Winning at sales is a lot like winning at Monopoly – an excellent board game for teaching us about how business (and life) works. To get your $200 in Monopoly money, you must pass ‘Go’. To confirm that sale, you must pass ‘No’.
Why is Sales like Monopoly? You must pass ‘No’.
Unfortunately, it’s often more challenging to pass ‘No’ in sales than it is to pass ‘Go’ in Monopoly. That’s because there’s only one thing that can possibly stop you from passing ‘Go’ when you’re waiting to begin your Monopoly game – rolling enough on the dice to either land on Go or pass over it.
Why is your customer saying ‘No’?
In sales, there are several reasons why your customer could be saying ‘No’.
Aside from our NZ tradition of not wanting to be rude by saying ‘No’, that means there are five potential reasons why your customer could be saying ‘No’.
If your customer is saying No, and if this is something you can’t find a solution for, you need to find out so that you can wisely spend your time with customers who are motivated and equipped to reach a purchasing decision now.
Here are a few thoughts on each of those five reasons for a ‘No’, with some sample questions to help you determine what’s behind your customer’s ‘No’.
One – No Need
Putting it simply, perhaps they just don’t need what you’re selling.
It might be the wrong colour, it might be the wrong size, it might not integrate with their existing software – whatever the case, the customer is completely happy as they are and simply doesn’t need what you’re selling.
The traditional salesperson is meant to be so good ‘they could sell ice to Eskimos’. With this generation’s emphasis on authenticity and transparency, you’d be unwise to try to flog something that your customer just doesn’t need. Unethical for a start, and sure to end up in a bad social media backlash.
Good questions to ask to establish your customer’s level of need:
- What problem/challenge are you trying to solve?
- What solutions are you currently using?
- If you’re currently using a solution, what’s made you want to discuss this today?
- What changes in your industry have prompted you to research this?
Two – No Money
With this objection, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. You can do all the free work you want, but even if you deliver a great taster and loads of value, a customer with no money is a pain for both sides. You need to find out what level of budget they’re looking to spend.
Good questions to establish if your customer has budget (money to spend):
- What’s your budget for this solution?
- What level of investment have you allocated for this solution?
- When do your annual budgets get allocated?
- How much of your annual budget do you have for this solution?
- When do you allocate the budgets for the next financial year?
In addition, you need to discover if the customer you’re talking with is the true decision-maker for budgets in this area. Sometimes people can enjoy dealing with you so much that they forget to tell you they’re not the actual decision-maker. So, you need to discover this without them losing face (note – if they’re embarrassed, they might not tell you who the real decision-maker is!).
And to discover the actual decision-maker:
- So (use their name), besides yourself, who else should I be talking to about this purchase?
Three – No Hurry
With no hurry or no deadline, any time is a good time for the customer to make their purchase. Which means it’s not very high up their priority list and might never happen.
As a salesperson, you need to prioritise your time where it’s most likely to generate cash in your business bank account. This means spending more time on those customers who are likely to buy now. If they want to purchase in three years as opposed to three weeks, you need to find this out before you waste too much of your precious time.
Good questions to check how quickly your customer wants to solve this problem:
- What’s your timeframe?
- When do you want the solution to be fully implemented?
- How soon do you want to get started?
- How quickly do you want to get this problem sorted?
Four – No Desire
This objection is often more of an emotional one. If you’re selling a product, the customer just simply doesn’t like it. If you’re selling a service, the customer probably just hasn’t clicked with you or your colleagues.
Let’s face it – anytime you’re going to part with budget, you want to be just a little excited about it. Your customer needs to feel like they want to go through with the sale, otherwise there is no sale.
Good questions to check if this is something your customer wants:
- So, what do you think?
- What do you like about this?
- What’s holding you back from reaching a decision?
- How do you see yourself working with this?
- How do you see this working for your organisation?
Five – No Trust
Especially for profession or tech services, trust is often the biggie. Service industries are selling something that’s invisible. So, you’re potentially at a slight disadvantage to product industries where the customer can see, smell, touch, taste and/or feel the product before buying. Building trust with your customer is essential.
This is where your company’s social media along with any customer testimonials/reviews/case studies can help to develop a base level of trust. If you can get a referral from an existing customer – even better!
People buy from people. Show your customer that you’re interested in them as a person. Ask questions that demonstrate a clear understanding of their need, and that you’ve carefully thought about this when pitching your solution.
Questions to establish levels of trust:
- I read about your company’s current processes in xxx publication. How’s that working for you?
- Tell me what you’d like to keep, and what you’d like to change, with your current solution?
- In two years when you look back at this decision, how do you want to feel?
- In two years when you look back at this decision, what do you want to have achieved in your business as a result?
There are so many reasons for No. Especially if your customer is extremely polite, they may have a hard time admitting that the answer is ‘No’.
What if you still have no idea?
Yes, sometimes sales can leave you a little stumped.
Let’s brainstorm to solve this sales challenge for you!