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A Simple Sales Strategy: Change The Meaning Of "No"

by Tessa Stowe

Imagine that you are talking to a potential client and they say "no", they don't want your service. How does that make you feel?

First off, let's be clear that a "no" is just a two-letter word consisting of "n" and "o". These are just harmless characters and yet we attach so much meaning to them and give them so much power over us. We think a "no" says something about us and that our services aren't good enough. We attach so much power to a "no" that it sometimes paralyzes us. We even fear a "no" so much that we put off, or avoid, having sales conversations as we run the risk of getting the dreaded "no".

So when could a "no" be a perfectly reasonable response? A "no" could be the right response when:

  • The potential client really has no money.
  • The potential client doesn't have a problem you can solve.
  • The potential client doesn't want the problem solved now. (If they say, "No, not now," ensure you have a mechanism to keep in touch with them. A newsletter is ideal for this.)
  • The potential client doesn't want the problem solved at all.
  • You don't have the expertise or skills in the areas they need/want.

I hope you can see that all the above are perfectly valid reasons for someone saying "no". All these reasons say absolutely nothing about you and your products and services. In these situations a "no" is the right response or outcome from the conversation. In fact, in some situations you should say "no" first. I challenge you to say "no" to potential clients like this: acknowledge them for their interest but then say that you cannot help them at this time.

There are also times when you will want to say "no" to a potential client. If they don't meet the criteria of your ideal client, you will know in your heart that you will not be able to offer them your best service. You may decide to say "no" to them and refer them on.

Not everyone needs to buy from you and that's fine. There are an abundance of clients out there. Yes? You know this as you have done the proper research on your target market and the problems they have. See how important that research was?

Next time you get a "no" welcome it. In fact, play a game and see how many times you can beat a potential client to saying "no". A funny thing will start to happen. If you say "no" to potential clients, they will find you even more attractive. Contrary really, but then the sales game is full of contradictions. And that's just one of the many things I love about it.

Remember that you cannot possibly serve all the potential clients in your niche but you can serve all of those who are a perfect fit for you and your business.

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About the Author:

(c) Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2005

Tessa Stowe helps Coaches and Consultants stop struggling to sell, and instead attract clients like magic! Her FREE e-course tells you how: "Attract More Clients Naturally: 10 Simple Strategies That Work ... Even If You Hate Selling!" Sign up now at

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