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Do You View ‘No’ As The Conversation Starter?
Blog / Prospecting / Jan 17, 2020 / Posted by Elinor Stutz / 6210

Do You View ‘No’ As The Conversation Starter?


New salespeople can quickly become frustrated with their chosen career path.  They don’t realize that ‘no’ is usually the conversation starter. However, a few simple questions can provide the underlying thought and the exact meaning behind ‘no.’  The response is not always exactly as you believe it to be.

For entertainment, ask senior salespeople to share their favorite stories of how they overcame no.  

Upon entering the sales profession, I was astonished to realize no one could make up the crazy stories that we hear. Some of the give and take between prospects and clients are mind-boggling! I soon learned that observation, listening, and asking questions are the essential differentiators for becoming successful.

No is the first step for getting to Yes!

No one knows upfront about how you can improve their situation. Time is a valuable commodity. It’s easiest for prospects to pass judgment.  Statements of ‘no need’ and ‘no interest’ are the common thread. Unless something unusual grabs the person’s attention, the opportunity fades away.

Thinking on our feet often saves the day and the sale. My favorite question was, ‘are you saying no for now, or I am never to darken your doorstep again?’  Often, bursts of laughter will ease the situation and encourage a return invitation.

Our job is to learn all of the reasons for the lack of interest. The more frequent answers include timing, budget, lack of need, or admission of the business being in decline. The salesperson’s job is to uncover the specifics.  Asking questions is the strategy that will direct us to a better path. Often, the timing is not right, or processes behind the scenes are to be in place before we can proceed.

If the issue is timing, ask the prospective client when they prefer to revisit the conversation. Indicate it will be helpful to know about their processes so that you gain understanding. When the time arrives to move forward, you will be in a better position to assist.

Should the issue be budget, stop for a moment to give the topic serious thought. The worst error is when salespeople leap on the ability to reduce the price. Often the price reduction isn’t the issue. Sadly, the salesperson loses out on a reasonable commission when it isn’t necessary.

Always remind yourself that ‘no’ is the conversation starter.  It is best to inquire whether the prospect’s funds can move from another department. Often the answer is yes.  The next step is to work out a timeline for following up.

Focus on the solution and sell value; not price

If you are one who takes the answer of ‘no’ at face value, it’s time to re-think your response.  Have you been losing business by accepting ‘no?’

Tell your prospects their feedback will be helpful.  Ask to know their reasoning to gain a better understanding.  Their response may prompt a new idea and open a new door of opportunity.  Your flexibility and updated insight will serve to build trust and credibility.  The meter is now moving from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’

The success rate of salespeople is never 100%, but it is far better than 0%! The answer of ‘no’ is the conversation starter.  Asking questions often leads to the Smooth Sale!

About Author

Elinor Stutz broke through barriers long before doing so was popular. First, she proved Women Can Sell. Smooth Sale was created to teach how to earn a returning and referring clientele. Stutz became an International Best-Selling Author, a Top 1% Influencer, and Sales Guru and Inspirational Speaker.

Author's Publications on Amazon

In today's tough economy, most people are too desperate to get any job, rather than seeking one that will provide the career satisfaction and growth they deserve. Worse, they treat the interview as an opportunity to focus on themselves.In Hired!, Elinor Stutz asserts, "The interview…
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Written by a highly successful saleswoman, Elinor Stutz, this how-to book trains women in field-tested sales techniques that will launch them into the next level of success. They will discover how to use their natural kindness, empathy, and relationship-building skills to close better deals with…
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