Getting to NO

Inc. magazine features an interview with Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille on the secrets of successful salespeople. I first became aware of Dr. Rapaille’s work when he was featured in “The Persuaders” on Frontline, the same episode that featured the Perception Analyzer. I then tore through his great work, The Culture Code.

What most caught my attention in the Inc. article was the notion of “getting to no” or rather that a sale is not complete when a client or customer says “yes,” but rather when they say “no.”

There is a very well known book called Getting to Yes and countless books and articles on the notion of avoiding or overcoming “no,” but I have yet to ever read an argument for making “no” the goal and I have to say that for all my years of sales training and experience, it’s a real ah-ha moment for me.

In sales it’s always about avoiding or getting past the initial “nos” and getting the client to say, “Yes, I’ll buy what you’re selling.” But Dr. Rapaille’s argument is that stopping there, at the “yes,” is premature. Successful salespeople know that there is always more to sell, or to upsell. So getting to that first “yes” puts you in the ballgame, but you’re not done until you get the “no.” Until the “no” (as in, “no more”) comes, the game is still on and you’re still selling.