5 Magic Questions to Ask When Faced With a No or a Sales Objection

5 Magic Questions to Ask When Faced With a No or a Sales Objection

When a prospective customer says no to our proposal we can be tempted to take them at their word. We thank them for their time, tell them to call if we can help in the future – and leave.

But what if they didn’t really mean no.
What if their no was just a knee-jerk reaction? Perhaps they say no out of habit. Perhaps they’ve been conditioned to believe that all people selling something have been through a 1980s style double-glazing or second-hand car sales training programme.

What if they hadn’t really seen sufficient value? What if they still had some reservations or objections? What if they had just got some last minute nerves about making a decision?

(If you deserve to be converting more prospects into customers and want to chat about it over a coffee then please drop me a line.)

If you’re in front of a prospective customer I’m assuming a couple of things:

  1. You know that their life is going to be better in some way after doing business with you. They don’t know that – yet. Our job is to help them see we’re a solution to their problem or we’re going to make their life better in some way.
  2. As sales people, our role is to help them make the best buying decision possible. We all want to make great decisions. We have to give them the right quantity and quality of information to make that decision.
  3. No one likes to be sold to. But we do like to buy. Don’t sell. Help people buy.

When a prospect says no, assume they’re really saying you’ve not given them the right information or sufficient information or they still have some concerns – and stay put.

The 5 Magic Questions

  1. “I guess you’ve got some concerns that I’ve not fully covered. Could you tell me what’s concerning you? ……Could you elaborate on that?” Take Notes. Then say:
  2. “I see. Are there any other concerns that you have?” If there are, listen, take notes, and ask again until you’ve flushed out all their concerns.
  3. “Just supposing for the moment that ­­­______ was not a concern, then you’d want to go ahead?”

If the answer to question 3 is no, ask question 4. If the answer is yes, ask question 5.

  1. “Then I guess there must be some other reason? May I ask what it is?”
  2. “I guess we should invest some time talking about _______ in more detail. Does that make sense?”

There’s nothing to loose from trying this, assuming you believe that your prospect’s life is going to be better if you do business together.

We’re attracted to authenticity so you could even just say, “Bob, I know that you’re going to be better off if we work together. I must be doing a crap job at explaining the reasons why? What concerns have you got that I’ve not addressed?”

If your prospective customer says no several times then perhaps they do mean no. Although you should assume what they really mean is no, not at the moment. Leave on good terms, follow-up with a card or letter and an agreement to touch-base in, say, 6 months or 12 months.

I’d like to think about it is a euphemism for no.

Respond with “Yes, I’d want to do the same if I were you. What specifically is it you want to think about?” or “Great. Most of my clients like to think things over. What they find most useful is to do their thinking out loud whilst I’m here to help. What are the things you want to think about?”

If at the end of your discussions they still want to think about it, agree a date and time when you’re going to meet or speak and make sure it’s in their diary – and follow up after the meeting with a letter or card highlighting how your solution meets their needs and benefits them. It’s always best to meet face-to-face rather than speak over the phone.

And no one should be dumped by email so get to commit to not doing that!

Don’t let their last words be I’ll get back to you. Keep control. Nothing open-ended.

If you’d like to discuss improving any aspect of your sales process or look at how you can improve your conversion rate then please give me a call on 07931 882 555 or simply drop me a line now.




Mark Dyble

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