Why You Should Always Go for the No

In one of my earlier posts about the differences between having a Limitation vs Abundance Mindset, I opened a can of worms on another subject that can be quite divided and difficult to wrap your head around.

I talked about ‘going for the no.’

If you’ve never heard of it, (I always assume people have, but I’m probably wrong), you might not know what I mean. 

In a nutshell, it means providing a prospect with all of the reasons why they shouldn’t buy from you. 

And yes, it may seem counterintuitive to the whole idea of selling, but bear with me.

When you go for the no, when you lay out all of the reasons why you might not be the right fit for them, they’ll basically sell themselves. And then they will feel much better about their decision. 

Most people are at least a little wary with salespeople, so they always assume that we’re trying to force our products or services on them. 

And let’s face it, that’s what a lot of them do. (But we’re better than that, right?)

So when you ask a prospect something along the lines of, “Sounds like this might not work for you,” or “Seems like maybe the other guys are a better fit for your needs,” they’ll be, quite frankly, shocked.

It throws them off their game. And it lets them know that you’re more concerned with their needs than your quota.

And then they scramble to defend their interest in you.

There are tons of little details and practices around it, but that’s the basis. 

If you’re curious to know more, read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. It’ll completely change your sales game in so many ways.

However, knowing what you should do and knowing why it works doesn’t make it feel any less scary. Not at first anyway.

Your job, your paycheck, your livelihood depends on getting people to buy what you’re selling. So naturally, telling them not to buy it feels terrifying because what if they all listen to you? What if you drive all of your prospects away?

Even if you’re not worried about that, (which you shouldn’t be!), it will probably feel like a manipulation tactic. At least on some level. And we all know that when you are using tactics to fake quality conversations, it never works well for long. They’re not actually quality conversations at that point, and at least some of your prospects will pick up on that.

Then any trust they may have had for you goes out the window. 

That’s why it’s important to always be sincere and authentic when going for the no. 

You should want the best for them, even if it isn’t you. Selling to clients that you can’t help will only result in hurting you, your company, the client, and possibly your reputation and future prospects. 

Nobody wants that. And that’s why it works so well. 

Being unafraid of a “no” in a sales conversation is one of the things that separates top-performing salespeople and everyone else. 

How you use this sales technique is largely up to personality traits, yours and the client’s.

Some people just ooze the “no f*cks given” mentality, and it comes across to the prospect. They’ll feel compelled to sell themselves to the salesperson. Others drop a hint of it organically in the conversation, and that can work really well when some trust and rapport has already been built. And some can convey deep concern or empathy for the prospect, leading them to jump into rescuer mode.  

The very best salespeople are able to sense which would work best and be able to use any of these.

At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter if you ooze it or say it. Being able to be detached from the outcome is key to having good conversations.

If you didn’t read the aforementioned post, it’s about having an abundance mindset, not a hopeful or limited one. 

In any good sales conversation, you have to keep two very important things in mind.

  1. You have to be a little skeptical. This leads to the best questioning and qualifying. Also, you can’t be skeptical and hopeful at the same time. Which leads us to #2.
  2. You have to remember that there are other prospects out there. Prospects know when salespeople are desperate, so you have to focus on the conversation, not the results.

Think about it this way, the people who find the most success in life aren’t afraid of the challenges or the outcomes. 

It’s difficult to force yourself to convince or even suggest that a prospect doesn’t need you. And it’s difficult to go into a sales conversation without hoping for a closed deal.

But if you can push yourself to do it, you’ll stand out with those prospects. Even if they say no at that moment, they’ll remember you before they will any other salespeople. 

Remember, every no is just a no for that day, not necessarily forever.