Learning to say “NO!” to my customers and prospects is likely one of the toughest skills I have learned as a business professional but likely the most valuable.
As I always strive to continue to grow and learn in life. I also try and look back at each year and desire to see how I can make changes to avoid the pitfalls I made the year before. My job is to listen to a client’s desires for technologies that can help their business
, assess if my organization has the expertise and products to deliver that help and then outline how we can deliver that help. Now reflecting back on the past year I realize that the times I told prospects “NO!
” it seems that those were the most successful projects and ultimately achieved the collective goal in producing a first class project.
In sales opportunities, I need to quickly earn the trust of my prospects and clients to ensure they aren't wanting to go down a road with a technology that isn't 100% “baked”. Sometimes that means saying “NO!”. And my friends….saying “NO!” to a prospect is not easy. However when I do, the results far outpaced the quick hits of being a “Yes Man” and the inevitable problems that come after the sale.
When we say “NO!”, projects do not hit road blocks. They come in on time, budgets are maintained and moreover a 100% satisfaction is delivered as promised. Many IT departments inherently say “NO!” and we love working with them right out of the gate. Having a sales representative willing to challenge manufactures and advise prospects/clients based on previous experience is what we've learned to be the glue to our organization's success.
Here are ways to say “NO!”, and your organization should be hearing some of these common themes when vetting future business partners:
- Working the front lines of the project with a sales resource only goes so far and I’ll be the first to admit that. Getting to test drive the engineering resources by doing an assessment call is important for both sides of the project. If someone is trying to get you to sign on the dotted line before you know what you are working with please dig deeper.
- Talk to other resources that have done business with the partner. Keep an ear out for a lot of name dropping. That is good sign that an organization is proud of their customers and is more than willing to pass on contact names of references.
- Be ok with hearing about limitations of products and focus on best of breed for the business and hearing about what does what best. Listen for “NO!”
- Lastly and MOST important is to look for an organization that will say “ABSOLUTELY NO!” to the technology manufacturers. That relationship needs to be strong and rock solid between those groups. You need a company that will work YOU, the client. Every flavor of the month is not going to fit every business and just because it is new and shiny and there is a web site dedicated to how it is going to pay for itself in ten minutes, doesn't mean it is going to be a fit for your organization. Demand results and 100% satisfaction.
If you haven’t found the company that is telling you “NO!” Keep looking, they are out there. In our world NO! Means Yes…