Thursday, September 9, 2010
A great post from Real LaPlaine...
Author, salesman, top negotiator and one hell of a human being, Real has a few things to say about the word "NO" and they are worth listening to. I hope you are as inspired as I was! Thanks Real
DEATH BY ”NO”
By Réal Laplaine
Marketing Chief Nutrinacks AB
In the main, we don´t like to hear the word NO – sales people in particular really abhor that word. No means, NO, I don´t agree, I won´t do it, I won´t buy your product.
Out of experience I offer this perspective on the word NO, since I am engaged in sales and marketing in the company I work at, but having lived enough of life and seeing this principle in action, it seems to have some validity and is worth throwing on the table for your consideration.
Case in point, had I listened to that word NO, I would not have been happily married now for the last 16 years. There were enough NOs along the way to the start of my marriage to sink a battleship, but I never listened to any of them. My sense on it, which I tend to follow in spite of all the reasons not to, was that this was the right gal for me and in spite of all the acceptable reasons otherwise, proffered up by friends and associates, I went with it. One of the best decisions I ever made.
As a writer, and I am sure other writers will agree with me, if you have issue with the word NO, and are sensitive to that two letter word, then you´re going to have a rough go at it. Not everyone will agree with your writings. Not every publisher will necessarily throw out the red carpet to you and in fact, many may not. I refrain from using absolutes because of course it can be different for different people.
No is a relative term. It can be absolute, but in many cases it is not. In my experience, the trick to it, if there is a trick at all, is to believe in yourself and what you are trying to get accepted or sold. There lies the trick… TRUTH. If you believe in what you are doing or saying, and if you think it is good, right or a good buy, then say so. If you don´t believe in what you´re selling (even if it´s YOU) then don´t bother because then it´s a toss of the dice, a gamble whether or not people will buy it because you don´t believe it yourself.
Let´s take a really mundane and impersonal subject such as selling a product to a customer. You walk in and offer your product, maybe they are a small store owner or maybe they head up a chain of stores. They listen politely and say no thanks. Being that we are generally polite and nonintrusive as civil people, we tend not to pry, but I advise this approach as a possible means of breaking through the no barrier. Ask politely, WHY? Don´t go sugar-coated or insincere or try to give them “a deal” and certainly don´t start knocking the competition. People see through that approach like a glass window. If the best you can do is to speak badly about your competition then you don´t belong in sales. Honesty is the best approach in my opinion and experience. Ask them why, and mean it. Invite them to talk to you. So you did your initial sales pitch, played your best cards (you think) and the owner says “no thanks”. Now is the time to be willing to hear what they REALLY have to say. His or her NO could very easily be the most polite thing they can say to you. But what´s behind that? What are they really thinking? If you are willing to ask them, and LISTEN to them, and let them vent that off, and not come back with a defensive statement or criticize them or make them feel wrong for saying what they really think, then you´re going to have a chance somewhere along the line to actually sell yourself.
When you are honest with people, and invite them to be honest with you, you get real communication to happen, and the result of that is real understanding. When two people can come to an understanding, even about things that they disagree about, then viewpoints can change. If the communication is not real, or sincere, your chances of breaking through the NO barrier are much less.
You would be amazed to find that the man or woman who says no several times, will, if you continue to invite them to tell you why and LISTEN, suddenly decide to sign with your company or product because they see you in someone who cares and isn´t just trying to sell them a product by any means they can.
I once had a guy tell me, in the course of a thirty minute interview, NO at least several times and insisting that he wasn´t going to change his mind. I invited him to tell me more about it, why, etc, and after a while I realized what it was that was holding him back. I said a few words to him, but they were the right words he needed to hear, the TRUTH, and he signed promptly. The only reason I knew what to say was that I had listened to him and was willing to hear his repeated NOs, and the barrage of reasons behind those NOs. Without that I would have been pitching balls to an empty field.
I am not a great salesman. I never was, and maybe, never will be. But I do know that where I have sold it was based on sincerity, honesty and a willing attitude to sit there and grant the other person the right to say NO and listen to their reasons. And I was completely willing to walk away from that meeting without a sale too. Let´s face it, there are 6 billion people on the planet, and a failed sale here and there is not the end of the world, and sometimes, it´s better for both parties to let it go.
Réal Laplaine is the Marketing Chief Nutrinacks AB, a Swedish based company located in Göteborg Sweden, which distributes high quality naturgodis (nuts and dried fruits prepared with or without chocolate, yogurt etc) as well as organic products in the same genre. He is also a writer and author, having recently published a book in the United States and has several other books coming out in the near future through other publishing agencies.
Marketing Chief Nutrinacks AB and Author
Datavagen 57 A
Askim 436 32 SWEDEN