When a prospective client or customer decides not to hire us or buy from us, how can we turn their no into a yes? And how can we do this, even when they’ve had their objections or concerns fully answered and they still say ‘no’?
Faced with that kind of rejection, there are 3 broad ways we can choose to respond.
- We could just leave it. They’ve made their decision. End of story.
- We could contact them and tell them why they’re wrong and make sure they know they’ve made a big mistake. If we know the competitor who won, we could also include all the bad stuff we know about the lousy dirt bag.
- Or we could contact them and be more genial, helpful and good-natured to them, than if we had won the contract!
Yes, it’s number 3 I’m going to focus on.
Turning a prospect’s no into a yes
Imagine how the following might work, as a massively more effective way to respond to a prospect’s ‘no’.
- You contact the prospect and thank them for the time they spent with you or with your proposal.
- You also let them know, up-front, that you respect their decision. This is important. It shows you’re not doubting their ability as a decision maker.
- You could also add that as a result of their decision, you’re working to improve your proposal or presentation.
- You then find something generous to say about the competitor who won, so long as it’s true. Nothing sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek, but truly gracious.
- And finally, you let them know that if they ever need anything, you’re there for them and happy to help.
Here’s what we know for absolute certain. Very, very few people respond with that type of good-natured, yet professional strategy. But when they do, they get remembered for the very best of reasons.
Here’s what can happen
Here are just some of the outcomes this can generate for people, who were originally rejected!
In many cases, the prospect who rejected them suddenly wonders if they made the wrong decision, in choosing the other provider. I’ve (occasionally) seen this result in an immediate about-turn, with the rejected provider winning the deal.
Much more commonly, I’ve seen the rejected provider given the contract, as soon as the winning provider screws up. It’s almost as if the prospect is unconsciously looking for their original choice to fail, after becoming fully aware what a wonderful provider they rejected. By respecting the prospect’s decision and leaving the door open to them, the rejected provider makes it extremely easy for the prospect to contact them.
But that’s not all!
Ask anyone who uses this ‘turn a no into a yes!‘ strategy, and they’ll confirm that it also results in a number of referrals, from the prospects who didn’t change their mind about hiring the rejected provider.
Given the fact we have this third way to respond, it makes sense to use it and maybe turn a no into a yes!