Say No To Grow Sales
Written by Dave Lorenzo on September 12, 2016 / Archived Podcasts / Productivity
Say No To Grow Sales
Sometimes you have to say no to grow sales. You control your business. Don’t ever forget that. This episode of The 60 Second Sales Show empowers you to take back control of your future by using the shortest yet most powerful expression: The word “NO.”
Sales and marketing expert Dave Lorenzo teaches you when and how is the proper time to say no to a prospective client, and how to teach your clients to say no as well. Learn the power of ‘NO’ so that you can increase your business and strengthen the quality of your client relationships.
Here is the transcript of this show:
Welcome to another edition of the 60 Second Sale show. I’m your host Dave Lorenzo. Today’s show is about “The Four Times the Word No Is Your Best Friend”. The word “no” is your absolute best friend. I’m going to give you four times when it’s totally and completely okay for you to say the word “no”. All of us in business were raised thinking the customer is always right. You have to go out to your customer and say, “The answer is yes, what’s your question?”
I’m here to tell you right now today that’s absolute hogwash. You do not need to worry about saying yes to your customer every single time. In fact, there are four specific instances when it’s completely and totally okay for you to say no.
The first instance when it’s perfectly fine for you to say no is when you’re meeting with a client and you want to make sure that you get the deal, you’re going to give your client permission to say no. Let me tell you how this works. I do this all the time and I absolutely love doing it. Someone calls my office, I’ll give you an exact example, I got a phone two weeks ago from a gentleman who’s an attorney. He’s an attorney on the west Coast. He really wants to boost his sales. He does about a million and a half dollars a year, he’s got a handful of people in his office, he wants to grow to be a $5 million operation which is really, really big for a law firm the size of which he currently operates, that type of growth is astronomical. Possible by phenomenal growth.
He says to me, “I want to grow my law firm. I will do whatever it takes. I’ve purchased your products, I’ve read your books, I know you’re the guy who can help me.” He’s very eager to work with me. He says, “I even know how much you charge. I’ve told to a couple of your clients whose testimonials I’ve seen on your website.” This sounds like a great opportunity doesn’t it? Sounds like something where I should be doing a dance in my office, I should be absolutely thrilled that this guy wants to work with me. I cannot wait. I should go out and I should buy a new car. This guy’s going to put my kids through college.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn as I know you have that this type of prospect is very, very dangerous. He gets us all excited, he gets emotionally-engaged, and then we wait and we wait, and we wait while he waits to give us his decision while he think about it, and then something else comes along and he has to work on it. The next thing we know, the days he was going to send us back the proposal in turn to weeks, the weeks turn to a month, he gets distracted by a shiny object. This type of prospect will absolutely kill you.
Here’s what we do to head them off. We say to him, “Mr. Prospect, this is fantastic. I am very happy that you found me. I know that we can work together but here’s the thing. I need to ask you a few questions to make sure that we’re a good fit.” Then you proceed to ask him some questions and you uncover his real needs, you help him diagnose what the real problem is, and in this case, his real problem is one of being able to delegate and manage. I asked some pointed questions around that. I really opened up a sore and rubs some salt in it to make sure he was ready to do business. Then I said to him, “I’m going to give you 3 options.” I gave him the 3 options and I said, “Of course, there’s a 4th option that’s available to you and that’s for us not to work together at all. I want to give you permission to say no right up front.”
He stopped in his tracks and he said, “This is not what I was expecting.” He said, “I expected you to give me the hard sell. I expected you to give me 3 options because I know how you operate. I expected to push me toward the most expensive option.” I said, his name is Steven, I said, “Steven, I can’t do that.” I said, “I don’t know what the right approach is for you. Only you can decide that. In fact, I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you at all. These are the three ways I see us working together. You know the value that I can provide. You said you knew that coming in. You said you were ready to make a commitment now. I’m giving you the opportunity to say no. Do you want to move forward?” All it takes is a simple word, either yes or no. If it’s a yes, tell me which option you select.
There was silence on the phone. The silence seemed like it was an hour, it was probably only 4 or 5 seconds. He said, “Yes”, he picked the middle option, and we started working together. Doesn’t always work like that. It’s important for you to understand that if he had said no and he wanted to move on and he didn’t want to work together, you would have done yourself and the client a service. I would have done myself and the client a service in that case. The reason is because that commitment wouldn’t have been there. You always give the client the opportunity to say no. That’s the first place where you’re absolute positive best friend.
