The Second Best Answer is NO!

I had a colleague one time tell me that the second best answer is NO! At first I was confused because I am in a business where YES is the demonstrative income making answer. If you are in commission driven sales you need YE$E$ in order to earn, so how could the idea of NO be the second best answer? The basic premise is this…

NO is as final as YES is, it allows a sales person to know where to spend time. Understanding that one of the few commodities a sales person has is time, it is imperative to be spent in the most productive ways. NO allows a sales person to move on and find a YE$. Entirely too much time is spent chasing NO’s and not moving on to greener pastures that afford income making opportunities. This is a hard truth and the goal is not to minimize the importance of patient persistence nor the art of relationship building. Time spent on both of these skills is well worth the investment if the return is somewhat predictable and reliable and we believe that a YE$ is a possibility.

Unfortunately, sales gets a bad rap because many sales people have not understood this simple principal; NO is the second best answer. Sales people are seen as pushy, manipulative, liars, self-serving and interested in only one thing…YE$E$. So let’s briefly discuss the idea of NO’s. If I embrace this answer as the second best it changes my reaction to the answer. How can this change my reaction, therefore my relationships and my effectiveness?

NO should provide for the following:

1. Relief – YES or NO questions always lead to tension in a relationship it does not matter if it is your spouse, children, mother, father, boss, client or prospect. If NO is recieved with relief then I am free to move on to something productive. Seeing this not as a loss but as a second best allows all parties involved to experience the relief from the tension and to move on in a productive manner.

2. Resilience – NO is a part of life, in every circumstance sales or not. Everyday we receive more NO’s than YE$ES! Simply wanting to merge into traffic and having many cars pass us by until someone gives us a YE$ by yielding to us demonstrates the point. Yet we do not give up, we patiently and persistently wait until we get the YE$. Not only is this a fact of life it is part of the journey for those of us in sales. We must quietly persist realizing that this is part of an everyday occurrence and a YE$ is just up ahead around the corner.

3. Re-Focus – Decision is a fork in the road, we cannot embrace both paths effectively. A NO is a point of clarity that allows us to Re-Focus on the path that we are on and move forward to the destination ahead of us. A NO should not be a flat tire, it should be an encouragement that we have accomplished something. The something has given clarity and direction to our journey and the selling cycle.

As strange as it may sound I have come to love NO for these reasons and many others. We have many YES or NO conversations in our own heads about everyday decisions and most of the time we do not let the NO’s discourage us. We should allow the NO’s to provide Relief, to fuel our Resilience and Re-Focus our thinking and strategies.

If this has been helpful or you have thoughts about what you have read, let me hear from you.

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