How to Deal With No

Everyone dreads that terrible two-letter word, “No.” Some say, “I hate feeling rejected.” Others say, “I’m worried that I might offend someone or ruin a relationship.”

Here’s a simple answer for both of those dreaded situations. The key to a “no” is your reaction and what you say next. There is a perfect thing you can say next that will keep you from feeling rejected. And your potential client won’t have to feel awkward or offended, either. You may even preserve the relationship so well that they say “yes” at a later date.

Validate the client

The first thing to say is almost as simple as the two letters in “no,” but it’s just two words. “I understand.”

Saying “I understand” shows you are a kind person who cares more about the one you are talking to than about the sale. Many people expect you to try and convince them to buy. Perhaps saying something like, “Oh, but you’ll love it for this reason….” Or the other reaction you sometimes give is silence. Silence gives people the impression that you’re upset with them for not purchasing your product. Yes, you may be upset. But do you want them feeling that you’re upset with them for their decision? 

Start a regular conversation

The second thing to do if it’s someone you know well, such as a good friend or family member, is change the conversation to something you’d normally talk about. Is there a family event coming up? Are there holiday plans that need to be made? Could you inquire about something going on in their life or the life of their child? Simply change the subject to something you’d normally talk about. Basically, act NORMAL. Make them feel more important than the sale.

If it’s someone you aren’t too close to or don’t know very well, thank them for giving you the opportunity to get to know them better. Even though you may not know the individual well, similar to talking to a family member about a common topic, you can still refer to something that you discussed with them in the beginning of the conversation. Did you find out they have children, are a nurse, lived in England…? What did you learn about them? You can say something like:

  1. “It sounds like you’re an amazing nurse. Good luck in your career.”
  2. “Your children sound adorable. It sounds like you love being their mom.”
  3. “Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me about living in England.”

Referring back to something you learned about them in the beginning of your conversation shows you’re a good listener. Show them you truly want to get to know them. Let them know you care about them as a person versus as only a client.

End with an agreement

If you feel like the answer is more of a “not yet” versus “absolutely no,” make sure you come to an agreement as to when you’ll reconnect with them. Depending on the reason they give for “No, not yet,” ask them if you can follow up in a week, a month, or a couple months. Ask by saying, “May I reconnect with you in March and see how things are going?” The response most frequently is “Sure, that sounds great.” Every now and then, someone will say, “No, don’t contact me. I’ll contact you.” The nice thing about both responses is that you know what to do and when to do it. That spinning in your head and the frustration of “When should I contact them,” is eliminated.

Little things to say and do that make a big difference and keep the relationship solid

  1. Smile: Regardless if you are on the phone, texting, or private messaging, they can feel your smile.
  1. Respond quickly: The more quickly you comment that you understand and talk about a common subject, the less worried they will be that you’re upset because they said “”
  1. Maintain eye contact: If you’re speaking to them face-to-face, maintaining eye contact is important. It tells them everything is okay between you. Avoiding eye contact is a common type of body language typically used when you’re displeased with someone.
  1. Continue to comment on their posts: Keep things the same by commenting on their posts and staying in contact. Show interest in them so they know you care about them as a person and not just someone to sell to. Building a relationship might lead to sales in the future.
  1. Be very positive: Be positive in everything you sell to them and it will build trust.
  1. Give compliments: Giving a compliment after a “No” shows you listened and genuinely care about them.
  1. Give encouragement: If you learned something about them that they are struggling with, give them some encouragement and well wishes.
  1. Validate them: By showing understanding for their reasons for not purchasing your product right now, you’re validating them and building trust.
  1. Remember little details: Mention the details of something they talked about. It might be something happening in their life, something interesting about their children, a hobby, or an interest they have.

A positive example

Client: “I think I’m going to have to wait. It’s not in the budget right now. We have two children with birthdays coming up this month.”

Consultant: “I completely understand. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and letting me get to know you better. Wow, two birthdays. That makes for an exciting month. Are you doing two birthday parties or one family event? (Their response). Would it be alright if I follow up with you in a month or so?”

A “No” Response

Now you can accept a “no” response gracefully while preserving precious relationships. You may even end up with a sale or new recruit if you close the conversation well and have an agreement about when you may follow up.



Michelle Withers

%d bloggers like this: