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5 Reasons Your Prospects Say “No” (And What You Can Do About It!)

Image of Michelle Farnsworth
Michelle Farnsworth


You’ve heard it time and time again. “No.” “We already use a similar product.” “Sorry, we’re not interested.” “Now is not a good time.” The bottom line is, rejection is painful no matter how long you’ve been in sales. It doesn’t matter how delicately (or indelicately) they put it, a no always means no. Or does it?

Where exactly did things go wrong? Here are 5 of the most common reasons why a prospect is telling you “No.” After all, learning what your prospects are really saying when they give you that two-letter word can help you turn a negative answer into additional revenue for your business.

1. They’re Already Working With a Competitor

The bottom line is the faster you or a member of your team responds to a prospect, the more likely they will select you over your competitors. It’s most definitely a “first come first serve” mentality, but don’t be discouraged even if they are already working with a competitor when you make your initial contact. This shows you right off the bat that they have a real need for your product and see the value of it. Demonstrate how your product / service solves the buyers need, provide a compelling reason to consider your business and show the value in switching providers.

2.  Now is Not a Good Time

Most prospects don’t make decisions right away. Would you be surprised to learn 80% of prospects that eventually buy were initially marked as bad leads? There are often outside factors that come into play, such as timing, staffing, or other outside influences. Asking questions such as, “What’s holding you back?” or “What are your company’s priorities right now?” may help give you some insight into their reasons for saying no. Adding these prospects to nurture email campaigns will create trust and a connection with you until they’re ready to buy, in their own due time, and will keep you in the forefront of their mind.

3.  You’re Product Doesn’t Match Their Needs

Only a whopping 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs, which means 87% of customers don’t think you know their business on a more intimate level. You may have the best and most affordable product on the market, but if you don’t at least try to see your product from your prospects point of view it will not matter. Qualify the prospect so you can understand and sell to their specific needs. Ask investigative questions and tTake time to find out about the prospect and let them learn about you, too. When you actively listen to and learn from the buyer, you can have a genuine conversation that builds trust. 

4.  You’re Not in Contact With the Decision Maker

Before diving in too deep, make sure you know who you need to be put in contact with, the person that is authorized to make the decisions with regard to your product. There is nothing worse than getting the run-around from someone who isn’t in the position to discuss your offering.

5.  There is Simply no Interest

You can have the best sales pitch in the world but if you are trying to sell a prospect something they don’t need (or believe they don’t need), then it’s just not going to work. Know that it’s okay if someone does not change their mind – and that it may not be your fault. Maybe they were having or bad day or simply could not get other team members on board with your product, no matter how much they themselves liked your solution. Don’t be afraid to ask why they are saying no – and don’t be afraid to move on and make better use of your time.

There you have it. Five of the most common reasons a prospect tells you “No.” Remember, prospects say a lot of things in the sales process. As a sales person, it is your job to make sure you understand what their initial rejection actually means and whether or not there is anything you can do to increase their understanding of your product, which can ultimately change their initial “no” into a resounding “yes.” Final buying decisions are based on much more than price – your product or service must fill a prospect’s need and you, too, must fit into the category of someone that they trust.

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