to a support team. By and large, these folks do a great job. But they don’t own the relationship with the client; you do. If you’re going to have a happy customer, you’ve got to make sure that the sale goes as it should. Once the sale is done, don’t take your hands off the wheel until you’re confident that all will be delivered as promised. If something goes wrong, you want to be able to nip it in the bud or be able to speak intelligently to the client about what happened, if necessary.

.

Ask for a Referral

It’s never too soon to begin prospecting for your next sale. Say something like, “I am so glad we’re going to move forward with this. Let me ask you this – do you know of anyone else who might be interested in a similar solution? I’d love to use you as a referral.” Use their network to build momentum.

.

Get a Drink and Get Back After It

Or go out for dinner. Or let out a big scream in your car. For a salesperson, few things are better than getting a Yes. Celebrate it. Savor it. And then get right back out there and keep going. Getting a Yes will build your confidence, and people love to buy from a confident salesperson. That Yes is your opportunity to go on a winning streak!

.

bowtie profile.001Join the Bow Tie Sales Guy community on Facebook. Like our page here and submit questions which will be answered in an upcoming podcast.

Next week, we’ll be finishing up this writing project with articles about personal branding, psychology, and sales managers. .

.

Don’t Give Up Before You Get An Answer: Closing

Salespeople give up too soon.

I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it.

Get_Answers_ButtonMore than once, I’ve had a prospect tell me that right now wasn’t the best time for them. I’ve crossed them off my list and moved down the road, only to see a couple of months later that one of my colleagues or competitors was able to sell them on a similar idea. It’s frustrating. It’s disheartening. And … this is the hardest thing to admit … it’s probably my fault for giving up on them too soon.

We’ve got to remember that sales is a process, a process that often includes some times of limbo and some negative answers along the way. If we cut bait too soon, we’ll end up losing out on making the sales we’re after.

To help me to not miss out on these opportunities, I’ve learned in time to keep these four things in mind:

.

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow-Up

Follow-up is a critical aspect of the sales process. Decision-making doesn’t often happen instantaneously. Clients need time to think, to confer with other team members, and to just go through their own process. During that limbo time, other pressing things come up for the customer. It’s totally appropriate and even necessary for salespeople to periodically check back in on the status of the decision. Emails, phone calls, and drop-ins are all tools that salespeople need to use to stay at the front of a client’s mind.

During the sales process, you certainly should have asked about their decision-making process. You should have gotten some specific dates about when they would be meeting with their team and when you could reasonably hear back.  On that date, or the day after, you’ve got to make the big ask again. Call and say, “Yesterday was the day you were going to meet with your management team. How did it go? Are we ready to move forward with this idea?” There may be a new status update or there may be an answer. You won’t know unless you ask.

When a deadline or limited availability are in play, I’ll say something like, “I don’t want to be a nudge, but this is time sensitive (or, there is only one left), and so I wanted to reach out and see where we stand.”  Good clients don’t mind a persistent salesperson. So often, I’ve had client say to me, “Thank you for staying on top of me about this.”

.

Listen for Buying Questions

You can get a great indication of where a prospect is based on the questions they are asking you. Here are some examples of questions they might ask that indicate an answer is coming soon:

What’s the process for executing the plan once we have an answer?

What’s the start date or deadline?

How does payment work?

What do we need to do next?

Another thing to listen for is a change in possession. When they begin talking about the solution as “ours” instead of “yours,” you can be assured that a buying decision is on the horizon.

.

Recognize When a No Isn’t Really a No

Sometimes customers say no because they don’t have all the information they need to make a decision. Sometimes customers say no because they’re too busy to say yes. Sometimes customers say no because they aren’t yet convinced of the value of your solution or service. Sometimes customers say no because they don’t think to say, “Not at this time but I’d definitely be interested in a few months.” Sometimes customers say no because they are too scared to say yes.

Don’t take a no at face value. Ask a follow-up question. Ask why. Ask for some feedback about the process. Ask when would be a good time to discuss the idea again. If you take every no you get at face value, you’re going to miss out on some sales!

.

Recognize When an Excuse Is a No

People don’t like to say no. There is something about the psychology of it that just kind of bothers some people. Recently, a colleague was telling me about one her clients that was making dumb excuses. After a meeting where he told her that she had exceeded his expectations, he suddenly changed his tune, saying that she hadn’t given him what he asked for. When she followed up with him, all he could say was that he was kind of weird and hard to deal with. When she talked to me about it, I asked her, “Do you think he’s saying no but just doesn’t know how to really say it?” She thought for a moment and replied, “I bet you’re right.” If you’re getting a no that’s spelled differently than n-o, you need to recognize it as such, and take the appropriate action, be it overcoming objections or moving on.

