By John Riley
John Riley is MHI Global's Vice President for US Sales. A dynamic and performance-driven sales professional, he has a proven track record of elevating revenue and market share. John is a visionary thinker and recognized for consistently exceeding performance expectations and driving annual growth in national and regional sales organizations.
Clients often say “no” to your proposal for various reasons including competition, internal solution development, or a change in priorities pushing out their need for your products and services. Hearing a “no” often leads to feelings of rejection and failure. The average salesperson will turn and walk away from the client and focus on other opportunities. What separates the average from the world-class salesperson is how the world-class salesperson perceives the “no” as “not yet” and the follow up actions taken to continue to develop the client relationship for future opportunities.
Turn the feelings of rejection and failure into ACTION:
Ask the Client Why. Many customers are willing to share what went into their decision-making process. Be sincere in your desire to learn more about the client’s buying process, ask questions to identify any key internal stakeholders you may have missed, and ask what you can do in the future to better position yourself for a “yes.”
More importantly, be candid in your own personal assessment of your understanding of your client. Did you really uncover your potential client’s needs and why that need was important to him? Research has proved time and time again that it is still the salesperson’s mastery of the tried and true need satisfaction skills that distinguishes you from the competition and allows you to build credibility that earns the client’s trust.
Get 360° coaching…from your manager, from peers, from support personnel. Was it perhaps that you strayed from your company’s proven sales call structure that prevented you from winning this deal? Did you pitch products and tout your product’s features that were not relevant to the customer? Did you place your personal win of getting the business ahead of the client’s win of utilizing your proposal? Having a 360° evaluation of your sales approach to the client helps you identify the obstacles that stood in the way of closing the deal. Coaching sessions also allows you to brainstorm strategies to overcome similar hurdles in the future and can go a long way in developing world-class sales skills.
Build credibility moving forward. Stay connected with your client with messaging that is relevant to their industry, company, or role. Key messaging, when aligned to the client’s concern, build credibility and can lead to successful future endeavors.
Remember, the client said “not yet.” Hold yourself accountable for your performance and don’t give yourself permission to make any excuses. Take the recommended actions, build credibility, and turn “not yet” into yes!
Note: The concepts discussed here are based on MHI Global’s Professional Selling Skills program.