On average, a salesperson, when dealing with new sales opportunities, gets told NO 80% of the time. That’s just counting the sales that we can’t close, which have made it through the sales process as a qualified opportunity. This doesn’t include all of the NO’s we get when we are prospecting, asking for appointments, or conducting any other sales activities. As a sales professional, you hear NO more than you hear YES, and that can be a challenging dynamic of the profession. However, it is also what sets “sales professionals” apart from “salesman”. A sales professional will persevere, continue to grind and strategize on ways to get more YES’s. I argue that a good sales professional should be accomplishing a closing rate of 40% – 50% of the opportunities he or she engage in.

There are several reasons a customer might say NO to any sales professional. What I would like to do is identify some of the reasons I  have experienced and successful navigation around those NO’s or “objections”. A common misconception is that an objection is a bad thing, whereas I believe that objections are good because they are commonly buying signals. When I hear an objection, I lick my chops and know that I have engaged the prospect, they are visualizing our partnership, and they are wanting the reassurance of how the partnership will look so that they can move forward with implementation. Now that “objections” have been addressed, we can move onto “Why Customer’s Say No”.

  1. You don’t directly relate your program solution to one of the prospect’s business challenges
  2. The sales process was convoluted and confusing
  3. Communication breakdowns, both internally or externally
  4. Being slow to bring your solution(s) to market
  5. Spending too much time selling company facing, rather than customer facing. This happens when you focus too much on talking about you and your company vs. the customer and their business
  6. Created a “me too” environment instead of a “solutions” environment
  7. You established yourself as a vendor rather than a business partner
  8. Failed to quantify and relate the value of your program(s)
  9. An environment wasn’t created where the customer envisions themselves using your program or doing business with you
  10. An “Us & Them” transaction was created rather than a “We” encounter

The list could go on and on and on, but this is my top 10. As we evaluate the characteristics of a failed attempt to win business, a common theme shows itself. Customers want to engage with partners that understand their business, are able to have partnership discussions regarding the prospect’s challenges/concerns, and be able to clearly envision how your program solution will improve their organization. Many salesmen make the mistake of talking more than they listen and are more self-indulging instead of seeking an empathetic approach to their prospect’s business.

So, how does one minimize the chances of a prospect or customer saying no and improve their closing ratio from average to one that escalates a company’s revenue and allows you to blow your goals out of the water? You implement a process which creates a platform to proliferate your sales results. At FlexPAC, we utilize our proven process, “The Operation Maximizer” to create and deliver a unified message to our customer and prospect base. The benefit of having this process makes it easy for our customer/prospective partners to envision the steps necessary to arrive at our solutions. It is a clear and concise roadmap, which alleviates some of the perceived pressures of a change at the customer level. Is it a cookie cutter process every time, no, but it is a great tool to use when onboarding a new customer partner or implementing a program enhancement as a continuous improvement opportunity.

Whether you’re a salesman looking to become a sales professional, a sales professional looking to enhance your game, or a sales leader seeking to re-invigorate your team, unifying around a standardized message will increase your sales closure ratio. The less your customer’s say no, the faster you will reach and exceed your goals. Happy selling!


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