Rejection is a part of sales. Some business coaches teach that a healthy close rate is 50%. I believe it can be even higher than that, but some of you starting out might experience close rates closer to 20%.
(The sales industry average close rate is a meager 10%.)
If you have a 100% close rate, then that means you’re not asking for enough money!
When someone says no to you, your next job is to be a detective.
Ask them if it’s ok if you ask a few questions for your own improvement. And then ask!
1. What were the main factors in your decision?
2. Did you decide to go with another vendor?
3. If yes, who is the other vendor?
4. What could you have done differently to gain the business?
A good decision maker will appreciate your chutzpah in asking questions like this. The key is to make it easy to respond. Don’t fire off a list of questions via email. Do pick up the phone or ask in person.
For each and every “no” you receive, the goal is to learn something that improves your sales skills.
On the flip side, you might find that your initial conversations (pre-proposal) with a potential client show that you don’t actually want to do business with them.
Remember: you are vetting them as much as they are vetting you.
You might not want to invite every comer to be a potential client! This mindset shift puts you in a position of power.
It’s not unlike the dating world.
Imagine being a woman in her late 30s who desperately wants to settle down so she can have a child before “her clock runs out.” On every first date she’s running the numbers and trying to make the one in front of her work.
“Ok, first date to serious relationship: 18 months. Engaged within two years. Married and pregnant in three. I can live with the fact that he still lives with his mother. This could work…”
Do you think every single potential suitor can feel that kind of cold calculation? And do you think she’s even thinking about, “Do I even want this guy?”
(I use that example because it’s illustrative. While biological clocks are real, I don’t think women have to gauge their love lives by them. More power to ladies who do things their own way, and in their own timing.)
Ok, so how does this translate to your sales conversations?
You must go into them NOT thinking about the potential dollar signs. Instead, your job is to suss out whether or not you’ll be good for one another.
That singular difference in your approach means you’ll act and speak differently from others offering similar services who are desperate for the business regardless of fit.
It also means that if a potential client declines to work with you, you have thought about it already. You can counter with, “That’s so interesting. I thought we’d be a good fit to achieve your x, y, z goals because of a, b and c reasons.”
You can often turn no into yes IF you are coming from a place of fit as opposed to a place of fear (of losing business).
Always consider no’s a win because it means you’ve been out in the world, doing your job and offering your services.
People who never hear no also hear yes much less frequently.
Go get ‘em!
See you soon for Part Ten!