There is the old adage that says
The sales begins when the customer says No!
It’s the adage we, sales people, use to make ourselves feel in control and to not give up so early. We hear often statements like this to act as motivation to keep from laying down our sword and quitting the fight.
The truth is, there is no truth to this statement. The customer’s no has little bearing on weather the deal is really lost or not.
The sale doesn’t begin when the customer says no but it’s not over when the customer says no either. The only time a deal is lost is when both sides of the deal, the prospect and the sales person recognize there is no value to be had in the deal.
I wrote about this last week for Hubspot. You can read it here, but I also wanted to share it on A Sales Guy as well. Understanding when a deal is really lost is critical. Too many sales people AND prospects stop the sale prematurely. Conversely, too many sales people and prospects hang on too long, trying to work a deal that just shouldn’t be made.
Here’s how I break it down;
A deal is only lost when there is no perceived value from BOTH the sales person and the buyer — period!
Sometimes the sales person understands the value, and the buyer doesn’t. So yup, it’s the sales person job to get the prospect to see the value they don’t see. Just because the customer says no doesn’t mean there is no value. Unfortunately there are times the sales person just doesn’t “get it” and they buyer will go cold because they can’t see the value that exists. This is far too common, because most sales people are too busy pitching a product and have no clue what specific value they’re selling. Either way, it’s in the bottom right quadrant that most deals are lost unnecessarily. Why? Because the sales person is incapable of communicating and demonstrating the value of their solution or product to the buyer, so the buyer doesn’t buy. But the deal wasn’t lost, it was given away — via shitty selling. It artificially puts a deal in the bottom left quadrant
Other times, the buyer sees the value but for some reason the sales person doesn’t. In these cases the buyer just buys. The sales person feels like the luckiest person in the world. They think they just won the lottery. Truth is, the buyer understood the value in what the sales person was selling and just didn’t want to waste their time trying to get the sales person to see it.
When both the client and buyer see value, that’s when selling nirvana happens. Everyone is working together and the best possible deal is in play.
The only time a deal is really lost is when the buyer and the sales person recognize there is no value. When no value exists, then the deal is dead. It’s that simple.
If there is value, keep selling. Dig deeper, be more clear, provide more information, create strong use cases, get supporters, do what ever you need to do to make sure your buyer understands the value, ’cause if there is value, the deal ain’t dead.
If there isn’t value, then just stop, it’s over.