A No Decision Is a No

Sometimes we use words to make things appear differently than they are. We describe things so that something negative appears less so, so it is more palatable. But calling something other than what is truly is, does not make it into something different.

There is no such thing as a “no decision.” There is a “yes,” or there is a “no.”

There is No No Decision

When a client suggests that they are not making a decision, that they are postponing the decision, or they are going to continue doing what they are doing now, that is a “no.” The client has in fact made a decision, and the decision is to not buy from you now.

Categorizing a “no” as a “no decision” may make you feel better. It may make you feel as if your prospective client didn’t say “no,” and they may, in fact, have left the door open to explore changing again sometime in the future.

Categorizing the “no” as a “no decision” may improve the metrics you capture in your customer relationship management software. It might improve your win ratio dramatically. But, it won’t change the number of wins.

If you categorized a prospective client as an opportunity, and that opportunity ended in a “no decision,” that is a loss. You have gone through the process, and you did not convert the prospect to a client. You did not win.

The Competitor Who Beat You

Just because you did not lose to a competitor doesn’t mean you didn’t lose. You just lost to one of your toughest, unnamed competitors.

You invested the time. You invested the energy. You may have invested your company’s resources in pursuing that opportunity. It is no different than any other opportunity that you pursued, and it doesn’t need a label that makes it something different than a loss. It should be categorized as “Lost-Status Quo.

Change isn’t easy. Compelling people and companies to change is not only difficult, it’s complicated by the fact that so many decisions are made by consensus. If you total up all of your lost opportunities at the end of the year, many of them will have been lost to a competitor who is not named in your customer relationship management software. That competitor is Lost-Status Quo.

In “no decision” is the same as a “no.” And in “no” is a loss.

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