You can do this multiple times. You can do it, if you’re an in-person sales person and you’re setting up a meeting, you give the person the opportunity to say no to setting up the meeting in the first place. If they say yes, you can be… if you say to them, “Listen, the meeting is set for tomorrow at 4:00. I’m going to give you right now, I’m going to give you the opportunity to say no. If for any reason you don’t think you’re going to be able to make that, say no right now and we won’t schedule the meeting. Are you going to be able to make it?” They say yes.
Then, you call to confirm the meeting, you call in the morning, you call them up and say “Hey listen, I’m just calling to confirm. If you can’t make it, it’s okay, just tell me no right now.” They confirm the meeting with you, they say yes, you can be sure they’ll be there at that point. Then before moving to the next step in the sales process, whatever your sales process is, before moving to the next step, you always give the client permission to say no before moving to the next step.
This empowers the client and it makes the decision his. He takes ownership of the decision and that means that he’ll be committed to the solutions that you provide and there’ll be less chance of him backing out and less chance of any buyer’s remorse.
The second time that the word “no” is your best friend is when you give yourself permission to say no to your client. You give yourself permission to say no to your clients. You do this on a few different occasions. The first time you do this is when there’s a legal, a moral, or an ethical concern involving your work with a client. If your client asks you to do something that is forcing you to operate in a grey area, you simply say no. You don’t need to give someone a reason for saying no.
One of my clients asked me to do him a favor one time. This is years ago. He said to me, “Dave”, he did some work in South America as well as in the Unites States, he said, “Dave, I have a large amount of cash. What I’d like to do is I’d like to pay for your services in cash. I want to pay 100% more than the value of your services. I’d like you to refund me the 50% that is over and above the level of your service. Would you do that?”
That to me was not right. In fact, it is illegal. It could be considered tax evasion. I don’t know where the money is coming from. It could even have been considered money laundering. I said, “I appreciate the opportunity. I’m just going to have to say no to you.” I didn’t give a reason why. He prodded me and he prodded and I didn’t give a reason why because when you say no, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
The second time you say to clients is just when you have a bad gut feeling. You’re talking to a client, and he’s giving you some bad vibes as yo how you might work together. In my case, when I’m talking to a client and I’m interviewing him and I’m finding reasons why he is not as successful as he should be or reasons why she’s not as successful as she should be, and I’m learning that they’ve gotten good advice in the past, they just refused to take it and act on it, that give me a bad gut feeling. I say no to that client. I just say, “At this point, I don’t think it makes sense for us to work together. I’m happy to revisit it the future. Why don’t you check back with me in, say, a year or a year and a half?” Usually the clients will get the hint and they decide not to work with me.
When you have a bad gut feeling, even if everything is great with a client, whenever you’re working with that client or you’re providing a product or a service to that client, you’re always going to feel bad about it. I highly encourage you, when you have a bad gut feeling, just say no.
The third time you give yourself permission to say no to a client is when there’s low compensation. When you feel like the value you’re receiving isn’t equitable for the value you’re providing. That’s your fault if you say yes and you take on that client, that’s your fault. Don’t do it. When the compensation is low just say no, ask for what you’re worth, and only move forward if you’re getting paid what you’re worth.
The fourth point under giving yourself permission to say no to clients is when there’s high personal labor intensity. I had a client I worked with 3 years ago who was on the West Coast. My work with this client required me to fly to the West Coast for two days once a month. I live in Miami. It’s a full day to get out there. Even if you take a flight late in the afternoon, you still get out there and you pretty much lost at least half a day on the way out, but coming back, because of the time difference, you lose an entire day. Lose almost 8 hours, you can take an overnight flight but then you’re exhausted and I’m in terrible shape for working with a client. That’s 3 1/2 days out of each month that client took out of my work schedule, took out of my schedule for calling on new clients, new potential clients. Although the fee workstations terrific and the client was the best person I’ve worked with in a long, long time, it was not a good opportunity for me. I should have said no to that.
Now, I set specific guidelines and I say no to high personal labor intensity projects. I still do some of those but I’ll do them via video conference or I’ll do them via telephone instead of in person.
The third time you say no is to improve your time integrity. The most powerful, most important asset you possess is your time. To improve your time integrity, is one of the best reasons to say no to a client or a prospective client.
