What 'No' Really Means
I read this brilliant post on LinkedIn: "Hear 'No'? Hear This Instead" written by a self-described “Better than average sales dude” named Bill Gillespie. I immediately messaged him and asked permission to share it via this blog space. Thankfully, he agreed and now you can ready what a customer “No” really means.
Hear No? Hear This Instead
by Bill Gillespie via LinkedIn
In 1979 I made a cold call on an Atlanta advertising agency. A seasoned production manager was good enough to see me. I had been in the business for a few years but selling for less than six months. I was just getting started.
I did what any rookie might do. I started talking about presses and folders. I also showed samples I was proud of. I announced, like so many others, that we were a "high quality printer with really good service."
The prospect grinned. He stopped me and said, "Bill, I'm sure all of that is true. I've certainly heard of your company. But I have a printer. I work with them, daily. They take great care of me and I'm not interested in changing." Then he told me who they were.
I was frustrated. I had heard this speech before. Before I knew it I heard myself say, "I hear this everywhere I go. Tell me about them. They must be awesome."
He was happy to do so. For the next several minutes he shared what made them great. He talked about the rep too. He explained that he met him on a cold call like the one I was making years earlier. They had grown to be friends and trusted "printing partners."
As the conversation continued, I could sense the guy was warming to me. I wasn't arguing. I wasn't trying to suggest we were better. I wasn't criticizing his supplier choice. He liked me well enough...he just had a printer.
We wrapped up our meeting and I left. It was friendly but a failure. It was a no!
A few days later he called me. He had a tiny bone to throw my way. He decided that there was, once in a while, room for a second printer.
I threw myself at that opportunity. The bone became another...then another and finally a routine. Before I knew it, we were working together weekly.
Eventually, his favorite printer was purchased. His rep retired and I was the man! I printed for him every day for a great many years. My reputation grew as he shared my name with peers.
I share this because no doesn't mean no in sales. It means not now or not yet. It means you haven't provided a reason to change. Unfortunately, this is where most reps stop trying.
I learned a valuable lesson on this call. Listening is selling. Talking is preaching if you haven't been listening. It's the most critical balance you have to manage.
This guy liked the system he had set up. He felt good about his work and vendor selection. He was proud of his decision.
I didn't debate it with him. I validated his thinking. In the process of doing so, I sold myself to a dude with lots of work to print.
Every sales challenge you’re facing has been solved by someone else. Find ideas, inspiration, and continuous sales growth through The Sales Vault community. For more information, go to SalesVault.pro. I can be reached at 781-934-7036 or email@example.com.
Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.