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NO, I Would Not Like to Date You

NO, I Would Not Like to Date You

It's not you, it's me! The word NO is a word that's very difficult to say - especially in a business setting. The old adage, "Don't take no for an answer" in this modern age, just might get you arrested.

Anyone involved in sales will tell you that the chances of rejection are always high - nobody wants to be told no. The prospective client doesn't want to say it - perhaps out of fear of appearing rude - and the new biz person simply doesn't want to hear it.

But wouldn't be refreshing if the person on the end of the phone would simply state: "You know I like you, I appreciate what your company brings to the table, but I'm really not interested in doing business with you, now or forever!"

Alright that last part might be a little extreme, but you get the idea. So, unfortunately for the new biz pro, this is a typical sales log when courting that new prospect:

  • 4/5 - Left message with Mary; follow-up in two days
  • 4/7 - Left message again; follow-up in three days
  • 4/9 - Received call from Mary; she said she is reviewing our proposal (Yay, progress!)
  • 4/11 - I called and left message with Mary
  • 4/14 - I called and left message again (I hate my life!)
  • 4/17 - I called and left message again
  • 4/23 - I finally got a hold of Mary; she said that she has reviewed our proposal and is considering it (Cool, this might be it!)
  • 4/26 - Called and left message
  • 4/30 - Called and left message
  • 5/3 - I spoke to Mary and she is still thinking about our proposal; she is not certain when she will make a decision (very sad now..:(

And on and on and on it goes. This sales dance can go on for months. Prospecting for new business is like dating. You find someone you like (do business with). You ask them out for a date (first business meeting). You decide to date (they sign your proposal).

However some courtships take much longer than others. That is unless the new biz person takes the initiative and puts an assertive end to this endless chain of back-and-forth.

This is our approach at TheEyeWorks. After so much communication with a prospect, or worse, when a prospect goes into hiding, we send them our "We haven't heard from you in while" email. It's a humorous attempt at getting the prospect to make a decision so that we can go on with our professional lives - and it gives them a way out.

So to the prospect: We are all professionals. Just as you wish to be treated with courtesy and respect, please treat the new business professional in the same manner. It's alright to say no, if the answer is no. State it firmly and with resolve, but with empathy and respect. This will allow the sales person to move on to other prospects.

To the new biz pro: We are all professionals. Don't forget that you also fall into this category. Don't be afraid of the word "No". No, is liberating and gives you the freedom to move onto other prospects that will find value in what you are proposing. Not to worry, you will find that next date. There is a world of business out there - Go out and get it!

Image: Horia Varlan, "The word no made from jigsaw puzzle pieces", via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution.

Posted by Eli Hernandez on 06/29 at 11:32 AM in Business

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