.

Don’t give up until you get an answer. And even then, don’t give up. Here’s a great article from The Marketing Donut that suggests implementing a 5 No Strategy. Successful salespeople are resilient, even when they don’t get the answers they are after.

.

bowtie profile.001Join the Bow Tie Sales Guy community on Facebook. Like our page here and submit questions which will be answered in an upcoming podcast.

Come back tomorrow for an article 3 things to do when you get a “No” and 4 things to do when you get a “Yes.”

.

The Big Ask: Closing a Sale

A couple of years ago, I attended a sales training with a DJ-turned-motivational speaker. I can safely say that it wasn’t the best. One memorable thing that happened that day was having to put on a jumpsuit filled with balloons that made me look like the grapes from the Fruit of the Loom gang (and yes, pictures exist). The other was an impossibly long list of “closes” we could use with our prospects and clients. This list of 150 (seriously!) closing styles included such beauties as “the Puppy Dog Close” and “the Reverse Close.”

sold-sign-white-background (2)I’m not a big fan of gimmicks. I think that if you treat a customer with respect, listen well to their needs, and propose something that meets those needs, you’re not going to need to trick them into buying. I like a straightforward approach in which you put the “big ask” on them. Simply ask for the sale.

Some of the common phrases I use include these:

So, what do you think? Are you ready to move forward?

Is this something you’re going to want to do?

I think this is a great idea for you, and I’d love to get you signed up.

.

Asking for the sale can be a scary thing for a salesperson. It’s the moment when the tension in the room rises. I’ve known some salespeople who get too nervous to actually ask for the yes. It’s like they’re waiting for the fish to jump into the boat. But the reality is that successful salespeople must be willing to take a deep breath and ask for the client to make a decision.

.

Here are 4 things I try to do every time that I’m asking for someone’s business:

.

Advocate for a Solution

I wrote a few weeks ago about how important it is to connect the solution dots for your clients. When it comes time to close the deal, recap those solutions. “You said that you had this particular need. The roadmap that we’ve put together addresses those and gets you to where you need to go.” If I view myself as a consultant who is offering my clients the best customized solutions, I don’t have to ever worry about needing to use silly or sleazy salesman techniques. If I’ve offered them a meaningful solution, I can expect either a completed sale or a really good reason why now isn’t the time for them to go forward.

.

Manufacture Urgency

Customers don’t buy because they don’t have a sense of urgency. If they are putting you off, it’s likely because you haven’t connected the dots of how your offering is going to make an immediate difference for them. If you’re caught in the limbo of waiting for answer, figure out if you need to circle back to why this matters now.

I’m not a fan of lying to clients, and yet there are ways to manufacture urgency. For instance, put an expiration date on your offer. It will subtly suggest, all on its own, that the price may go up if they wait. Or, can you create some kind of limited availability? People don’t like to miss out on something.

Maybe the best way to manufacture urgency is to pitch your idea to several people at once. Know your closing ratio. If it takes four presentations to get one yes, make sure that you’ve pitched the idea to four good prospects. Then, when they are all in the decision-making process, you can honestly say, “There are three others considering this. If you’re interested, you’ll need to act first.” I’m also fond of saying, “I have nine colleagues who are all out pitching this idea right now. I think it’s great for you and want to get you signed up before someone else takes it.” But be honest. If you lie to manufacture urgency, in time, your clients will think of you as the salesperson who cried “wolf.” They’ll tune you out because they’ll learn that they can’t believe you.

.

Be Quiet

When you’ve made your case and made the big ask, especially if you’re sitting across a desk from the client, be quiet and let them think and speak. Don’t feel like you need to fill up the silence with talking. Don’t think that you need to mention a bunch more products and features. If it feels awkward or tense, that’s OK. It is tense for the client to make a big buying decision. The worst thing you can do is keep talking and inadvertently talk them out of the sale.  Be quiet. When they’re ready, they will either say “yes” or they will tell you why they’re hesitating. Listen carefully so that you can clearly understand their objections and overcome them.

.

Follow Up

Several months ago, I had a client tell me that he reached out to me and three of my competitors. I was the only one who responded. I wish I could say that this is uncommon, but studies have shown that a lot of salespeople simply don’t do normal follow-up. In fact, one study says that 80% of sales happen in the 5th-12th connection between a salesperson and a prospect. But, only 12% of salespeople contact their prospects more than 5 times. They simply give up too soon. Be the 12%.

.

bowtie profile.001Join the Bow Tie Sales Guy community on Facebook. Like our page here and submit questions which will be answered in an upcoming podcast.

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing a tech tip about email newsletters that will help you increase your closing ratio.

.

 

 Scroll to top