Humans are either open or close minded to any suggestion. Once the mind is closed its nigh impossible to open it back up again until that person wants to re-open their mind.
This “open/close minded” idea pops up when our prospect or client says “we’re switching / going in different direction / going with your competitor” or something similar. Our prospect is now close minded to working with us.
As professionals “no” is the beginning, not the ending of a conversation, but we have two choices as to how we have that conversation after hearing “no.”
- Beg – the best version of this is asking for another chance, promising to do better, offering a discount and/or extra services for free. The worst version is us getting our emotional needs met by saying something like, “so you’re confident that <chosen competitor> can deliver/meet your needs/not screw up?” (yes, salespeople say that). Either version does nothing more than break rapport with our prospect and likely ends our chances of ever working with them again.
- Take away the awkwardness of doing business again – few people want to go back to a salesperson and say they made a mistake so they’re likely to stay with the devil they do know instead of the angel they don’t. We take the awkwardness away from our prospect and differentiate ourselves from the salespeople who try to beg, by saying something like, “I totally respect your decision. Say, if things don’t turn out the way you hoped, I certainly hope they will, don’t ever feel awkward about picking up the phone and reconnecting with me. No hard feelings.”
One of our clients regained a client who switched to a different technical provider a few months before. When our client asked their client why they came back so quickly they were told that they had made it okay for their client to admit that things weren’t going so well with their new provider so their client was comfortable calling our client and asking to reengage.
Hearing “no” doesn’t mean we’re going to pack up our stuff and go home. We will still ask a few questions to help us understand why our prospect made the choice they did, but how we approach that conversation determines how likely we are to ever talk to that prospect again.
Until next time… go sell something.