When selling, “Yes” and “No” don’t always mean “Yes” and “No”

Early in my career as an investment representative, I had booked an appointment with someone who seemed quite eager to learn more about how I could help them with their portfolio, but when I showed up at their house, they weren’t as enthusiastic. They weren’t cold but they didn’t immediately hand over their cash to have me invest it for them.

I learned a hard lesson about selling to clients: “Yes” and “No” don’t always mean “Yes” and “No”.

Selling your financial or real estate services to a prospective client might result in a positive or negative response when we first talk about what we do. And a positive response from the prospective client might inspire us to blaze full steam ahead while a negative response from the prospective client might cause us to slam on the brakes. We tend to think of “yes” and “no” as being binary responses – either a fully positive yes or a fully negative no.

But what successful financial and real estate professional know is: There are many levels of “Yes” and “No” when selling… they aren’t two responses; they represent a spectrum of responses.

To show you what I mean, I’ve mapped out a few points between the most resounding yes (the bullet at the top of the list) and the most resounding no (the bullet at the bottom of the list)… and then I listed some of the shades in between.

(The “Yes” side of the spectrum)

  • Yes! Absolutely I am eager to get going right this instant and there is nothing holding me back from immediately committing 110% of my resources and attention.
    • Yes! I want to move forward and I’m interested in moving forward as quickly as possible.
      • Yes! I want to move forward soon.
        • I am interested in moving forward.
          • This sounds interesting and I’ll listen.
            • I need more information.
          • I’m not sure this is right for me.
        • I don’t think I’m interested
      • No! I don’t want whatever you’re selling right now. I don’t need it at this present time.
    • No! I don’t want whatever you’re selling. It’s not right for me.
  • No! I don’t ever want to see you again. As soon as you leave, I’m going to change my name so you can never ever get in touch with me.

(The “No” side of the spectrum)

Obviously it’s impossible to capture all of the degrees between yes and no but I’ve listed enough to give you an idea of what I’m talking about — yes and no aren’t binary; they’re two points on a much larger spectrum.

So, when you’re selling and you hear “yes” or “no”, keep investigating.

You might discover that the “yes” isn’t as eager as you were hoping for. You might need to increase the sense of urgency once you’ve sold them initially on the concept of you helping them… to turn a “Yes, later” into a “Yes, now!”

Or, you might discover that the “no” isn’t as much of a rejection as you thought it was. Perhaps they have objections that they can’t formulate in their mind. You might need to ask questions to help turn a “No, I’m not convinced” into a “Yes, now!”

No matter what you hear the customer saying, that’s not the final word… you need to go deeper to find out what they really mean.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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