B2bsales's Blog
"We help people stop selling."

The take away. Does it work?

As salespeople or business development specialists, we’ve often been taught things like “never take ‘no’ for an answer” or “ask enough questions to get the prospect to keep saying ‘yes,’ then ask for the order.” This is not only classic selling; it is trickery, which is ridiculous and has no place in business development today. “Success” is often built on a reflexive habit of saying, “yes” to opportunities that come our way. We’re hungry for any chance to prove ourselves, and when we’re presented with one, we take it, even – or especially – if it seems daunting. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Learning to Say ‘No’ is Part of Success,” Ed Batista says: “A critical step is training ourselves to resist the initial reflexive response; I often describe this to clients and students as ‘becoming more comfortable with discomfort.’ “We get so uncomfortable with the idea of being rejected, which is often interpreted by hearing the word “no,” that we fill in with quickly explaining how we can help the company become successful by sharing what used to be called features and benefits, selling and giving a list of the things we can help them with and how. Slow down the pace in the interaction to make sure you’re making the right choices. We often work long and hard to get an opportunity with a potential prospect, only to ruin the opportunity by talking too much and too fast. Today it is about truly being a consultant when selling. If you are rushing though a script or trying to ask questions that lead prospects into a corner, this is not consultative selling. The faster you go, the more stalls you will get – not sales. Let the prospect know you will have a few questions for them, if that’s OK, and by the end of this conversation, you may learn that there is no fit between you – which is OK, since what you do isn’t for everyone. If you let the person know that a “no” is alright, a few good things happen: The pressure that the prospect feels with a salesperson is off, so they are more likely to open up and share with you. Trust is beginning to be established. Without it, no sale will happen. The conversation is now a true conversation, not a pitch. Be honest about your recommendations after learning about their needs, even if it’s that it just isn’t a fit for your product or service. Sounds crazy, right? Actually, if you work from the place of helping everyone you meet with, you will not only build strong alliances and sell more effectively, but you will also gain respect and a whole lot more referrals. Success is a long-term goal that takes planning and doing things right. It is not a quick-fix, “sell, sell, sell” environment. We need to get out of the mentality of the liquid diet society we have created and put together a long-term plan for success. Isn’t that what successful people keep telling us?

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