What’s worse than hearing “NO” from a prospect?
By John Counsel,
CEO and Marketing Doctor
at The Profit Clinic
Most direct sellers believe that “no” is the worst possible answer to hear from a prospect. But there’s another answer that leaves “no” in the shade when it comes to wasting time, energy, money, resources, hope, your faith in yourself and, if it keeps on happening, your faith in direct selling!
Why on earth would a prospect say “yes” when they really mean “no”? It doesn’t make any kind of sense. Or does it?
I can think of two types of prospect who might say it to you:
1. Friends and family — your “warm market”
Why would these people say “yes-meaning-no” to you?
Because they don’t want to say “no” and offend you, or get into any kind of confrontation that could damage your relationship.
These people value relationships and would rather put themselves out — maybe even spend a few dollars on something they don’t really want — in order to protect their relationship with you.
But what really happens when they do this?
They soon grow to resent the fact that YOU don’t value THEM, or your relationship with them, or you wouldn’t have put them in a position where they felt they had no other choice.
Sure, you may not have meant to… but that’s how they see it, and perception is reality for most people.
Like it or not, you’ve just damaged that relationship.
2. People who don’t know you — your “cold market”
Why would these people say “yes-meaning-no” to you?
Because they see you as someone who won’t take “no” for an answer!
They haven’t really been listening to your slick pitch for your product, service or business opportunity. Inside their heads, behind those glazed eyes, they’ve been desperately searching for a way to let you down gently, because most people really don’t enjoy confrontation. It’s stressful because they don’t feel in control of their situation and they think that you’re trying to take control from them.
So they say “yes-meaning-no”.
You think they’ve said “yes-meaning-yes” because they bought a product or signed an application form. You’re thrilled. You got a “yes”.
For them, it’s a whole different story.
People only say “yes” to a proposition because they can see a benefit for them in doing so. This is no different for your prospect — except that the benefit for them is really simple:
The benefit for them is to GET RID OF YOU!
Think about what really happens when you get “yes-meaning-no”.
- never buys another product from you
- never returns your phone calls
- is never home when you call (did that curtain just move?)
- never attends meetings
- never recommends you to anyone
- never does ANYTHING except AVOID YOU!
That’s because they’ve already enjoyed the benefit of saying “yes” to you…
End of story.
So you spend weeks and months scratching your head in utter bewilderment, trying to understand why nothing’s happening.
That takes care of your “warm market” and your “cold market”. Who else is left?
What are you doing wrong that’s producing these constant “yes-meaning-no” responses to your presentations?
First of all, you’re falling for the oldest trick in the book: you’re letting fear of loss govern your attitude and actions. Your desperation is communicating itself to your prospects without you even realising it.
SOME IMMUTABLE FACTS ABOUT SELLING
Oops… did I just say a rude word? (Not ‘immutable’ — that just means ‘unchangeable’. Make it your ‘word for today’.)
There are two four-letter words that are deeply offensive to most direct sellers…
One ends in ‘-ear’ and the other in ‘-ell’. (What… you had something else in mind?)
But here are some Basic Business Realities that everyone in business needs to come to grips with:
Business is defined as “the exchange of resources for mutual benefit”. It’s simple cause and effect. Exchanging resources usually means that one of those resources is money. Whose money depends on which hat you’re wearing at the time. Only ONE hat that you wear as a business owner means that it’s someone else’s money coming to you. For every other hat you wear, it’s YOUR money going to someone else!
So that hat where the money comes to YOU is critically important, and you need to give it your highest priority.
Which hat is it?
It’s the one marked “SELLer”.
That’s where YOU sell something of value to the buyer, in exchange for their money — which is of real value to you, if you want to make a profit — the ONLY result that will allow you to stay in business.
So let’s look more closely at the concept of profit, since it’s the ONLY result in business that matters, by definition.
There’s only ONE way to create profit… and that’s to SELL something for more than it costs you.
There’s no other way. Fancy bookkeeping and accounting may process or polish your profits, but they won’t actually CREATE it for you. You have to SELL something for more than it costs you. Any fool can sell it for less — but that’s not profit. That’s a death-wish. Or, to give it its technical name, terminal stupidity. (All forms of “Suicide Selling”.)
Now it’s true that most people are terrified by the notion of having to sell anything, because they don’t want to be seen as pushy or manipulative.
Okay… let’s stop right there and take a closer look at the reality behind that belief.
- To be in business you have to make a profit.
- The only way to make a profit is to SELL something for more than it costs you.
So SELLING is WHAT you have to do to make a profit and stay in business.
But for most things in life, it’s not WHAT you do that really matters as much as WHY and HOW you do it. It’s your MOTIVES (why) and METHODS (how) that usually make the difference between legal and illegal, ethical and unethical.
It’s really what determines the difference between legitimate network marketing ( a form of direct selling) and illegal pyramid selling.
It’s also one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to prosecute scammers and pyramid scheme operators. The laws focus on WHAT you do because you can’t legislate effectively against motives and attitudes — only against specific ACTIONS.
