Here's Your Next Move When Your Customer Says 'No' To avoid taking 'no' for an answer, rephrase the question.

By Jeff Shore

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Entrepreneurs are salespeople. Successful entrepreneurs start a business and are really good at getting people to say "yes" to their propositions.

As salespeople, you have something to sell - be it a product, a service, an experience, whatever. Your goal is to help the customer say "yes" to your proposition.

But sometimes the process can go sideways.

You greet your customer, who expresses an interest in your offering. You put your best foot forward with a first-rate sales presentation. You move toward the close, fully expecting to hear that magic word "yes." But instead, you get the dreaded "no."

What do you do now? Panic? Plead? Quit? Call mom?

What do you do when your customer says "no?" I suggest you reframe this scenario.

Related: The 4 Essentials to Building Your Startup Sales Force

Whenever you hear the word "no," think to yourself "not yet." Train your brain to think the word "no" may not really be a "no." It may simply be a "not yet."

This makes sense. If the customer's no was a definite no, they would leave your office; hang up the phone; finish their coffee and walk out of Starbucks - whatever the case may be. But many times they stay. And they stay for a reason. They still sort-of want to buy.

So what do you do? You run with the not yet. You look for ways to help the customer work through the decision-making process.

Here are two things that might help.

  1. Control your attitude. Be calm and collected. Commit yourself to helping the customer solve their problem.
  2. Ask your customer thought-clarifying questions. Try to help them clarify what's holding them back.

Related: 8 Places to Sell Stuff Fast When You Really Need the Money

Here's a sample conversation.

You: "Would you like to purchase this [product, service, experience]?"

Customer: "No, thanks."

You: "Fair enough. I'm here to help if you need me."

At this point you back off, but the customer stays engaged. So after a few moments you resume the sales conversation.

You: "May I ask, what's holding you back?"

The point here is not to get them to buy right this second. The point is to help them work through whatever their issues are. Once they work through their issues, they may actually decide to go ahead with the purchase.

Related: Why You Need to Set Sales Goals

Successful entrepreneurs are really good at turning negatives into positives. If you train your brain to respond positively to the word no, and run with the not yet, you're much more likely to see a negative turn into a positive.

Jeff Shore

Entrepreneur, Sales Expert and Author; Founder of Shore Consulting

Jeff Shore, of Shore Consulting, is a sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and consultant whose latest book, Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance, was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in January 2014.

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