When does ‘No’ mean ‘No’?

I wouldn’t call it a white lie, but it’s certainly not the truth! We discover what ‘no’ really means

So when you hear “no” from the mouth of a customer, should you just pack up and move on to the next? Or perhaps the word ‘No’, really means something else. Let’s take a look at what ‘no’ could really mean…

Joining the dots of customers agreeing to a job can, at times, be complex. People must agree and products and services must fit the challenges that the customer is facing. When you finally get to the point of presenting a proposal and articulating your solution, it is not uncommon to hear ‘no’. The challenge to you as a sales professional (because that is what you are as a tradesman), is not to hear “no”, but to try and hear what the customer is actually saying.

Listen for the real reasons and what the client needs you to hear!

When a customer or prospect says no, he or she is really communicating a different message:

“I am not comfortable with your solution.”

This is the most common response and it says that you have more work to do. You need to commit more time to discovery, understanding what the customer needs and adjusting the solution you have provided to match more closely with the customer’s challenges. In this case, hearing no tells you that more work is needed and it is a roadmap of sorts.

“I am not ready to commit.” 

In this case hearing no means that the timing may be off for the customer and they are not ready to make a purchase despite how great your solution is. Again, spend time understanding timeframes and purchase parameters. This does not mean never, it means not right now.

“I don’t get it.” 

This one is tough, because it means that the customer does not understand what you have proposed. Your responsibility as a sales professional is be constantly checking for their understanding throughout the entire sales process so when you get to the point of presenting your proposal they are confident and open to what you are proposing! If you are not educating your customer as part of your sales process you will hear no and your sale will face an uphill battle.

“Too risky for us right now.”

This is a first cousin of “I don’t get it.” A few things could be happening here. The customer does actually understand what is being proposed. In fact, they may love the idea and really want to implement your solution. However, for a myriad of reasons, the timing is off. This is tough to deal with because you may never know the reason, but you need to commit to more discovery to find out. Do not give up here, ask more questions and keep probing. Your ability to develop a trusting relationship is very crucial. The customer will only share things with you if they trust you.

“Our Company is not ready.” 

Your solution may be viewed as too far reaching for a company that has not caught up with your technology or thinking. This one is less about discovery and more about the culture of the company and what they are willing to adopt. This point is always interesting because you can quite possibly turn a “no” into a ”yes” if you ask the right questions. You will then carefully create a dialog about the culture and not your product.

Next time you hear “no”, accept the challenge, relax, think carefully about what your customer or prospect may really be saying, and work with them to get the “no” to a “yes”.

“No” does not always mean “No”.

Inspired By; Tim Cohen, author and expert in Building Sales Culture

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.