When someone tells you "no"...

Today we’re talking about something that makes every entrepreneur and sales person cringe. The dreaded “no” word. Despite your best efforts, the deal just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. 

And this doesn’t necessarily mean when a customer says “no”. This could mean pitching potential brands you want to work with, reaching out to media outlets for coverage, or trying to find partners in the community. It could also mean negotiating with business partners, delegating to employees, or working with vendors. See, didn’t I say you were constantly having to sell?

So, what should you do if you feel like a conversation isn’t going your way? Most people fall into one of two knee jerk reactions: get defensive or shut down all together.

But, here’s the deal, sometimes taking a few seconds to regroup, and approach the situation differently, can shift that “no” to a “yes”, or at least let you leave the conversation without that feeling of failure churning in your stomach.

  1. Listen to what they’re objecting to - When someone pushes back at what you’re saying, your first instinct can be to jump right in and explain your point of view further. But in reality, if you take a step back and truly give the other person room to flesh out their thought. This gives you time to fully understand their objection and where they may be coming from. Listening can be your most powerful tool. A lot of times, the initial issues they raise may just be them talking through things in their own head, or may just be a surface issue when their real objection is deeper underneath. Jumping into a response too quickly can make the other person feel like they can’t fully explain their thinking to you. If they can’t do that, then even if they seem to say “yes” when they leave your conversation, their true objections will still remain once you’re out of sight.

  2. Respond to the REAL objections - Once you’re satisfied you’ve truly dug down to what they’re really taking issue with, start addressing their concerns. Ask questions to clarify anything you’re still unsure about, and directly and honestly respond. Don’t fake it. Don’t come up with solutions you can’t stick to. Be honest about what you can and can not do to address their objections, and paint the picture of what it would look like working together. A lot of the times the fear comes from the unknown. Answering their questions and clearly laying out how everything would work can often satisfy their objections.

  3. Confirm you answered everything - Just because they stopped asking questions or pushing back, it doesn’t mean that they’re fully on board. Follow up with questions like, “Do you have any concerns around ___?”, “You seemed worried about ___. Do you still have questions around that?”, or “Are there any other obstacles stopping you from moving forward?”. It can be a great way to figure out if you’ve fully gotten to the root of the issue. It can also let the other person know you where truly listening to them, a trait everyone wants in someone who they’re working with.

So there you have it. Don’t immediately let a “ no” get you down. Stop, listen, respond and confirm - even if it doesn’t turn to a “yes” right away, it will help strengthen your relationships and move closer to the sale in the future.