The Power of “No” in Selling

When I started as a B2B sales trainee in 1977, one of the senior representatives, Lance, shared with me his favorite sales technique. We were selling expensive professional desktop calculators. 

Lance would sell the $479 calculator by telling folks that this was what they needed but that they could only afford the $349 model. They wanted the $479 unit. Apparently, they would go back and forth following this track until Lance would finally relent and “allow them to buy” the more expensive model.

Now, I never tried this, the whole idea seemed lame, and Lance, quite frankly, wasn’t that great of a salesperson. However, there is power in the word “No” and for a variety of reasons. Above all … sometimes “No” is just the right and honest answer.

Think about your own experiences with salespeople who say “Yes” to every question that you ask. I can’t speak for you, but my radar goes up along with the hair on the back of my neck. There is no perfect product or service and, when somebody tells me “No”, their credibility rises. 

It’s the same thing as when I ask a question and I get back … “Yes, I think so”. What the hell does that mean?? How about a … “I’m not sure about that. Let me do some research and get back to you with the right answer”. 

Not only does this make you human, it also gives you a valid reason to be back in front of this customer while demonstrating that you can follow up. Bonus points. Two. I welcome, I crave, the opportunity to do both!

Back to “No”. I represent a CRM, Nimble, and while it is the right choice for a lot of folks, it is not right for every business. I am brutally honest about what it will and will not do as well as discussing why you may and may not want to do what you think that you want to do. Sometimes a need is more of a “would be nice, but not a necessity”.

I will go out of my way to share with folks reasons to not choose Nimble and make any suggestions that I can on possible alternate solutions for their needs. I also set realistic expectations regarding my capabilities. For example, I am not your I.T. Department. I don’t do tech or messy integrations. I do applications.

Here’s another thing. I never close. I never ask for the order. I advise and I educate. I’ve always preached that the close is overrated and that the order is the natural culmination to a deal done right. By the way, I’m right about this.

Guess what? I end up doing business with a substantial percentage of these people and we both enter the relationship with a proper expectation of the end results, even with folks who I have tried my best to talk out of choosing Nimble. The others? Not a good fit for either of us and that’s o.k.. I only want to work with people who I can help.

I guess that Lance was right all along. If you would like to learn more about Nimble, or just chat a bit about selling … please schedule a free 30-minute Zoom consultation with me.

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson is a lifelong B2B salesperson, manager, owner, and a networking enthusiast. Adaptive Business Services provides solutions related to the sales professional including Boise’s best B2B leads group, NetWorks! Boise Valley. We are a Nimble SCRM Solution Partner and a Value Added Associate for TTI Performance Systems. Craig also conducts training and workshops primarily in social selling and communication skills. Craig is also the author of “The Small Business’ Guide to Social CRM”, now available on Amazon!

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson

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