In the early days, I’d go out to meet with prospects to show them all the incredible benefits I had to offer them, and they would inevitably say something like, “This is really impressive. Let me think it over and we can go from there.”
Proud of myself for giving a flawless presentation, I would go buy myself a big steak dinner to celebrate the impending sale.
In almost every case, though, the sale never happened. There were a few that closed, but most of the time I got lost in the follow-up phase. Looking back, I don’t know how I was able to lie to myself so effectively about being a great salesman. I now know, as a sales trainer, that great salespeople do not get compliments from prospects; they get orders.
But back then, I just didn’t know. Always stuck in the follow-up phase, I had a constant list of about fifty prospects I would call a few times per month. Each time, nothing had changed. My biggest fear was that they would say that they’d decided not to work with me. I was trying to avoid a “no.”
In 2008, the New England Patriots went into the Super Bowl with a perfect record. Many critics and fans agreed that this was likely the greatest team ever. Yet on February 3rd 2008, the New England Patriots lost in a close game to the New York Giants. All of that praise was meaningless in the end because the Patriots simply didn’t finish the job.
Salespeople tell me all the time about how close they are to closing a deal or what a great job they’ve done in a sales meeting—it’s all wasted breath.
What matters is whether the prospect gives you a check that doesn’t bounce.
Old-school selling prescribes doing everything in one’s power to avoid the dreaded “no.” So what happens is that salespeople spend half of their time just following up on prospects stuck in their pipelines.
Think about your current pipeline of prospects right now. Let’s pretend you hired me to call those prospects and say the following:
“Hello [Prospect’s Name], my name is Marc Wayshak and I’m looking for feedback on your connection with [Your Name]. Please be brutally honest. Do you have any intention of working with [Your Name]?”
My guess is that most of the prospects in your current pipe-line would tell me they have no intention of working with you. But, people hate confrontation, so they lead us on. It’s a terrible waste of everyone’s time, but it’s not the prospects fault.
It is on us to finally get comfortable hearing that dirty two-letter word from our prospects, “no.” Don’t run from it, but rather embrace it. This simple distinction will free you up from countless hours of following up on dead leads.
Are you ready to accept more “no’s” in order to close more business?
By Marc Wayshak, America’s Sales Coach on Game Plan Selling and Sales Trainer Boston. He is the author of The Rules of Game Plan Selling.