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My sales efforts keep getting knocked back with a barrage of “no’s”. What should I do?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 | By Marcia Griffin

This week’s Secret Soloist is answered by griffin+row founder Marcia Griffin.


“No” is such a small but potentially daunting word. I love to address this subject because I can speak from very practical experience, I think I had 20 no’s before I got a yes when I started Pola Cosmetics.


Now in my griffin+row business I have been selling to retailers who are as equally difficult to get a yes from.


I think the issue is that everyone wants to be associated with success, so with a start-up all but the adventurous and really open will say no.


So how do we keep upbeat in the face of no? I have a few keys that have and do keep me positive in sales situations – I hope they help you!


Here are 16 things to keep in mind when people say no:


1. Understand that most people are scared, they need convincing; they need to see your confidence.


2. Most people and businesses rightfully are only interested in what is in it for them, so make sure your proposition, whatever it is, is full of outstanding benefits for them.


3. Treat ‘no’ as a directional word on the way to getting a ‘yes’. When you get a no, find out why and use this information to improve your communication.


4. Thank people for valuable no’s as these words are like signposts pointing you in the right direction. It is up to you to get to the bottom of the no.


5. Most people will tell you why they are saying no. Listen carefully and correct. Sometimes the no is based on misunderstanding, sometimes it is based on not now. If this is the case find out when, if the no is really a no, not now, not ever – go and find another prospect!


6. I remember I approached a woman to do a Pola presentation and she said no, I am not interested in your product, I use Chanel. Some 14 years later she said to me that she had no idea what a great product Pola was.


7. Learn all you can about selling, read every book and blog, and learn from great salespeople. No is part of the language of sales.


8. Be really convinced about your service/product, if you have any doubts they will show.


9. Ask your customer questions and listen carefully to answers, make sure your pitch answers their issues. You can’t sell mousetraps in a mouse-free area.


10. Find a mentor to support you at the end of a long day of no’s. We all need help from outside, particularly in sales.


11. Stay fit and healthy, some days you may feel that is all you have to rely on.


12. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. Always show confidence when you get a no, but not in a cocky manner – keep cool.


13. Understand as a salesperson your role is to turn around the no – that is your main task.


14. Remember the stories about the no’s, write them down and you will look back as a successful business person with a lot of great stories to tell others.


15. Understand that not every day in sales will be full of joy – but then show me a job that is full of joy every day.


16. Stay firm and positive!