FACT: The most successful sellers are NEVER pushy or manipulative. They’re much too intelligent and ethical to do that.
Pushy and manipulative are not WHAT you do. They’re WHY and HOW sleazy sales-types do it. (Dumb and dumber.)
If you want to succeed at selling, use these two valuable attributes — they work brilliantly!
By “intelligence” I don’t mean IQ or intellect. I mean getting to know and understand how and why people think, feel and act, then tailoring your selling to match them. In other words, doing the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways and at the right times.
By “integrity” I mean the degree to which your own motives, attitudes and behaviour (how YOU think, feel and act) are fully integrated… cogent, cohesive and congruent. In other words, you do only the right things for only the right reasons, so that you’re safe and desirable to deal with — you can be trusted!
This is called Win-Win.
MORE IMMUTABLE FACTS ABOUT SELLING
The first level of perceived risk for any prospect is…
1. The SELLER
2. The seller’s MOTIVE.
It’s not the product, the company you represent or even the price they have to pay that scares them most. It’s “Why are you here? And why are you trying to get me to do this?”
If the prospect is worried about what you might do TO them, you’ll find it impossible to get them to understand what you can do FOR them.
You can’t tell or sell anyone anything until you can get their undivided attention. If they’re frantically looking for ways to say “no” without upsetting you, they’re NOT LISTENING to your slick sales pitch! You do NOT have their attention!
So instead of playing on a prospect’s fear, do everything you can to ELIMINATE any fear from the transaction.
You achieve this by putting THEM in control of THEIR end of the process.
Not YOUR end. Theirs.
In other words, the safest, easiest, best and smartest way to remove yourself as the first level of perceived risk is to give them permission to say “no“! Tell them as much, in so many words. You’ll be astonished at the difference it makes.
But understand clearly that you live or die by that statement.
Try to slide around it and control their choice or decision and you’ve chosen the “Hara Kiri” method of Suicide Selling instead of the more common “Kame Kazi” Method.
“Kame Kazi” Selling is where you crash and burn — you crash through getting the “yes” you so desperately want, but you burn the relationship that produces any possible results so badly that there’s nothing left of value or usefulness to you! And you can forget about referrals and recommendations… permanently!
“Hara Kiri” Selling is where you ritually disembowel yourself with your own lies, and die the “Death of a Thousand Cuts”, slowly, by deluding yourself that deceit and guile are the best ways to prevent triggering fear in your prospects, while still trying to control THEM. *D’oh!*
Like I said… dumb and dumber. The outcomes are identical. The only difference is the time each method takes.
Get your head straight on this…
- fear is the emotional effect of perceived risk.
- Risk is the absence of personal control over a situation.
If you want to create fear — the reason why people say “no” to you — the fastest and surest way to create it is to remove the prospect’s personal control over their choices. Or to try.
That’s exactly what you do when you try to use fear of loss as a stimulus to get prospects to take action.
Then you wonder why you get “yes-meaning-no” all the time!
You’ve heard of “Buyer Remorse”?
That’s where buyers regret their decision the moment they hand over their money or sign the application or order.
This is “Buyer REVENGE!”
That’s where they get to watch you trying to get them to buy more products from you, attend your appointments, answer your phone calls, reply to your voice mail messages and emails, answer the door when you come around, etc etc etc.
They get MONTHS of entertainment at your expense!
And all they had to do was say “yes-meaning-no”.
Who’s the victim in this situation?
It’s BOTH of you. YOU thought that Win-Lose was the smart way to go in dealing with prospects. You just didn’t get it…
There’s NO such thing as Win-Lose or Lose-Win except in the vacuum between your ears. They’re counterfeits. FAKES.
They’re really both LOSE-LOSE pretending to be a win to fool you — and you fell for it!
As soon as the “Loser” wakes up to reality, they pull the pin on your relationship — and on any possible results it might have produced for you.
All it takes is time — remember?
Those chickens ALWAYS come home to roost. But the longer it takes them to get there, the bigger and meaner they become.
Ugly. Vicious. And stupid.
But they know whose front door to kick down, and whose bed to cr*p in, because it takes one to know one, right?
- Ignorance is never a satisfactory substitute for knowledge.
- Blindness is never a satisfactory substitute for insight.
- Cunning* is never a satisfactory substitute for intelligence.
- Deceit* is never a satisfactory substitute for honesty.
- Guile* is never a satisfactory substitute for character.
- Hypocrisy* is never a satisfactory substitute for integrity.
(* All manifestations of T.S. Syndrome — Terminal Stupidity.)
Learn the right things to do, and the right reasons for doing them. Forget about using fear of loss and other pointless forms of emotional blackmail and manipulation. Forget about deceit and guile. Be honest with yourself — and your prospects.
If you want to hear “yes-meaning-YES”, try these instead:
Discover how caving in to fear of loss can sabotage your list building efforts…