Getting to NO You: Using NO in Sales Process
Salespeople are taught to get to yes, but getting to no is how you win your deal
The book Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement without Giving In announced one of the most prolific business texts developed by Roger Fisher of the Harvard Negotiation Project in the early 1980s. It deals with all areas of negotiation and conflict resolution and gives you step by step processes in coming to a mutually acceptable agreement in a non adversarial way. According to Fisher, the 4 Principles of Negotiation are Separating people from problem, Focus on Interests over positions, Generate Acceptable Options before settling, and the Agreement must be based on Objective Criteria. Further, the 3 Obstacles people face to Agreements are Perception, Communication, and Emotion.
These work in all types of negotiations, however many have applied the principles beyond negotiation to the everyday encounter and in the sales context. Each time you meet a client or prospect you have to balance perception of your product of service, how you communicate your product or service to meet their needs, and appeal to their emotions. Sounds like a lot right? A perfect balancing act, IN COMBINATION with your being in contact with a decision maker, and there being a real need for what you offer in the first place, will create opportunity for you to demo and win a deal.
How to Get to NO to Get More Sales
If getting to yes wins the deal and an accord or agreement is struck, why is this entitled getting to no. We argue that NO is more important than YES in a sales process and in the month in total of a presales professional. Getting to NO faster frees your time and also is an indicator that you have gone as far as possible in your sales cycle, pitched to the right player, and it is just not a product your client is interested in now, or ever.
What’s Wrong with Maybe
In short, almost everything is wrong with maybe. When you hear, I need to think about it, or I need to discuss this with my team, you are not getting to a no, OR a yes, you are getting to a deadzone in your sales process. The best way to get out of maybe is not by pushing harder or attempting another tactic, it is to have a process and stick to it. Here are our best tips for getting to NO, to get more YES’s.
- Learn the Silent No. Too much time passes and people are more comfortable saying maybe or yes, even if the yes we can use it, but let me check with a colleague etc. Define in your process what the tagline will be, whether it is already language you use such as I know schedules and timing are hard to nail down, should I assume a pass for now? Work the phrasing into your workflow and build out custom portion of your CRM for this very particular subset.
- Create a Post Pitch Process, and Stick to it. Identify steps, meetings, documents required, and follow up time that you will need before asking for the final No or Yes, and do not look back.
- Be Aware of Decision Making Process. Find out who is going to be in charge of making the decision, documents, and security as early as possible.
- Match the Pitch to the Person. Don’t pitch the wrong person and be sure that the person has the authority to say YES or NO.
- Shorten Your Cycle, Build in a Deadline. Be clear when making contact that there is a deadline and you intend on keeping it. This is a boundary and it will really set you free for potential other sales if you get a no.
As you can see, a lot more strategy is involved in getting to a no, than in the yes, in terms of sales process. More often than not, the opposition we encounter is not overt but covert and trying to not hurt feelings by dragging on the process. It is up to the sales pro to set boundaries on how long the process will go and up to sales managers to really support their sales teams in pursuing the no to get to that yes.
If you are looking to strengthen your sales process, we offer sales teams and demo teams and coaching! Contact us and see how we can work together to get your teams working better together and smarter.