How to Get Past No

How to Get Past No

Reader Comments (46)

  1. I think a great deal of the “No” that potential customers might have stems from fear.

    Fear of buying something they don’t need and then being stuck with it (while being less richer). Fear of buying something too complex that they won’t be able to use and look silly in front of their spouse. Fear of paying hard-won money for something that looks good but ends up being crap when they finally bring it home. Fear of buying something they really want and then having all their friends laugh because it isn’t “in”.

    People don’t make decisions based on logic. “I’m not interested because I don’t need it.” They make decisions based on emotions. “I’m not interested because I really think if I give you my money I won’t have enough to buy that Taylor-made guitar I finally saved up enough to get.”

    Find the fear, and there’s the reason for no. Think about how you can turn that fear into confidence.

    “Yeah, but if you buy my ebook on guitar playing, you’ll be able to practice now and sound like a REAL rockstar when you do get the Taylor…”

  2. James,

    Although I agree with you that some customers buy or don’t buy based on fear, I don’t think that is the case with all of them. At least in my experience.

    Some customers are very detail oriented, while some know exactly what they want.

    However, you are correct that pushing certain buttons can trigger that positive emotion that leads them to buying something at that moment.

  3. I totally agree that you must understand the reasons behind the no. Never assume that you are not offering a beneficial product, but do assume that s/he doesn’t know what the benefit is.

  4. Well, let’s use an example of an online customer that is looking to buy web copy for their new product. Most people new to hiring people like this, will probably not spend the money due to fear. However, those that have been around the block know how to analyze numbers and make an information based decision. “I’m going to buy from copywriter A because his conversion rates are tested and are higher than copywriter B’s.

    Alternatively, if a product’s reputation preceeds the salesman/woman or copy, a customer might just be waiting to hear your pitch to re-affirm their “pre-decision” to buy.

    Your turn 🙂

  5. @Brian are you referring to my (new) last name? ha, i’m bummed i don’t have any of these awesome ‘cutco’ knives;-) would you like me to tell you the benefits of these carving, dicing, slicing gems, though?

  6. Having worked in the fitness industry for 10 years , I’ve heard avy possible excuse. The art “how to overcome objections” is the “must” for anybody involved in any type of business (on and off line). But therea thin line between “overcoming” and being pushy. I actually had lots of customers runnning away from me.

  7. @ Nathan – Well, in the case you just mentioned, there is no “No” to overcome. The client is already in “Yes” mode – he or she is already going to buy the product.

    The question is, from you or someone else? Which therefore points to a fear of making the right choice, choosing the best provider or wondering if the person’s skills are up to par.


  8. Touche :)…but some people still want to be pushed over the edge. I guess I just tend to think of it more as “needing reassurance” than overcoming fear. Still, I think we are essentially talking about the same thing.

  9. Thanks James, and thanks for bringing some great analysis to the table as well.

    If I remember correctly, we’ve had quite a few discussions on your site about a certain IM product that essentially, teaches people to overcome fears. Fun times 🙂

  10. Good discussion building post Nathan.

    Fear is one of 28 emotions that can arise during a sale.

    Take the fear, relate it to a product benefit, and relate that benefit to an emotional benefit that nulls the initial fear; the nos should go bye-bye.

  11. I wonder how many past Cutco/Vector reps are now online entrepreneurs. (125k career sales here. 🙂 )

    Excellent job tying together the lessons from direct sales with good copywriting principles.

  12. I too once was involved in a direct selling endeavor and tell you what… I too learned a great deal during my short stint doing that.

    You are absolutely right in saying that an icebreaker is great to have the customer say so.. for example giving free ebooks can be a great ice breaker for the online community that thinks more while doing purchases online compared to doing so while off line.

    Great content .. thanks.

  13. I sold Cutco for a few months in college, and it taught me a lot about how people make buying decisions. One of the things that stuck with me was the importance of the demonstration – giving customers a chance to try out the product before committing. In a lot of cases, I knew I’d made the sale as soon as the customer (1) used one of their knives to cut something, and then (2) used my sample knife to cut the same thing. Their eyes lit up when they experienced the difference.

    It’s easier to do a demo with a physical product than with a service, of course. But I still think the best pitches offer prospects the chance to see and experience what they’ll get if they make the purchase (e.g., sample lessons for online courses; demo video for web apps; etc.).

  14. Wow, tons of Cutco pitchmen/women popping up 🙂

    And I tried to keep the product name quiet! 😉

    I definitely enjoyed my time there and think it instilled a great sense of discipline, while also being a great educational experience.

  15. I am the product of IBM’s sales training many moons ago and much time was spent on handling objections; getting past no. You have it right when you talk about providing information right up front (and plenty of it) that relates to people’s primary objections. But there is a “but.” Nathan, there was a line you didn’t want to cross back when we both were peddlers. The more calls you and I made, the more we knew where that line was: when handling objections turned into pushing people away. Online, that line has moved. A lot. As marketers our job is still to get past no, but we need to do it with much more finesse and respect. Said another way, it’s a lot easier to click off a page than kick you out of an office or home. Trust me on this people, I’ve experienced my share of both. 🙂

  16. Hamilton – Great point and you are absolutely correct. Fine and delicate balance there.

    Shane – Have it, just haven’t put it to use yet!

