Ask for the NO

Ask for the “NO!”

Probing the customer for negative feedback seems counter-intuitive, but a key part of opportunity qualification is to find out if your prospective customer will verbalize that they do not want to begin or continue working with you. Rather than blindly proceeding down a path that may lead to nowhere (no deal), ask for the “NO” throughout.

Salespeople are trained to ask—to ask for executive access; to ask for agreement to proceed with specific actions; to ask how things can be moved forward; to ask for the order. This means they should also be able to ask for the “NO” as well. To ask for the “NO” is a way to flip the conversation so you can get answers to key questions that will help you judge whether you are engaging with a good prospective customer or whether you should move on to better and more lucrative deals.

Here are examples of appropriate ways you can ask your customer for the “NO”:

If you are shown that the benefits we discussed are achievable, what are your thoughts on working with us to initiate a project where you can begin realizing these benefits in three months?

How do you envision completing evaluation of candidates, selecting one, and entering into a contractual arrangement with the selected supplier by the end of this year?

As part of our customer success process, we use an Action Roadmap that helps us jointly advance through the major evaluation and contractual steps. We are asking for you to commit to work with our team jointly to create and maintain this roadmap. Will that work for you?

It is important for us to engage with your executives who will sponsor the project so we can begin to forge a great business relationship. How can our team gain an introduction to them?

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