Most people, as prospects, don’t want to say “no” to salespeople. We are typically more comfortable to say “yes” to small commitments than to stop the process – even if we never intend to purchase.
This is a serious time-sink for both prospects and vendors!
Consider the following engagement:
- Prospect reaches out to vendor asking to see a demo.
- Overview demo is delivered, and prospect doesn’t see the offering as a good fit, but doesn’t say so!
- Vendor asks, “What did you think?” and prospect responds, “It’s OK…”
- Vendor says, “Well, let’s organize a deep dive demo for you – how is next week?”
- Prospect responds, “Um, sure…”
- Vendor preps demo.
- Next week comes and vendor presents deep dive demo.
- Vendor asks, “What did you think?” and prospect responds, “Well…”
- Vendor says, “What you like to do a trial?” and prospect responds, “Well, OK…”
- Vendor sets up trial.
- Vendor and prospect run trial over a few weeks.
- At the end of the trial, Vendor asks, “What did you think?” Prospect responds, “Well, not really sure…”
This opportunity never closed and is probably listed as a “No Decision” outcome. That’s a big investment for no change. We might call this a “No-No” – there was no definite “No”!
Even worse, sales teams are taught to “handle objections” in an effort to convince a prospect to continue this unproductive process. This opportunity was not going to close for this vendor since the prospect didn’t see the product as a good fit, but was uncomfortable telling the vendor, “No”.
So, what if the prospect had responded, “No, this doesn’t look like a good fit” after the first demo and the vendor elegantly responded, “I understand. I’m glad we were able to invest the time together. Perhaps we can revisit this as our product evolves and your situation changes…”
That would have spared everyone the time and other resources consumed in a mutually non-productive process.
Here’s a thought: before pursuing “next steps” in a sales process, particularly if the prospect doesn’t seem compelled by your offering, consider saying, “If you’d like to continue this process, great. However, it’s also OK if you tell me ‘No, this isn’t a good fit at this time.’ That will help both of us…!”