  17. I agree that you shouldn’t let the first no stop your efforts. However there is fine line between trying to figure out the fear behind the no and annoying and frustrating your potential customer. I get so annoyed when speaking with a sales person who, after I’ve said no and explained my reasoning, keeps pushing and pushing. Not only do I leave with a bad taste in my mouth from the sales person, but also for the company they represent.

  18. My secret weapon in job interviews has always been to close with the question: “What concerns about my candidacy do you have?”, which is a head-on way of finding out, and overcoming, the interviewer’s objections.

    A similar question is useful when you’re selling services, perhaps less so in retail. But it works so often because people tend to answer a direct question with a direct answer. In the case of job interviews, they may not be interested in you at all, but you’ll at least find out (1) that you’re not going to get another interview before you waste time sitting by the phone and (2) why you’re not getting it, which can help you make adjustments for the future.

    If they are interested in you, you get the opportunity to address any lingering doubts directly–and to demonstrate your level of self-awareness.

    They key to success with that question, and in the situations you describe, however, is figuring out well in advance all the things someone could find objectionable in the first place–and having a legitimate and defensible answer, or alternative offer.

  19. I think this also has to do with building some trust. By making the appropriate rebuttals, the fear factor lowers a bit and the customer feels a little better. With the demo Traci mentioned, it builds even more trust cause the customer himself sees what a product has to offer, sometimes even experience it firsthand.

  20. What really nailed it here was knocking down objections. It’s everyone’s first reaction to avoid them and tout the benefits. But while you might start with a benefit headline, you do need to hit the objections head on right from the get-go.

  21. @Tamsen: I very much like the idea of asking an interviewer what reservations s/he may have; however, I wonder if this approach is a bit idealistic? Have you found that you secure the job more easily this way?

    From my experience, interviews limit freedom. Why? I think the interviewer tests to see if the candidate can exhibit power within the limited parameters of that current relationship. This being: you are the the one being judged and s/he is the judge.

  22. Overcoming objection is quite a difficult task but once you did; it feels weird but fun. To have a sale, you shouldn’t be hindered by NO answer, indeed. Instead you should dig deeper and ask qualifying questions. Make the client think that your product is essential and worth buying. Present the benefits and advantages and also answer questions. Listen to the customer and of course for the buying signal. Once you had it, don’t let it go.

  23. We hear more ‘Nos’ in life than ‘Ayes’. It is true that in real life, a No does not really have to mean No. Translating the No into Aye is the magic under wraps.

  24. Great post, Nathan. I love your “walking around the store” story. I worked for a home improvement retailer in college. We drove sales through the roof when we asked, “What project are you working on today?” Customers wanted to be reassured they were making the right purchase (overcoming objections) …and could be convinced to buy two sizes of the same item with the knowledge they could return the item that did not fit under our refund policy (removal of risk).

    Line those objections up and knock ’em down.

  25. Love this post as you provide information that we all could do with knowing. It is important to know your consumers and what you can do for them and not the other way round. I think the trouble is people make it obvious they want to make the sale, rather than making it clear why people should want the product.
    Thanks Nathan.

  26. I’ve often found that many times we forget our natural selves when it comes to overcoming objections. We use every tool but what comes naturally to us. Many times the objections that potential buyers have are objections that we’d have ourselves, many times understanding ourselves and our own objections can really help us understand others thoughts and objections. We always have to sell ourselves on our own products and services before we can sell to someone else. I think I just repeated a great deal of what has been said here. Sorry 🙂 Awesome post!!

  27. Great post.

    It is best to handle all possible objections before the buyer has the chance to say no. That’s why it is important to brainstorm about what might hold people from buying your product and adress that in bold claims.


  28. That is an epic point–that you need to make them feel good about the purchase. Do you have any recommendations on how to do this? Is it really benefit-driven copy? I see your tips on getting past no, but you don’t really go into how to make them feel good.

    Were you working for cutco? And how did you make a living for two years only selling $25,000 worth of the products? 🙂

  29. Chris,

    Well, I was in high school at the time and eventually moved into management there, so I wasn’t selling the entire time. However, as a high school kid working part time and making up to 2k a month, I was pretty stoked 🙂

    The advice I’d give you depends on the product you sell, but I believe that congruency in your messaging is important. I also believe that following up after the sale is a lost art.
    As for making them feel better before the sale, I usually stick with a strong guarantee, overcoming objections in my copy, and using testimonials.

  30. Folks do want you to get them past “no”. even if they are not conscious of it, they want to play the game to some extent. Saw this quite a bit when I sold cars. Anyone who came in and said, “Just so you’ll know, I’m not buying anything today” were most often the ones who left the dealership in a new car.

    On the other hand, on occasion someone would walk in and announce, “Who wants to sell me a car today?” All of the sales staff would start running – the other direction. It was a trap. Always. They NEVER bought.


  31. You make some great points. I like your idea of getting to the truth behind the no. Figuring out the client’s reasoning for no is very important when selling, asking questions is the best way to do this. Creating a motivation for them to buy is what will ultimately get them to open their wallet.

This article's comments are closed.