Why does everyone tell me no?
Admit it, you've asked yourself this question many times. Few experiences are more frustrating than presenting your best marketing materials – sales sheets, videos, testimonials, demos and more – just to receive the prosaic ‘sorry, it's really not for us' response. Ugh!
The reality of being an inventor is that you may receive many no's – just as I did. The insurance sales person's credo ‘every no brings you that much closer to your next yes' is still true. But being rejected by a key decision-maker still stings; and if you pitch your product often, you will be getting a lot of no's.
But, there are ways to get value from every no and to gather valuable information that can get you to yes sooner – often much sooner – than you think. Read on.
Why No is the Easiest Answer
Successful negotiators learn to think like their opponents – see things from their viewpoint.
For example, let's assume you are meeting with a company that might be interested in licensing your invention. You are confident your new invention will sell millions – all you need is someone to get it ‘out there' through a strong distribution network and life will be great. If you can show them just how great your product is, they will be champing at the bit to close the deal, right?
Well, not exactly. Walk around the table and sit on their side and you'll see a very different view of things. Perhaps the company has taken a beating in the stock market lately, management under pressure to increase profits and cut costs. Rolling out any new, unproven product is risky and may cost millions to source, manufacture and distribute. Nonetheless, they are willing to at least take a look at what you have, to consider a proposal. For them, no is the easiest answer. In fact, no is always the easiest answer – no one ever got fired for saying ‘no' to something new.
So, is there a strategy for getting to ‘yes'?
Sure there is. Your product must look like a slam-dunk decision for them. Show them how your product can carve market share from their biggest competitor. Describe how it will make a great addition to their product line. Tell them about how your customers love your product (only if it is true, of course). It is all about them – not you and your product. Clearly and concisely show them how your product could be a great addition to their line of products, how it could carve share from their competitors, delight their customers. You will have their rapt attention – and you might just get a yes, or at least a maybe instead of a no.
Every No Provides an Opportunity for a Yes
It took me a while to realize that I was ‘leaving money on the table' by not properly leveraging no's.
How can you possibly leverage a rejection – a no? Let me give you an example. I had the opportunity to present my wallet to a buyer from JC Penney. Going into the meeting, I knew two things: I had only about 15 minutes to pitch to him; and I was certain he would not actually buy from me – a guaranteed no.
So, why bother to meet at all?
Here is why. There were two very valuable pieces of information I could get from him – if a product like mine could sell at JC Penney (he said yes) and what might they pay at wholesale for it (less than I had hoped)? He said no on my offer, but I scored a big win with two valuable pieces of information. I also knew I needed to find a lower cost source for my thin wallets if I wanted to sell into retail. That is how you leverage a no.
Another valuable tactic is to work creatively to uncover the real reason they are declining your offer. Frequently they give you a vague no – ‘it's not for us at this time.' What does that mean? Thank them for meeting with you and considering your product, then politely ask them why, specifically, they are saying no. Often they will tell you the real reason.
Want tips and tactics on how to convert no's into yes? Click here.