Sales reps often deal with rejection from prospective clients when pitching their product. However, knowing how to spin a customer ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ could help you economize your efforts as a sales rep.
Three decades ago, a famous study carried out by anthropologist Albert Mehrabian, proved something incredible: only 7% of what we communicate is verbal. The remaining 93% consists of the use of our voice, including tone and intonation (38%), as well as the use of body language (55%). So what can we draw from this? Is it possible to get a sale back on track if we re-establish a rapport with the client and don’t give up after the first hurdle?
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from neuromarketing, it’s that purchase decisions are not always based on reason. Emotions, wishes, prejudices and beliefs also come into play. Completely arbitrary factors such as the color of a product can also have an effect. So remember, the next time your client says “no,” stop and think if you’re really stuck in front of an insuperable barrier. Sometimes the client isn’t even aware themselves that their answer could be swayed… that is, if you know how to steer the situation your way. It just takes a bit of skill.
The importance of persistence when selling
If you’re still not convinced and don’t see how a definitive “no” could turn into a “yes”, look to the famous example of R.U. Darby in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. The author tells an interesting story with a very inspirational message.
A stone’s throw away FROM GOLD
R.U. Darby was an insurance salesman. He previously tried his luck drilling gold during the California Gold Rush with his uncle, who owned a license to mine on a small gold deposit.
However, their plot soon ran dry of the precious metal. Or so they thought… Little did they know that there was a huge gold vein less than a meter from where they had stopped drilling.
The experience taught Darby to be more persistent, and even helped him become one of the best insurance salespeople in history, earning billions of dollars each year from his sales.
So remember, never exit a sale before trying at least one of these closing techniques. They’ll help you speed up a client’s purchase decision and even save a sale in time before it’s lost. You never know when you’re less than a mile away from striking gold.
Don’t be too quick to Admit Defeat
Shortly after the mining stint, Darby helped his uncle once again, this time on a large farm where a number of African American sharecrop farmers worked and lived.
One afternoon, a daughter of a tenant asked Darby’s uncle for 50 cents that she needed for her mother. The uncle refused and told the young girl to leave. However, she stood firmly aground. Darby knew his uncle had a terrible temper and thought he would hit the child. In those days, it was often acceptable for children to be mistreated by adults. What’s more, everyone knew how white people treated other races. His uncle picked up a barrel and started towards the young girl. However, she took a step forward and looked up straight into his eyes screaming at the top of her voice “My mama needs those 50 cents!” And so, the uncle against all his character gave her the money.
Napoleon Hill tells the story as Darby saw and heard it play out:
“After she had gone, the uncle sat down on a box and looked out the window into space for more than ten minutes. He was pondering with awe, over the whipping he had just taken.”
That afternoon, R.U. Darby learnt that a “No” doesn’t always mean “No.” It was a little lesson that reminded him of what he had learnt from the mine, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”
Now you know when a client says “no,” it’s not a reason to give up. The challenge is turning their answer into a “yes” and knowing how to do this. To help, we’ve shared a couple of pointers on body language that you can read here.
Interpreting body language to close more sales
You must first know where your clients stand in order to get them to say “yes.” This means distinguishing the point of no return between the light at the end of the tunnel that you can just reach to secure the sale.
Interpreting body language in this way will tell you if you should pursue the sale or if you’re wasting your time (although we’ve already explained the importance of persistence). It’s also useful to know whether or not the client is being 100% honest with their answer, or if they’re trying to dissuade themselves from buying your product. Make the most out of all these signals so you can choose a strategy to counter their objections.
#1. Head held high or hung low
The inclination of the head can tell you just how much your client is concentrating on your pitch.
If their chin is positioned below horizontal, it’s a signal that the client is uninterested or bored.
However, if they’re doing the opposite it usually denotes some form of interest. But watch out! If they’re looking too far up towards the ceiling, this also expresses boredom.
#2. Arms and/or legs crossed
Generally speaking… this is not a great sign. The client is on the defensive and is probably not interested in what you’ve got to say. It could also reflect that they’re usually a cold and impatient person.
#3. Arms and/or palms open
Congratulations! If they’re creating any form of barrier around their torso, the person you have in front of you is receptive to what you have to say or offer. The openness of their body indicates a good readiness for communication, one of the major clues of interest. So if you’re lucky enough to have overcome the gestures of the point before, know that you’re making progress.
If arms are separate from the body with open palms that are slightly face upwards, it’s usually a sign of sincerity. Your client might make this gesture if they’re about to disagree with you, but at least you know that whatever they’re about to say will be something honest, so you can use this information to make your next move.
#4. A nod of the head
You guessed it! This means “no.” But what kind of “no”? Something nonnegotiable? Or the kind that’s hiding an open door that leads to a closed sales deal?
Experts say that if a head shake goes from left to right, the negation is sincere. On the other hand, if the rotation of the head is the opposite (right to left), their “no” could be hiding something.
Applied to the right situations, this information can be of utmost importance to you as a sales rep.
#5. Head nod
If your client nods their head, keep an eye out if they move it from up to down, since this means they’re telling the truth. However, if you notice them go from down to up, they don’t really mean what they’re saying.
Don’t forget to keep in mind the context of these gestures, since on their own they might not mean much and could lead you to draw some wrong conclusions. It’s important to look at the situation as a whole.
If you’re successful in interpreting these signals in their context, you’ll have many tools to get your clients to say “yes” and easily close more sales.