Are you afraid of ‘No’?

By: Paul du Toit – regular contributor

Learning to say ‘no’ is an important skill that can help aid communication and which has many benefits, both for the salesperson and the customer.

A pool company commissioned an online sales campaign generating fresh leads that were forwarded to their sales team according to area. Leads were allocated to sales folk in their designated areas.

However, failure to convert that lead within a month resulted in that lead being re-allocated. The process was that an appointment would be made and the potential customer would be visited. Part of the process was to discuss where on the property the pool should be situated. Favourable payment terms would be discussed and a deal struck. It was not a particularly difficult sale since a swimming pool adds value to a property and therefore enhanced the asset rather than being an ‘expense’.

 But the company soon found that conversion rate of initial leads to sales was less than 20%. So they decided to survey all the leads where a visit had not resulted in a sale shortly afterwards. When asked the simple question “Why didn’t you buy a pool?”, most customers gave the same answer: “Because your salesperson did not ask for the business.” Crazy isn’t it?

A salesperson who leaves deals on the table has hungry children! Unfortunately this happens all too often. To understand why this is so prevalent, we need to understand one of the great modern fears of man (and woman!).

We don’t know how to say ‘no’, and we don’t like to hear ‘no’
In this case either the sales person did not want to hear ‘no’, or the customers didn’t want to reject the offer outright or both. The result was that both parties would have parted in limbo – without satisfaction.

Fortunately this does not affect everyone, otherwise the pool company’s campaign would have registered zero sales and the entire population of that state would have been buying their pools elsewhere or take cold showers to relieve themselves from the summer heat. But this condition affects far too many of us to our detriment – whether we believe we are ‘in sales’ or not. Let’s unpick this a bit.

Read the full feature in MMPR July/August 2015 edition page 18.

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