Let me give some examples. #1 IF there’s no good return on your investment from your time, you say no. You just say no. When it comes to return on investment from your time, think about a charity that you may get involved with. You may be very excited. I’ll give you a perfect example. For me, when I first moved to Miami 2006-2007, I was a big proponent of public access to health care. This is before the Affordable Care Act. In Miami, there was a hospital that was doing some great things. I volunteered, I contributed some money, I sat on the Board of the Hospital Foundation, the investment of my time became greater and greater and greater. Then, traveling to the meetings and from the meetings took a couple of hours there, an hour there and an hour back. The meetings themselves were long. They turned out to be very productive. I was disappointed. Well no, I was unpleasantly surprised. Actually, I guess you could say I was devastated by this.
I, at a certain point, just couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the Chairman of the Board of the foundation and I bowed out. I did so because the return on investment at my time, I just wasn’t feeling like I was productive enough. There return on investment of my time wasn’t significant enough. To maintain my time integrity, I had to bow out and I had to say no.
A couple of other times you say no to protect your time integrity is when you will be working with someone who sucks the life out of you. An energy sucker just flat out saying no, again, you don’t need to give a reason why, you don’t have to make up any excuses. Just say, “Mo, I can’t go to lunch on Tuesday, Thank you. I’m not going to be able to go to lunch.”
You system no when guilt is the only motivating factor for you to say yes. This happens with family members all the time. Think about your Aunt Sally who you haven’t seen in 3 months, she calls you up, she says, “Why don’t you come over to my house anymore? Why don’t you come over for coffee on Saturday, bring your kids.” You know that Saturday is your day with your family but you’re feeling guilty because you haven’t seen it and [inaudible 00:13:36] in 3 months. If guilty is the only motivating factor, you got to say no, you got to say no. You need to maintain your time integrity.
The last time when no is you best friend, the last consequence when no can be your best friend is when you’re being asked to do something that’s incongruent with your goals. For example, think about the work that you would have to do that will make you good money in the short term but take you away from your chosen path in the long term.
In my case, I think about the one-on-one coaching that I used to do. When I started my practice, I did hours and hours of one-on-one coaching, sometimes as many as 5 or 6 hours a day, on he phone doing one-on-one coaching. It was great because I needed the money short term but I was limiting my ability to help people. I was limiting my ability to make an income.
I shifted to a group coaching model to an event-based model to a model where I could do one-to-many instead of one-on-one. That helped me grow my income and achieve my income goals year after year without sacrificing the time that it takes to do the one-on-one coaching. I was still providing that value. The clients were still succeeding, yet I was not sacrificing the long term goals for the short term need of the money.
Things are incongruent with your goals when the type of work takes you away from the work that you really want to be doing. When you feel like you’re not getting the amount of respect you deserve, or when it takes you down the path of suffering with a success. Think about that statement for a moment. You have built a success that you absolutely cannot stand. You’re successful, you’re making money, but you can’t spend your money. You’re successful, you’re making money, but you never see your family. You’re successful and you’re making money, but your health is suffering. You’re successful and you’re making money but you’re overweight, you’re single, you’re absolutely miserable because your life is not fulfilled. That’s why you say no to work that is taking you down the wrong path.
Let’s wrap up those four times when no is your bet friend. First, it’s when you give the client permission to say no, no is absolutely your best friend. The second is you give yourself permission to say no to clients. You do this when there’s high labor intensity, low compensation, you have a bad gut feeling or somebody says, “Do something that’s legal, moral and ethically incongruent with your beliefs, with your values.
The third time no is you best friend is when you want to improve time integrity. You say no to things that take you away from your time-focused, high integrity goals. The fourth time when no is your best friend is when you have to go down a path that’s incongruent with your long term goals, you’re making short term decisions, you’re making decisions that benefiting you in the short term but they’re taking you away from your long term goals of success.
Those are the four times when no can be your best friend. Right now, I want to turn to my best friend on this podcast, our producer, Nancy Pop because Nancy has a question for us.
Nancy, do you have a question that Samir from Eerie, Pennsylvania, a place you’re familiar with. I think Samir has a question for us.
I do. Today’s question is from Samir Abud in eerie, Pennsylvania. He says, “Dave, what do you think is the most important quality in sales?
Great question. You could ask 10 sales experts this question and you could get 10 different answers because there are a lot of good answers. My personal history and my work with my clients has proven to me that the best, most important quality for a fantastic sales professional or an entrepreneur, a business leader to possess is resilience.
You need to have the ability to come back over and over again from bad news, from a bad economy, from a bad personal situation, and you got to keep coming back and keep wanting to deliver value to your clients and to your prospective clients.
