I was visiting with my good friend. We were talking marketing and I don’t know how the subject came up but she said that she is not afraid to give her prospects the permission to say NO!

We both laughed about it at first, but you know this is a critical stage that every sales person must go through. It also something most sales people don’t want to hear. When you think about getting to no is just as important as getting to yes.

If you have been in sales for any length of time, you have heard the old adage “With every no you are one step closer to a yes!” But as sales people we don’t want to hear no. But isn’t a “no” better than long maybe? It is much more efficient and will make you much more effective sales rep if you are not afraid of hearing no. No can mean several things:

1) I don’t have the money or budget

2) The timing is not right

3) I really am not interested in you product.

So if you are on the selling side, when do you do to drive a prospect to a decision?

1) Give your prospect the permission to say no!

2) Be clear on the call to action whether you have a product with a short or long sell cycle make sure your prospect knows the next steps.

3) Set a firm deadline. When meeting any prospector or customer, set a clear deadline for the next step or decision. Usually you can get to a definitive yes or no just by being clear about a close date.

4) Agree to and adhere to a post-pitch process. Outline the next step for the follow-up. What additional documents or meeting are required for a decision? When will these occur and will there be sufficient time given the deadline at hand? If nothing is required, agree to the next follow-up date and the form of the follow-up. Make the follow-up shorter then your gut tells you, if you think you should follow-up in two weeks, say a week. A follow-up in two weeks oftern means that the person is revisiting the issue in 13 days.

5) Affirm the silent no and provide an out. Become better at trying to confirm the silent no. Schedules change, people as for more time, and other priorities take over, Know how to escalate to the no. Prolong silence or indecision requires a push. Something like “ I want to thank you for your time consideration this and realize that now may not be optimal timing. Can I assume a pass for now?

Human nature is more conditioned to a yes or maybe, rather then no. Providing an out is usually appreciated by the other side and is a good way to elicit a decision or gain clarity on the next best step.

A yes is what everyone is looking for, but getting to no fast will also allow you to put your time and resources into your best prospects and customers.