Why print sales people should say no to prospects

Posted by Matthew Parker

I like to give my daughter what she wants. However, she also needs to understand the boundaries in life. There is behaviour that is unacceptable. She cannot always have what she wants.

It is important that I say no to her sometimes.

Being able to say no to your prospects is also important

Saying-no-when-selling-print

If you are selling print you need to say no to prospects or end up with unprofitable clients

Sometimes, prospects demands an awful lot from you without promising any business. Sometimes, their demands are unreasonable. But it is tempting to do everything they wish in order to try and get a sale.

However, saying yes all the time can is very harmful. You may end up doing a lot of free consultancy for a prospect who has no intention of buying. Or you may end up conditioning a future customer that you always say yes to them, no matter what they ask.

Print companies that are not afraid to say no will actually create better relationships with their prospects. I will explain why later in the article. These print companies will also control the sales process better. They are less likely to waste time on prospects that have little intention of buying. Therefore they are more likely to achieve their sales targets.

Print companies that feel they must do everything a prospect asks may struggle to achieve their sales targets easily. It will be that prospect that controls the sales conversation. If they control a relationship easily, the prospect is less likely to value that relationship.

Here are three reasons why saying no can be very powerful.

Saying no provokes curiosity

These days it is pretty rare that a print company says no. As soon as I receive a no from a print company they stand out for me.

If they say no, it is likely that this company feels that they can pick and choose their customers. To my mind, that means that they are unusual as a company. At the very least I want to find out more about the why they are this way. Companies like this often have some very powerful offerings that buyers need to know about.

But curiosity is not the only emotion that a no arouses in me.

Saying no provokes want

As soon as someone is told they cannot have something they want it more. If I tell my daughter that she cannot have ice cream, I will never hear the end of it!

This is the emotion that buyers feel as well. It may be to a lesser extent, but it is still there. Some prospects will feel that they have to prove that they are a client who can work with such a company.

They will also respect the company more.

Saying no shows you need to be respected

Prospects will also realise that they cannot just demand anything from you. You are happy to hold your own. If they want to have a serious conversation with you, they need to bring more to the table.

However, some print sales people may feel that this is the wrong strategy.

Won’t saying no lose me sales?

If you say no in the right way, you are unlikely to offend serious prospects. You are simply saying that they cannot make unreasonable requests.

If a prospect still walks away at this point, it is unlikely that they were serious about buying from you. Even if they were serious about buying from you, they would most likely be a nightmare client.

Let’s look at a real-life example

When I was a younger, less experienced buyer, I didn’t always do the right thing. I still remember the time when I made some unreasonable demands from a print company.

The salesperson handled it very well. They gently explained to me why they would not be agreeing to everything that I wanted in a potential future agreement. I realised that my suggestions were a little one-sided.

Not only did I agree to their requests, but I had my expectations managed on how we should handle the relationship in the future. The supplier and I went on to have a long-term relationship that worked very well for both sides.

That shows the effectiveness of saying no. However, there is one important thing to remember.

Remember to say no at the right time

I am not saying that you should use no indiscriminately. There are times when you will meet important prospects. You may need to work hard to win their business.

There is a difference between demanding hard work and being unreasonable. It is important to know when you should and when you should not say no.

Here are three action points to get you used to using no

  • Choose a prospect that is not importance to you
  • Gently push back on some of their demands
  • Look at their response carefully and measure the best times for you to say no

Before long, you’ll find saying no to clients easy

I wish I found it as easy to say no to my daughter sometimes!
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