There are many commitments that need to be gained on the road from target to dream client. As you work in the field, you ask for a lot of these commitments, and sometimes the answer you receive is a resounding “No.”
Sometimes you ask for an appointment with the C-level executive, only to hear a “No.”
Sometimes you ask for access to the people or the information that you need to pull yourself out of the commodity-selling, order-taking pack, only to be told “No.”
Lots of times you have asked for commitments, made a decent case, and you have still been told “No.”
But They Said No Before . . .
The big risk for salespeople is to take all of these “no” answers and believe that they are operating rules. They are not operating rules. You will not always hear “no,” regardless of your past experience.
Because you asked five C-level executives for an appointment and received five negative responses says nothing about the result you should expect from the sixth call that you make—unless you aren’t prepared to make the calls at all.
Because you have asked for access to the decision-influencers and the information that you need to differentiate yourself and your offering from your competitors and were told “no” doesn’t mean that it was wrong to ask, that you don’t really need the information, that you don’t really need to differentiate yourself, or that you will be cut off from this information in the future.
Because what you tried didn’t work, and because you received a “no,” doesn’t mean that you are taking the wrong action, that it doesn’t work, that it isn’t effective, or that you are necessarily doing something wrong. Sometimes the answer is just “no.”
Sometimes, the Answer is “Yes!”
You will never receive a “no” answer to a request for a commitment that you didn’t ask for. But you will never obtain that commitment either. By not asking, you will automatically get a “no,” and you will automatically not get a “yes.”
If you ask for the commitment, and you have done your homework, you have created value, and you have earned it, you will get more than your fair share of “yes” answers and more commitments.
You have to ask for what you need to win the deal and to succeed for your dream client after you win the opportunity. There will be forces lined up against you. The purchasing agent may believe that giving you what you ask for may give you an unfair advantage. The decision-maker may withhold information because he believes his transparency weakens his bargaining position. The decision-influencer may block you access to people and information because she has her own horse in the race or because she has an ax to grind with someone on her own organizational chart (Whoa! Little metaphor rich sentence there, huh?)
Sometimes the C-level executive will hear your commitment to creating value in an area that she has been struggling with and she will say “yes.”
Sometimes your power-sponsor, decision-maker will agree to your request for a commitment to walk you two levels up and three levels down the organizational chart giving you access to the people and the information you need to win the deal—and to make it work once you win it.
Sometimes the purchasing agent will say “yes” and give you the information that you need to pull yourself out of the commodity box—and to Hell with the unfair advantage. Sometimes the decision-maker will say “yes” and give you the full view of their problem with complete transparency, not fearing that you he will lose his bargaining position, and instead believing he will gain your best thinking, your best solution, and your best effort.
Ask for what you need to win the deal. Ask for what you need to succeed when you do win the deal. Ask for the commitments that advance your sale (but not without earning the commitment by creating value first). And ask for the order each and every time you have the chance to do so.
Don’t be surprised when the answer is “Yes!”
In pursuing our dream clients, we sometimes hear “no” when we ask for the commitments that we need to advance the sale. Sometimes we receive a “no” by default, because we don’t ask. Take the advice here: Ask! Sometimes the answer is “yes!”
- What do you believe that a “no” answer means about what you should expect when you ask for the same commitment from someone else in the future?
- What commitments do you need to obtain to advance your deal? What do you need to do to ensure that you have a better than even chance of receiving a “yes” answer to your requests for the commitments that you need to advance your deal?
- What are the underlying reasons you receive a “no” answer to the requests you make? What would you need to do to earn a “yes” answer?
- What stops you from asking for the commitments that you need to obtain? What stops you from asking for an opportunity to serve your dream client? What stops you from asking for the order? How fast can you change and start asking?
- What does a failure to ask for commitments cost you in lost opportunities and stalled deals?
- Why not ask? What if they say “Yes!”
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