Top Ten Ways To Handle “No”

10 ways to handle "no"

“No,” is the most dreaded word in sales. Evaluate how you respond to “no” for better results.

We all have objectives that we are trying to meet. These can be professional or personal goals. We can meet challenges that can validate our resolve to meet these objectives. How we respond certainly makes a difference on immediate and future outcomes. Here are a few things that we must understand and face when encountering inevitable objections.

10 Ways to handle “No”

  1. Understand that “No” sometimes means “Not Now.” We should understand timing may be a factor when reaching out to leads and prospects. A salesperson went to a networking event and made the rounds as one would expect. Although he was courteous, one person there was rather indignant at the salesperson’s industry (in this case web design and programming) and with a dismissive hand gesture retorted, “I would never need YOUR services.” I would have been very easy to respond in kind, but the salesperson politely thanked her for her time. Nineteen months pass and the salesperson got a phone call from that same person who was very upset her vendor left her in a lurch and she was now in need of those very services. This ended up being a good, mutually beneficial relationship. It’s doesn’t matter which side of the equation you end up being on when you first meet someone, don’t be too quick to dismiss. It’s better to leave the door open, you never know when someone will walk through it eventually.
  2. Show concern for the other person. At another event, there was a professional who circulated the crowd by brightly introducing themselves, “Hi! I am Dr. So-and-So” and proceeded to press her business card in each person’s hand. Before the other person could even respond, she turned to the next person and the next and the next. What do you think becomes of those business cards? Consider two things, it is better to start a relationship with a few people who gains your trust and insight rather than a trash can of business cards. Note it is more important to get business cards than to hand cards out. You can follow up on your terms later rather than waiting indefinitely for a phone call from the other person.
  3. Prepare yourself with enough knowledge about your product or service. When asked a question are you able to speak with authority and confidence? Do you know enough about your products and services enough to apply their usage in a variety of scenarios, even in creative ways? Will this product actually create value for the customer rather than just hitting a sales target? It is better to have a few raving fan rather than raging customers.
  4. Always portray your best image. Remember your first impression, makes a lasting impression. Did you show excitement and enthusiasm about your product or service? Did you make the prospect feel comfortable or were you pushy? How did you look and sound? All of these are important factors in your prospects image of you and your product or service. When you believe in yourself, others will too.
  5. Explain the benefits your product or service in a conversational way. How does it make the person’s life easier? Were you helpful and friendly or were you being a salesman? Making the conversation, just that, a conversation is much easier to receive than coming across like a bullet-point list on a brochure. Allow for give a take here. There is a fine line between explaining benefits and just coming across as argumentative to make a sale.
  6. Know when to ask for referrals. The average person knows 255 people. Surely they know someone who currently needs your service or at least in the foreseeable future). This is a technique that may come on the second or third conversation and certainly after you have made a happy customer. Warm introductions are priceless and speeds up the sales cycle.
  7. Find other ways to work with that person. Perhaps the person you meet may not be a good fit for your product or service as they may be in a similar field. Don’t be too quick to rule them out, there could still be a gold mine waiting under that shaky ground. For example, you are a web designer and they may be social content marketers. Consider staying in your core strengths and creating a strategic alliance where you refer the social media aspect to your clients and they refer the web design work back to you. Of course you have to fully understand what each does and there should be healthy boundaries, but who would turn down these types of referrals?
  8. Be memorable. Were you helpful and understanding, polite and caring? If so, maybe they will refer business even if they did not buy from you. Being positioned as someone who is helpful, regardless of the sale will warm people up to the prospect you are helpful after the sale as well.
  9. Help them in unrelated ways. When listening to them talk about their business and their situation, think about referring someone to help with those specific problems. This demonstrates a concern for them beyond being a “sale.” Perhaps they need help with a charity event and are seeking donations. If you know someone who may be apt to donate, pass that along. Setting the foundation for future conversations is important here.
  10. Follow up anyway. Staying top of mind is key when the lead or prospect eventually comes to a purchase decision. Do you touch base on a frequent or semi-frequent basis? Even if it is just to check in on them or just say “Hi,” this can go a long way to build those relationships. A newsletter is great, but a personal email or occasional phone call goes so much further.


Review your approach, look for signs, listen to the prospect and be helpful. Look at the real reason why they said “no.” Even if they said “no,” they still may be a future customer or refer business to you, if you were polite, helpful and really listened to them. Always take the high road and be professional. If you are nice and helpful, “no” may not be total dead end, but a possible open door for the future.

To Your Success,

Bill Wheeler

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Hi! I’m Bill Wheeler

Writer, storyteller, teacher and remote workstyle expert, I have worked remotely for over 17 years now. I can honestly say it is absolutely possible to work anywhere, anytime. It is my passion and mission to help others learn new skills and be more fulfilled and productive.

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