Sales is a high rejection game, and hearing “no” often at every step of the Sales Process is just part of the field of play.
Hearing “no” could be the obstacle that convinces us to head back with our tail between our legs.
“No” is the obstacle that can motivate us to change our approach and advance Forward.
Hearing it is an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the merchant’s needs, and what can get the deal done:
What is motivating the no?
According to the TOPO’s 2016 B2B sales research study:
- 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes” and buy.
- 44% of sales reps give up after one “no.”
- 22% give up after two “nos.”
- 14% give up after three “nos.”
- 12% give up after four “nos.”
92% of all sales reps give up after four “nos.”
8% of sales reps ask for the sale a fifth time.
About 8% of sales reps in any sample size are getting about 80% of the sales.
So what do the 8% that keep going know that the other 92% don’t?
They know where the “nos” are coming from.
Almost half, 44%, will shutter at the first no and call it quits. But the game has just started at “no.”
Merchants have negotiated their way through their business existence up to the point of working with you. Dealmaking is the sport of the small business owner.
The seasoned merchant has already asked you for more than they expect can get.
The first no is adherence to another foundational principle of negotiation:
Never say yes the first offer.
Why is this effective?
Because, if you say yes to the first offer as a negotiator, it actually slows down closing the deal up at the end stages.
Wait, how could it slow down the deal if terms have been agreed to immediately?
According to R. Dawson, saying yes to the first offer automatically triggers two reactions in the other party:
I could have done better.
Something must be wrong.
Merchant goes to see a vendor about a piece of equipment priced at $50,000.
Merchant thinks to himself, “at $30,000 this would be a terrific buy at a nice discount.”
He presents his offer to the vendor of $30,000 (a 40% reduction!).
Vendor says to him, almost immediately, “alright, you’ve got yourself a deal.”
Merchant is first excited to have his offer accepted and get the piece at the nice price he initially wanted!
Then doubt creeps in.
“I wonder how much lower I could have gotten him to.”
“If it’s not worth the 50k he priced it at, it may not even be worth the 30k I just offered, what’s wrong with this thing?”
These lingering doubts can slow down or even blow up the deal when its time to sign.
The vendor did not say no, and did not counteroffer, and thus put himself at a disadvantage. In B2B, agreeing to the first offer, is so uncommon its almost insincere.
That first “no” arrow that just whizzed by you, maybe even scraped you a bit, is just sport.
How have you handled this first no to get to a yes?