Here are a few ways, Samir, and all of those of you who are listening right now, here are a few ways you can strengthen that resilience muscle. The minute that you have a personal setback or a business setback, you get rejected, you lose a client, or something happens in your personal life and you’re facing some adversity, the minute that happens, here’s what I want you to do.
I want you to get on the phone and I want you to call one of your current clients which you have a conversation about how things are going and I want you to help that client solve a problem and feel good about it. Your current clients are with you because they believe in you. Your current clients are with you because they’re excited to work with you. I want you to get on the phone and call a current client, help him solve a problem, help him receive even more value. You can sell something to him if you like but only do if it’s going to provide more value to him and his business or him and his life. That’s the first thing you do when you’re suffering a setback.
The second thing I want you to do is I want you to go through all those great testimonials you have about your product, about your service. Really, really important. Read 5 or 6 or 7 and read a half-dozen. You’re going to help a client, you’re going to read 6 or 7 or 8 testimonials about how great you are, how great your clients were.
The third thing you’re going to do is you’re going to take a deep breath and you’re going to think about the success in your life that you’re most proud of. Maybe it’s raising a great kid, or maybe it’s winning the award for highest-performing sales professional in the office. Or maybe it’s the fact that you sold your last business for $50 million.
Whenever you suffer a setback, I want you to overwhelm those feelings with good feelings. If you’ve suffered a setback, I want you to do 3 specific things to reinforce the good in your life. Those good feelings will overwhelm the bad feelings. Never ever leave the office or never ever go to bed on a down note.
I’ll leave you with this analogy so that we can really drive this home. Those of you who have listened to the podcast, no, I’m a huge baseball fan, I’m a big baseball fanatic. My son plays baseball. He’s 7 years old. We practice every single day. He plays on a team that plays year round. Here in South Miami, baseball is like a religion.
Whenever you’re in the batting cage and pitching to my son or I’m pitching to the other members of his team, you always want the guy who’s hitting, the gal who’s hitting because there are women on our team too, you always want them to leave the cage after they have gotten the perfect hit, after they hit a line drive that crushes the screen right in front of the pitcher where they hit a line dry back over the pitchers head. That’s how you want them to leave the batting cage.
You never want them to leave the cage on a swing and a miss. You never want them to leave the cage on a weak foul ball, you want them to leave the cage when they’ve made great contact and the ringing sound of the bat hitting the ball is in their ears and the sound of the ball hitting the sides of the cage is the last thing they hear when they walk out. They hear a good job from the coach, good job from everyone waiting to get in the cage.
You want them to leave on that high not because that’s the thing they take away. When you’ve had a setback and you want to be resilient, you always leave the office thinking about talking to a client, after you talk to a client, after you’ve read your testimonials, and after you’ve focused on the most positive thing you can think of.
Those three things help blunt the feeling you have from the setback or the rejection or the adversity. In some way, it helps you reset your mind. Some setbacks are easier to overcome than others but whenever you catch yourself feeling that pull of sadness or depression related to the setback, I want you to do those 3 things because I want you to walk out of that cage. I want you to walk out of the office. I want you to put your head on the pillow at night thinking about the best things that happened and not about the setback. That’s how you develop your resilient muscle.
Samir, that was a great question, I really appreciate. As you can tell, I get fired up about this because that’s the one thing that has been responsible for my success. I haven’t had fewer setbacks than anyone else. I have the same number of setbacks that you have. I just come back from them stronger. I come back from them quicker.
If you want to connect with someone, if you want to connect with somebody who you can provide value to, the first thing you need to do is you need to connect with yourself and you need to have that self-awareness so that you can punch through any of that resistance and negativity, and bounce back even stronger than you were before.
Samir, thanks for the question. To those of you who are listening, I appreciate you listening. You can reach out to me with your questions on social media. You can find me on twitter, Facebook and Instagram @thedavelorenzo. That’s the @thedavelorenzo. I want to say thank you to Nancy Pop, our producer. Thank you to Samir for the question. I want to tank you for listening. I’ll be right back here with you again next week.
Here are three additional resources you can use to take control of your business:
The Most Important Quality for a Sales Professional
Do you know how to bounce back from rejection? This article will help you do that.
The Money You Are Leaving On The Table
If you are not doing this one thing, you are missing out on making good money.
Improve Sales Results: Focus on Progress not Perfection
Do not get hung up on perfection. Strive to make progress each day.