Life After 'No' in Sales

Anyone in sales knows that heading in to work can be quite challenging.  This is especially true if you are a commissioned professional “in the draw”.  Nothing is more frustrating than fighting for your financial life while prospective clients inexplicably shut your sales pitch down before ever having a chance to say as much as "hello."

It is my experience that in these times it easy to forget every bit of sales training you ever received. Sales scripts, second-efforts and numerous ways to close have no real purpose when you feel that you’re essentially selling to a brick wall.

For today’s piece, I’d like to share a few ideas after being rejected by a would-be client.

Drop the Shark MentalityIf you are finding that customers are turning you down left and right, it may be a function of how you approach them.  I’ve seen many sales professionals attack their prospects like prey; they bombard them with a series of open-ended questions while sniffing out any hint of vulnerability and ultimately move in for the close or kill.  Step back and remember you are dealing with a real person – someone that would most likely respond positively to being treated like a person rather than a quota. As you push beyond the disappointment of a “no”, remember that you’ll realize more success when talking with customers rather to them.

When Can We Speak Again?When making cold calls, I remember speaking with a gentleman that abruptly stopped me and told me that he was not interested.  At that point, I asked if I could call him sometime again in the distant future. To my surprise, he said the following week would suffice.  Unbeknownst to me, he was knee-deep in a mini emergency at his office when I called and simply wanted to get me off the phone to tend to the matter.  Upon contacting him the following week, I was greeted by an apologetic, attentive sales prospect.  If today’s opportunity is out of reach, build toward future connections.  You never know what can happen.

I Need Your FeedbackImagine that you’ve just given the sales presentation of a lifetime but those who you made your pitch to are severely underwhelmed – to the point where you know that you have no chance of closing the deal. Do yourself and your client a favor and ask what went wrong.  When you do this, be sure that the customer clearly understands that you are not trying to sell them again. Instead, let them know that you are seeking to improve on what you do. Ask them for honest feedback on things such as your delivery, price, product features (or lack thereof) and so on. This may be a bit tough to endure but you’ll be better suited for your subsequent sales calls if you can adjust based on what you hear.

Walter Dailey is a marketing consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in radio ads and jinglesfor small to medium size businesses throughout the US and Canada.  Ask Walter your questions at