The Psychology of “NO”

business woman and male colleague listening to a sales pitch

For such a small word, it is amazing how much power the word “no” carries in our language. “No” can completely short circuit a conversation. “No” can stifle creativity and stop collaboration cold. “No” can harken back to all sorts of negative emotional experiences, even some we cannot consciously remember.

In improvisation classes, such as those taught by Second City, participants are taught to never use the word “no” since it interrupts and throws cold water on the improv/communication process. Rather, the students are asked to help each other build scenes and stories together by adding to, rather than blocking, the next round of give and take.

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Calming Down to Think (and Sell) Clearly

man sitting at his desk taking a deep breath to calm down

We can all learn a lot about communications during the current Covid/Economy/Civil unrest situations. Emotions are obviously running incredibly high and communication can be shrill, inconsistent and fearful. But of course, that only adds to the stress in a self-fulfilling cycle.

As salespeople, you can also encounter high-stress situations during the sales cycle, often near the closing when emotions may be highest. When emotions are running high, including your own when an important sale is on the line, it is often in your best interest to not take the emotional bait and to actually become the calming voice in the discourse.

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A Reminder to K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple stupid

When preparing for sales calls or presentations, salespeople often forget to K.I.S.S . . . Keep it Simple Stupid.

Salespeople, as a rule, talk too much. WAY too much. One study determined that on a typical sales call salespeople talk 78% of the time. That is not collaboration. That is domination . . . and buyers don’t like it.

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Turn a Price Objection Around

scale with value higher than price

One way to face off with a price objection when a prospect points to a competitor whom they say is offering a lower price, is to politely ask the client to define the value and benefits the competitor is offering at that price point.

This is a great way of moving off the numbers and getting the client to think about real, apples-to-apples value.

Let’s say, for example, that you are selling IT services and you ask the prospect to describe the competitor’s less expensive bundle of benefits. The prospect now needs to, in effect, sell you by recalling the competitor’s program, and when you spot an opening, you can say something like,

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The Importance of Collaborative Teamwork

sales meeting using video conferencing

While we are all more isolated than we would like to be these days, we need to keep jumping on the phone or video conferencing to solve problems and generate creativity with our colleagues. Here’s why.

In our workshops we always open up with a parlor game called Boggle. Boggle features a square jumble of letters we put up for everyone to see. Each person individually has five minutes to write down as many words that can be formed by connecting the letters in various ways . . . up, down, sideways, diagonal etc.

After five minutes we go around the room. The first person reads all the words that popped out to her – say ten – everybody crosses those words off their lists. Then, we go to the next person and ask if he can add any more – usually another seven to ten. Then, the third person adds another five or six and so on.

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Relationship Selling is Key, Even During a Crisis

businessmen sitting in front of a computer

There is a mirror image, a flipside if you will, to the challenges the current economy brings to you as salespeople.

That is, it is the best time in years to take customers away from your competitors and here is why.

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Stress = Opportunity

Coronavirus! Stock market dive! The world is ending!

girl sitting at laptop working on business objectives

Not really, but as the stress levels go up people do begin to behave differently, and that can be good news for salespeople.

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No Pain No Gain

There is a ton of research that shows that people fear pain more than they enjoy reward. Put another way, they will work harder to avoid potential loss than they will to achieve potential gain.

Fear over reward sign

So how can we use this information to improve our performance as salespeople?

A couple of things come to mind.

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Waste Time . . . Watch Your Hopes and Dreams Disappear!

I do a lot of individual sales coaching. Every client is different and has different goals and needs, but the number one challenge I run into almost every time is time management.

businessman sitting in front of computer writing in a notebook

A salesperson starts out the week with a plan, but it quickly deteriorates into a mish mash of new business development, old business follow ups, administration, and . . . let’s be honest . . . screwing around with all sorts of distractions that come up.

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Handling Procrastinators

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about one of our “favorite” prospects as salespeople: The Procrastinator.

You know who I mean. The prospect who never says no but never says yes, chewing up huge chunks of time in the process.

person holding a pen, waiting to take action
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My All Time Favorite Tip

People often ask me, of all the different tips and advice I have written and spoken about over the years, do I have a favorite that stands out above all the others? 

Of course, communication and selling through relationships are complex topics and a lot of things need to come together for success therein, but I do have an answer that, if we do this over and over through the course of our selling and personal lifetimes, will generate an astonishing bank account of goodwill and benefits.

smiling business professionals having a positive encounter.

Each time you encounter someone, when you finish the encounter, step back and ask yourself the following question:

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Happy Holidays & Happy Selling

We are going to take the rest of December to refresh. But first, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank each of you for your support of our mission . . . providing insight and information to the most dynamic and interesting set of people in the business world . . . salespeople.

I make this next statement with complete conviction and sincerity.

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