1. Have a Party for “No”

Great sales people hear “No” all the time.
Are you wondering if I spiked my coffee?

Think about it.  The top performers in sales pitch new people and companies every single day, many times a day.  It is impossible to hear “Yes” every time.

I’ve worked (quite successfully) in a commission only environment, building a reputation and client base from scratch.  Translation, I made a ton of cold, positively frigid, sales calls to get started.  There was one piece of advice that kept me going.

I was told selling in that particular industry I could expect to hear 100 No’s for every “Yes”. My mentor said I could look at it two ways, be depressed (tempting, very tempting), or be happy every time I heard “No” (that’s when I wondered if she had been nipping at the bottle).

She explained that the 100 to 1 ratio was very consistent, so each “No” was bringing me closer to success.  Of course I might hit the jackpot on the 11th call, while another time need to make 107 calls, but on average I would win one new client out of every 100 decision maker calls.

I immediately created a scoreboard, marking off each “No”.  Every time I got a prospect to say “No” I celebrated. That much closer to success! Did it work?  You bet. This kept me motivated until my first paying client (and paycheck) came in over two months later.

Selling is a head game. Next time you hear “No” do a little happy dance.  It means you are that much closer to hearing “Yes”.

2. Use An Objection Decoder Ring

Who doesn’t want to be a secret agent?  Or at least have the James Bond lifestyle we expect of secret agents? And all the cool gadgets Bond gets courtesy of Q.

Any secret agent worth his salt can decode messages quickly and accurately.  Can you imagine the mess if a spy decoded the message, “All clear” to say “Bombs away”?

Over time you will build up your own decoder cheat sheet.  Here are a few of mine to get you started.

  • It is a bit expensive for our budget = I want it but you need to help me afford it.  Offer me a deal or explain how it pays for itself.
  • Of course I think it’s amazing, but my partner / boss / janitor hates it and there is just no changing his mind = I don’t want to be the bad guy so I’m blaming someone else for saying no.  Move on, there is no sale here.
  • Let me run it by the VP of ________________.  Perhaps the three of us could do a call = I like it but I’m not the decision maker.  I will advocate for you internally.

3. Be The Big Cheese On Campus

Back in college there was at least one guy or gal you knew who was plugged in to everything.  They knew who the best (and worst) professors were.  They knew about all the cool parties happening next weekend.  If you needed an expert on 18th Century French Literature they could hook you up.

Most importantly they knew you.

They knew you, they talked to you, and they helped you.  In fact they helped everyone. When the time came that Big Cheese needed assistance people would fight over the opportunity.

Big Cheese is moving this weekend?  20+ people will show up to help, guaranteed.  Big Cheese needs help with Advanced Statistics?  Before you can blink the top tutors will have reserved time, gratis, for him/her.

You can do this in business too.  Connect people that you think might help each other, even when there is zero benefit to you.  Share relevant tidbits or articles with those in your network that would truly benefit from them (this must be targeted and personal, no blanket emails). Honor legitimate requests for introductions to others in your network.

Next time you need an introduction, some inside scoop or a niche expert, your network will be there, ready and waiting.

4. Don’t forget the Pit Crew

No race car can win without a skilled and efficient crew.  No executive runs their department or business without a top notch assistant and a talented team.  Stop and chat for a minute, show genuine interest, and be sure to say thanks.

It sounds easy, almost inane, but I’ve gotten more than one important scoop because I treated the crew with respect.

5. Live from NY, it’s _____________

Humor opens doors and makes you memorable.

One of the biggest hurdles in sales is turning a potentially adversarial relationship to a friendly one.  The quickest way to do this is inject some humor (keep it G Rated!).

Smile, joke and jest.  Start with self-deprecating humor.  If you can make fun of yourself others immediately conclude you must be ok.  Being a credentialed actuary I love to tell jokes about how boring and analytical actuaries are reputed to be.

Final Thoughts

What is the one habit that never fails to boost your sales?  Why not share a joke you could tell about yourself or your profession that is sure to bring down barriers?  Or you could tell one about boring actuaries.