Do People Really Mean No?

Do people really mean no

Is it really No?

In business we all love to hear the word “Yes” rather than “No”. Salespeople are taught that it will take x number of Noes in order to get one Yes. They are urged to go and speak to as many prospects as possible and keep in mind that the ratio of Noes to Yeses will come good.

However I would like to take a look at the people who say No and why they do. It could be that many sales and business opportunities are lost because “No” is taken as the final answer. The question is, “Does everyone that says “No” really mean “No”? Many salespeople assume the prospect means that they will never buy from them or require their product or service. Let’s look at the following reasons why people might say “No” when they don’t mean a “no – never” response.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Why People May Say No

No – I don’t need it now
No – I can’t afford it now
No – I don’t understand what you’re offering and therefore feel I can’t yes to it
No – because I don’t see how the product or service will benefit me
No – this is a really bad time for me to consider this

There may well be more reasons than the above to generate a “No” response but as you can see getting a no does not always mean that the client does not need your product or service. It is therefore really important to know why people give you a no decision.

In order to find the reason for getting a no response you will need to be able to ask questions that will give you the answer without being overly forceful and alienate your prospect for future contact. Top salespeople try to avoid getting a “No” based on any of the above reasons.

Here is an example of a presentation that I know worked very well for someone car sales. He used to ask a prospect who had shown real interest in one particular car, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how likely are you to buy this car today?” Most people would answer around 7 and so he would then ask, “What would it take to get it from 7 to 10?” Their response would enable him to tailor an offer or make an arrangement that would move it to a 10 and of course they would then have to purchase the car.

It is good sales practice to eliminate as many of the possible outcomes for a no response before you try to close the deal and reduce the number of noes because of the above reasons. However you won’t always be able to do so and therefore need responses that will allow you to gauge why they have said no and open the door for another opportunity to sell to them.

As an example let’s think about the fourth reason for no, they don’t see how the product can benefit them. If you are selling a machine that they would buy to manufacture a product you could ask, “Would you like to speak to Mike at XYZ Ltd? He’s been using this machine and has found a 20 per cent increase in production.” The offer of a call alone could help them to change from no to yes and if they do call even better. It’s good to have an arsenal of people that don’t mind a call to provide a testimonial on your behalf.

Turn No into Yes

For more help on turning No into Yes please read the book, Methods of Persuasion: How to Turn a No into a Yes.

If you have a technique that you would like to share please leave a comment in the box below.


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