“What Do We Say After They Tell Us ‘No’?”

The past few days, we have been looking at some of the steps in the sales process of working with people in need of aging in place services, products, or solutions such as we provide. Ideally, they have encouraged us to meet with them, like us, like our suggestions and what we have to offer, and want to engage us to complete their project. But what if the discussion it doesn’t follow the script? What if they tell us “no” along the way. Then what? 

There are many places during our initial and subsequent meetings with a client that the dialog can break down, so the negative comments and feedback we don’t want to receive but nevertheless, we are getting isn’t necessarily just toward the end of our presentation or particular meeting after we ask a closing question. It could come at many times, but the key is that it does not have to be devastating to our eventual success.

Someone may tell us “no” once or more than once during the presentation, and we may proceed to work with their concerns until we resolve them in our favor and end up creating a satisfied customer.

Of course, we can also structure our questions in such a way that we are looking for the answer to be “no.”

We must anticipate the general mood of our clients before ever meeting with them and structure our remarks, general tone, and even the nature of the improvements we suggest in light of what they are looking for, what they think they can afford, and what they are willing to accept. Obviously proposing something outside the boundaries of what they are expecting can lead to a negative response from them – even though it might be a quality suggestion otherwise.

What if we haven’t done a good enough job of explaining why we are a good fit for both them and the proposed project? Suppose they have trust or confidence concerns and are not as enthusiastic towards us as we would want, need, and expect? How do we fix that in order to proceed with convincing them that the proposed project is a good design for them?

Hearing a “no” may be a direct comment, it could be a tone of voice, a facial expression, body language, or some other signal that we are not making the proper connection with our client in order to move forward with them accepting us and embracing our suggested solution for their needs as we have interpreted them. That could be part of it also – they don’t agree with our observations or evaluation of their needs. Perhaps they think we have minimized or failed to take into account something they consider to be a more serious issue than we do, and conversely, we may assign more importance to something that they don’t think is much of an issue.

If we have done a good enough job getting them to discuss and define a budget before we ever get to the discussion of the project, we shouldn’t hear that the proposed changes are too expensive. They might have other concerns, but price should not be one of them.

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