Apologies from a Bad Prospect


This week, Sales Throwdown is talking about when to call it over with prospects who have never given you a definite yes or timeline of when they may buy from you. The ones that just say, “Maybe later” or “Let me think about it.” Or “my partner deals with all of that.”

AKA me.
Remember how I’m a 50/50 split between S and C? Well, when it comes to being sold to, I’m 100% S.

I despise conflict in these situations. (Okay, all situations.) Outright saying no feels so icky to me that I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s an issue that I’m aware of, and it has made things a little awkward at times. But I never really thought about the impact of it on the salesperson having to deal with me.

Until this episode.

Hearing Nannette talk about her evolution from thinking that she was doing great, everybody loved her, and they were all going to buy from her to realizing that people just don’t like telling her no…

And that it’s made her very clear in her interactions with salespeople about telling them no when she’s not interested…

I wanted to crawl under the table.

Let me officially apologize to every single salesperson who attempted to have a conversation with me and I weaseled out of it with my noncommittal, weasely ways.

Honestly, I thought I was making both of our lives easier. Yours by not having to deal with rejection, mine by not buying something I didn’t want.

But I was wrong. I was only helping myself. And I am genuinely sorry.
Now, as discussed in this episode and many others, the sales industry isn’t exactly blameless either.

Too few salespeople give their prospects the opportunity and empowerment to comfortably say no.

I’ve never, in any sales conversation I’ve been a part of, heard anybody set the expectation of, “If this is a no, can you let me know?” It’s always been more like, “Here’s what I can do for you, I’m the best, push, push, blah, blah…”

And I only rarely hear actual qualifying questions to find out if they have anything I actually need. Usually, the closest I hear is, “Who’s your current (fill in the blank) provider?” being shouted at me at Walmart.

I suppose this isn’t their fault necessarily. That’s how most of them are trained to sell.

The issue is that it doesn’t create an environment that makes it easy or comfortable for people like me to say no.

But, that’s no excuse. No matter how pushy a salesperson may seem, no matter how much I want to avoid outright rejecting somebody, the alternative is worse. I know that now.

From now on, as much as I’ll have to fight every natural inclination in my body, I vow to give people a definite no when I’m not interested. They’ll know they don’t have to keep pushing me or checking in with me, and I’ll know they can confidently move on to the next prospect and get me out of their pipeline.

And if I meet a salesperson who sets the expectation that I can turn them down if it’s not a good fit, I’ll probably just hug them. Well, I’ll hug them before I tell them no.

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